Graffiti - 2000 Years of Wall Writing Author:Robert Reisner Although modestly subtitled "Two Thousand Years of Wall Writing," this book examines the work of the earliest graffitists, who lived in caves, down through the bathroom comment to be seen in swinging singles bars. Long despised by establishment scholars as the mere scribblings of mental defectives, graffiti are shown by Robert Reisner to have im... more »portant historical, sociological, & phychological meaning. They express the beliefs, hopes, aspirations, hangups, angers, & obsessions--as well as the wit & wisdom--of the common man across the ages. They are the only authentic written folklore in the world.
The book is arranged chronologically. But as everyone knows, walls are washed or painted over or torn down--and there are gaps in the history of graffiti that can never be filled. Still, the volcanic eruption that swamped Pompeii helped to save its denizens' inscriptions on walls, & the historic Tower of London preserved the messages scratched on its stones by prisoners awaiting the ax. Thus it is possible to trace the appearance of graffiti motifs in different tims & places as one might the variations of a ballad.
If, in the earlier periods, the author must proceed very much like an archaeologist--though an extremely witty one--the field of present-day wall writing is like a rich mine to him. We live, he believes, in a golden age of graffiti, & no one has done more than Reisner to record & prserve these peculiar expressions of our time. He has scoured (not cleaned) the walls of literally hundreds of men's and women's rest rooms that have not been scoured (with soap) before him. Whether they deal with philosophy ("For those who consider life a joke, think of the punch line"), or sex ("Impotence, where is thy sting?"), or religion (("God hips those who hip themselves"), or politics ("Vietnam--the Edsel of foreign policy"), he has here brought together the best & most significant wall writings of today, as well as those of the past, for the enjoyment & fascination of every reader.« less