Arresting Shepard Fairey

By EDITORIAL  |  February 12, 2009

Citizens truly interested in the greater well being of Boston should husband their energies. They could call for all extra police effort to be applied to staunching the flow of blood in the city's least affluent neighborhoods, which are haunted by gun violence. But not the Bay Burghers. Their privilege comes first.

Revenge is an even more interesting and disturbing subtext to this whole affair.

Complete coverage of Shepard Fairey in Boston.
Mayor Thomas Menino, who has been photographed shaking hands with Fairey, and who allowed a banner heralding the ICA show to adorn City Hall, has ticked off many municipal unions — including the police — by calling on all city workers to take a one-year wage freeze in order to help Boston cope with the mounting economic crisis.

In a splendid piece of enterprise reporting, the West Roxbury Transcript recently revealed that City Hall used the fact that 25 ranking members of the police department were violating residency requirements by living outside the city limits to strong-arm the senior-officers union into accepting the one-year wage freeze.

There is no solid evidence connecting the wage-freeze settlement to the Fairey's arrest. But it does not take a Rembrandt, or a Lichtenstein, or a Warhol, to connect the dots.

The Fairey case may not be edifying, but it is illuminating. However this all plays out in the courts, Boston should thank Shepard Fairey for inadvertently provoking thought and insight about how our city works.

In the meantime, visit the ICA; check out the Shepard Fairey show. Obey.

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Related: Radical chic, Interview: Shepard Fairey, Slideshow: Shepard Fairey, ''Supply and Demand'', More more >
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