So a shopkeeper told me that my new sticker would never sell because:
“People don’t like the police, and people don’t like people who don’t like the police.”
What a fantastic paradox and yet doesn’t this statement totally ring true! I get it. People really don’t like the police and they really don’t want to been seen celebrating it either.
Yet, if it were an image of shit and someone said: ‘people don’t like shit and people don’t like people who don’t like shit’- that makes no sense.
What makes this image difficult is that it appears to be saying something that’s socially unacceptable, like it’s somehow breaking some unwritten rule. As if we imagine that we are not supposed to publicly celebrate knocking the police, so we sort of censor ourselves from even daring to consider it because it just sort of feels scary or wrong.
But what does this image actually say? C’est juste un chapeau! – It’s just a hat, isn’t it?
It’s not just a hat for the same reason that not liking shit and not liking people who don’t like shit is absurd. It is more than a hat, it is a recognisable symbol of authority that triggers other associated social conventions that work to make this image feel wrong. However just as social conventions are completely arbitrary, there really isn’t any limit of symbolic associations you could choose to develop its symbolic meaning. I was inspired to make this out of the sacred heart symbol therefore it’s a sacred heart for me.
So, there is no hat? – Il n’ya pas de chapeau! Although the hat may refer to other symbolic meanings, there is no escaping the fact that there obviously is a hat to start with. But, what the shopkeeper managed to see that really isn’t there, are ‘those people who don’t like people’ that don’t like the police. He was able to sympathise with the image enough to decide that it was about the police who nobody likes, but then he imagined the same people turning against themselves for celebrating the fact! That’s not in my drawing. He made that bit up for precisely the same reason we self censor ourselves, to fit in, to avoid anybody pointing a finger at us for being different.
What makes this a gnarly skateboard sticker is the fact that those kids can actually see the paradox in its true absurdity and it just makes them laugh.
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