|Bolstering moral or cashing in on a tragedy?|
No sooner had the smoke cleared but two enterprising Emerson College students started producing T-shirts that said simply, "Boston Strong". The slogan went viral and now it's everywhere in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, leading to wrangles about who "owns" the slogan but also about the message itself. Where's the verb?
|The scene of the first bomb.|
|Boston Public Library entrance is across the street from where the first bomb went off.|
Why did the slogan catch on so quickly? Probably from previous advertising. There was Lance Armstrong's charity "Livestrong" and the US Army's recruiting slogan, "Army Strong". And then there were two recent hurricanes, Irene and Sandy that left the mottoes "Vermont Strong" and (New) "Jersey Strong" in their swathes of destruction.
|Arlington Street Church with tributes to the victims of the bombs |
written on scraps of cloth.
|A Boston Strong message.|
(There were some unprintable messages to terrorists.)
|One of the Swan Boats with real swans nearby pretending not to notice.|
Across the street is the Public Garden, the first public botanical garden in America, The highlight for kids has for many years been the Swan Boats that glide silently around the artificial pond under pedal power provided by a driver who sits in the swan. The swan boats were built in 1877 by Robert Paget who had been inspired by the image of the Knight in Wagner's opera, Lohengrin, riding a swan across a lake.
|The book that spawned the brood.|
The Swan Boats make appearances in two children's books: E. B White's The Trumpet of the Swan and Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Duckings.
|The ducklings rarely get a break.|
The latter is now such a Boston icon that there are statues of the ducklings in the Garden. The ducklings are beautifully polished by the millions of kids who come to sit on them. I tried---and failed---to get a kid-free photo of the hen and her ducklings.
|Even the ice cream van is cashing in. The image on the back is from the book.|
|The execution of Ann Hibbins, alleged witch.|
etching by Frank Thayer Merril (Public Domain) Wikimedia Commons.
|Make way for Duck Tours---the street are clogged with these amphibians|
giving tours by land and sea.
|Boston Common bandstand the place of music and protest---sometimes|
one and the same.
|Martin Luther King addressing a Civil Rights rally on April 23, 1965.|
He's in that circle. (Sadly, I had a very basic camera in those days.)
|Australia, and the rest of the world, covered in frogs.|
Quite apart from a trip down memory lane, my real objective was a mural painted on an air intake structure in front of Boston's South Station. The mural was painted by the Brazilian identical twins, Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, who paint under the name Os Gemeos ("the twins"). The brothers began as break-dancers and then graffiti artists of the hip hop culture and this image was undoubtedly designed to stir up controversy---which it has done.
|Terrorist or hip hop graffiti artist?|
In a city sensitive to Muslim terrorists (the Boston Marathon bombers were Muslim) painting a huge masked figure was bound to bring the anti-Muslim bigots out of the woodwork. Whether it is a terrorist or just a graffiti artist with a scarf to protect his or her lungs, I don't know. Either way the controversy surrounding it must have attracted a crowd to the brother's current exhibition at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.
|I like the utility door through the feet.|
Sadly I didn't have time to see the Os Gemeos exhibition at the ICA but I did see it through the ether. If you can't be in Boston to see it in person before it comes down in November, have a look at this link and watch the video. It's a pity the mural will also be painted over in November and not made a permanent piece of public art.
Note to Australian muralists and graffiti artists: there's an air intake structure at Darling Harbour in Sydney just crying out for a mural.
|Me finishing the Boston Marathon before the |
bombings---40 years before.