Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
NEO's first real blogger - billboard logger, that is
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 07/02/2006 - 01:39.
Anyone who knows NEO knows the wild billboards - or billblogs - painted and posted by Russell Sysack on his property right where W.25th becomes Pearl Road - I don't know how long this inflaming sign painter has been posting these Billblogs but its been as long as I can remember. Not being from that part of town, I largely remember knowing about the billblogs because they are intentionally controversial tests of public tolerance and the right to free speech.
Consider one Sysack billblog was covered in the 2002 Sun Press for comparing MLK Jr. to bin Lauden, and that the billblog was set on fire, and the site of a protest led by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Of that billblog, the Sun Press wrote "Sysack said that over the years, he's been sued and received bomb threats because of his signs". And, Sun reported, ""I take the right to free speech very seriously . . . however, the right to free speech is limited," Tubbs Jones said. She added that just as you can't yell "fire" in a theater, the First Amendment doesn't protect words "that incite people to violence.""
Sysack doesn't seem to have a website so his messages are more a spark than a fire. His inflaming is little different than so many folk who go on-line and express their personal, often ignorant and inflaming messages of hate of anything and everything. If his work was online, it would get much more attention, while being mild-mannered compared to other extremist content found in the virtual world. To me, Sysack's postings are well painted political satire of a rare sort and I'd be interested to see more of what he's done, just out of curiosity. I certainly know Sysack's work couldn't be worse for society than http://godhatesfags.com, the hate-mongering in the name of Jesus website of anti-homosexual propagandist Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, which was recently mentioned on an ABC 20/20, on the polarization of America, and has had over 5.3 million hits.
Oh, for less hateful times. What I miss were the humorous Buddy Simon billboards on Carnegie I remember as a kid... those died with the founder and that company is gone... their property's on the market right now... and I can't find any sign of these old signs on-line either, except there is one used book from 1981 called "Buddy Simon Sez" by Buddy Simon on eBay, so maybe there is one record left of his otherwise lost legacy... and perhaps Sysack will be forgotten just as easily. That's the biggest difference between Billblogs and Weblogs, in this virtual age.
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