Most wanted posters. An aesthetic of crime ?…..
Art Chantry (email@example.com):
Angela Davis still has my vote for the best ‘fro of all time. Man, look at this wanted poster! That is the flat-out coolest mug shot ever!
I have a small collection of ‘famous’ wanted posters. I used to have more, but i gave most of them away over the years. I also tried to steal them directly from post offices (back when i was a kid) – that’s where i got all of the wanted posters I’m posting today. So, at least i know they’re the real deal (not a bootleg.)
Over the years I’ve had weathermen and drag queens and American psychos. But, these old “black radicals” I have held onto. why? Well, because they are the coolest. I dunno what ‘cool’ is any more (since it became a commodity), but i think these artifacts are just plain ‘cool’ by anybody’s standards or definition.
There is magic in old wanted posters. all the “crimes” (imagined or otherwise) have sort of changed and been largely deflated with the passage of time. It’s sort of hard to believe a lot of these people were ever considered “public enemies” by our federal bureau of investigation (FBI, for those truly ignorant out there). I mean, have you ever read about what the Black Panther party REALLY was about? man, the panic they created, just the mere idea of black people defending themselves with their ‘second amendment rights’ set the white power structure into a tizzy.
The reality was that it was a bunch of folks just trying to get white people into a tizzy. The Panthers were actually absolutely brilliant. On the other hand, our legendary ‘white power structure’ wasn’t. So, what else is new, eh? By the way, are we still fighting over that non-mosque not at ground zero?
We’re suffering through another race war in this country. If you are truly 100% honest with yourself and what you see happening in this country, I don’t think you can avoid that conclusion. I mean, it seems that 18% of Americans (31% of “republicans”) actually think our president is a “muslim.” Never mind the stupidity of that thought, but i gotta ask, “is muslim a BAD thing”
The reality is that we all seem to blame the entire religion of Islam for that crime
an act of war, no matter what our formerly brilliant president, george w. said) committed in NYC almost ten years ago. We white folk seem to automatically associate Islam with “black people” so, it’s a simple bit of math to realize that ‘muslim’ is practically an ignorant codeword for the n-word. Let’s be honest.
We hate having a black president in this country. Just look around you and draw your own conclusions. It’s undeniable. Those of us who are deeply offended by this blatant racism really need to speak up.
Nancy Reagan had it almost right – “JUST SAY NO!” oh, wait, the racists in the congress have already captured that flag….
Art Chantry:seattle yuppie swine think they have the ‘bestest coolest cops” on the planet (according to polling.) the reality is that setatle cops are really shitty nasty. i lived in belltown back about 89/92. i saw the cops constantly hassle the (e…xtremely few) black folks whenever and wherever they were. they left the white kids (causing all the problems ) alone and went after any black face. it was soooo fucking ugly to see.
all the yuppies just turned away and went back to their smug little lives.
nah, seattle has a LOT to answer for. …i saw bobby seale give a talk recently here in tacoma. he was still great. he comes off as powerful, determined, unrepentant and still pretty pissed off. not bad for an old codger, ya know? he was very impressive.
afterwards i went up t…o shake his hand and thank him for, well, just being bobby seale. he was selling copies of books and he had some signed copies of emory douglas’s book. so, maire and i bought one. then bobby seale signed it, too. so, now we’ve got a copy of that really wonderful book signed by both emory douglas AND bobby seale.
did you know that bobby seale designed the black panther logo? so, he claims, anyway. i asked him when i bought the book….
…i used all three of these wanted poster as part of a record cover design. it was on a Lord High Fixers” 10″ release on estrus records. over 10 years ago, now.
for the promotional poster i used that image of those two track stars at the …’68 olympics on the medal stand raising the power first. it overlaps some white kid with a bleeding scalp at a riot holding up the same power fist. i printed them on top of each other in colors that would still read through each other. it’s quite striking, actually.
the name of the record was, “once upon a time called… RIGHT NOW!” great record, too….
…my late ex father-in-law was a liberal republican. he was a good man, closest thing i’ve ever met to a living saint. he was so liberal that the FBI kept a file on him back in the sixties. he sponsored all sorts of peace causes and actual…ly worked a lot of organizations in support of many causes he believed in. he sent money to candidate (of all parties) that he believed in. he hosted political refugees form totalitarian states. he was a totally cool guy.
yet, he was a republican. go figger. i have a hard time trying to imagine him ever fitting in to that ‘klan’ today.
Patty Hearst poster:so, i have this wanted poster. but, my problem is i don’t know if it’s ‘real’ or not. i didn’t grab this one myself from a post office, so i can’t trace it’s origins. the paper and the printing technology is identical to the paper and printing on my other known authentic FBI wanted posters. really crappy, exactly right. it’s exactly the same size, even cut a little askew, like my others (bad trimming). there are thumbtack holes in the corners showing long usage as decor. but, there are a couple of things about it that trouble me. i can’t tell for sure it’s not a bootleg or strange piece of propaganda.
first off, it’s folded wrong. it’s been creased in half in the middle. it’s also been folded into thirds, like a three panel brochure. neither of those folding styles match the traditional folding pattern of the other wanted posters i own. the FBI folded those posters into four panels (fold in half, turn and fold in half again). then they sealed it with a “dot” sticker and addressed and stamped for direct mailing. this SLA poster has a completely clean backside (no stamp, no address, no cancellation.) was it mailed in an envelope? was that a new standard? this poster is ten years newer than my other posters. was it a (much more expensive) change in mailing practices? we’re talking the government, here.