Vyvian Raoul's Blog

Three Things I Learned In San Francisco

By Vyvian Raoul

I recently visited the Bay to promote Advertising Shits In Your Head. Here are three things I learned during my trip:

  1. The Howard Zinn Bookfair is rad af and so is John Law.
  2. Silver Sprockets is rad af and so is Winston Smith.
  3. Most of the bus stops in San Francisco are completely unlocked, so you don’t even need special keys to access them – you can just pop that sucker open with a flat-headed screwdriver or something.

When I was in town, loads of the 6-sheet bus stop ad spaces on Market Street had been filled with this horrendous art-washing ad-campaign (pictured). The San Francisco Art Commission (SFAC) have either rented these spaces or are otherwise legitimately working with Clear Channel, the global corporation that owns and operates the spaces, to put “radical” messages in them.

It’s an act of recuperation that completely neutralises any radical potential the messages might once have had – not least by increasing the profits of a corporation that is complicit in promoting endless consumption and everything that goes with that (endless exploitation, total planetary collapse etc.). It’s propaganda for propaganda.

Whoever thought it was a fine idea to use Lucy Parson’s words, in particular, to do this has no shame – they are the ruiner of all things good. But now you know what to do, wherever you see this bullshit (see point 3. above).

Howard Zinn Bookfair photos by Brooke Andersen