Sometimes I Wanna Be An Anarchist.

The word “anarchy” gets used a lot to describe riots and other chaotic events but that’s not really what it means. Technically it’s not what “chaos” means either, but that’s another story. “Anarchy” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “without a leader”. It just means a system where everyone only looks out for themselves and there are no rules.

anarchy1I’m generally a fan of rules. Without them things tend to break down and a game of Sorry! can quickly turn into a game of Sorry I Ripped Up The Carpet And Stuffed It In Your Face Until You Bled! and while this can make the game more interesting in the short term in the long term it usually results in a parental figure taking it away.

anarchy2Anyway I do think it’s good to challenge the rules sometimes, to force ourselves to think about why we have rules in the first place, and whether the rules we’re following are still useful or if they’re just something we do out of habit. Graffiti is against the law but why? I can think of a lot of reasons, starting with I don’t want somebody spray painting stuff on my house, but are there exceptions? There’s graffiti carved into the pyramids and other ancient monuments that was done thousands of years ago so it’s become history itself. And what are the rules of graffiti? Mostly people think of graffiti as painted, and that’s reflected in one of the definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary: “Words or images marked (illegally) in a public place, esp. using aerosol paint.” But that could include stickers, signs, posters…graffiti could be any kind of mark made in a public place. The problem with making the definition overly broad, though, is it then loses all meaning and spitting on the sidewalk becomes graffiti. I believe graffiti is an art form and I have a pretty broad interpretation of what art is, but there have got to be some standards and some rules or the whole thing would descend into anarchy.

Seen any graffiti? Send your pictures to You can be credited or remain anonymous. Whatever you want the rules to be.

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  1. Ann Koplow

    Sometimes I want to be an anarchist, look out only for myself, and ask you to read my weekend posts, Chris. Thanks for making me think today, as usual.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m sorry my weekend was busy and I didn’t get around to reading your weekend posts, but there’s no rule preventing me from reading a weekend post on a weekday. That’s the good part of anarchy: there are no rules.

  2. Kristine @MumRevised

    You must have the most graffiti’d town in America! Always great finds.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I never really thought about it until I started looking around and said, wow, there’s really a lot of graffiti around here. And the weirdest thing is that most of it is within walking distance of where I work. Of course I’m hyper-aware of it now because I have this self-set schedule of always writing a post about graffiti every Saturday, but, yeah, it’s kind of scary hope much there is.

  3. halfa1000miles

    I’m in the middle of forming a meetup group for local bloggers. I figured I would go ahead and use the old tried and true word “tribe” because one of the definitions includes the words:

    A unit consisting of members who share a common culture and among whom leadership is typically neither formalized nor permanent.

    I like your definition of anarchy better, but I am not sure that would fly. Come join our local Blogging Anarchy Group. I want my word to mean I am heading this group up, but I am not the head of this group. Or something like that.

    I realized I don’t know what city you are in? The graffiti where we live seems to not be right on Main Street…

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m in Nashville and as much as I’d like to join your group that’s a pretty long commute. Calling your group a blogging anarchy group could work, although I forgot to mention that the problem with the word “anarchy” is it’s become associated with political anarchists who thought the way to achieve their goals was to blow stuff up.
      Thanks for ruining a perfectly good word, guys.
      Anyway “tribe” is a good term because it’s easier to say than “anarcho-syndicalist commune” and if anyone tries to muscle in and take over you can still invite people to come and see the violence inherent in the system.

  4. Michelle

    I love street art! There’s some on an old shed near my gym- I’ll get some shots so you can review it. I like it, I think it especially suits the building it’s on.
    My boys have experience as graffiti artists- one of the installations at the outdoor SWELL sculpture festival last year was a series of walls where the public actually used marker pens to make contributions. The boys loved it- Mummy is usually boring and doesn’t let them draw on walls!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I love street art too and I think it’s really cool when kids get the opportunity to draw on walls or make their own public art. And I look forward to seeing your shots of the art near your gym. I love seeing things from other places.


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