Did social media kill graffiti?

Jane Marshall, Joe Browning, Larry MullenI’m not talking about spray painted tags on the sides of rail cars, rather those pithy little observations on the walls of restroom stalls.

This was a big thing (at least in my circle) during the late 60s and 70s. My first recollection of this art form was in the hall bathroom outside Dr. Peck’s TV room. This was hangout #1 for our tribe (we didn’t call it that back then). Someone (Richard or Charlie?) had tacked a piece of poster board to the bathroom door with a Bic pen hanging on a piece of string. Someone would scribble something clever and others would comment in endless strings of puns and nonsense.

I don’t recall these ever being discussed face-to-face, the conversation was limited to the poster board. When it was so filled there was no room for one more witticism, the poster was replaced and the old one archived somewhere.

In the photo below you see what I believe is a piece of sheetrock leaning against a wall in the living room of the house where AJ and I lived (Church Street, Kennett, MO). There was a party nearly every night and it didn’t take long to completely cover a piece of poster board.

If there was a zeitgeist for this golden age of my youth, it was scrawled on these graffiti boards. Today these bon mots are tweeted or IM’d Instagrammed but surely something is lost.