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Thursday, March 20, 2003

Soaped Opera House

The other day two intensely stupid shits climbed the Sydney Opera House and painted "No War" on one of its sails in big red letters. (Picture accompanies article.)

That's not just paint up there on the Opera House, it's some sort of fancy-schmancy tiling. It makes beautiful gold and white patterns when the sun hits it just right. So it's not like they can just paint over it and it'll be OK. According to this story, it will cost $AU25,000 to clean it up, which is about US$15,000. That's a lot less than I expected.

The Sydney Morning Herald has some rough video (can't find the link anymore) of an interview with one of them, Will Saunders. When asked about the trouble he was in with the law, he said that he had a "clear defense" in that he'd done a wrong in order to prevent a much greater wrong.

Gosh, he's right! I mean, by doing their Voodoo Pixie dance and defacing a national landmark, they've magically brought the war to a screeching halt!

Oh, wait, we don't live in the Voodoo Pixie universe, so it doesn't work that way.

But...but...George Bush will see that in his morning paper, and think, "Wow! Two guys have painted "NO WAR" on the Sydney Opera House, so they must be really opposed! The depths of their passion have convinced me like no rational argument could have! Bring the troops home!"

No, guess it's not going to work like that, either.

But, of course, you didn't do this so George Bush would see it; you did it so John Howard would see it. When Howard heard about it, he said, "My, they must be very serious about their anti-war stance if they would go so far as to paint the Opera House. I've not given any sort of serious consideration to this thing at all! Spared nary a thought for it! How can I not learn from a couple of juvenile pranksters who've just cost my government a big wad of cash! Everybody stand down!", won't work like that, either.

You didn't do this to "prevent a greater wrong", because you knew that there was no way you, personally, could. No, you just wanted the whole world to know the depths of your passion on this subject, and rather than renting a billboard, you decided you'd deface a national landmark and cost Australians a great deal of money to clean it up. You've garnered worldwide attention for a self-indulgent display of petulance. You've pissed on the carpet in front of the adults because nobody was paying any attention to you. "Look at me! Look at me! I matter! I am powerful!"

When asked about the clean-up, Saunders said he was sorry about that, and he'd be glad to clean it up himself, except that he didn't think he'd be allowed back up there. Smart thinking.

From the article:

Saunders said he was ``very much in need of a cup of tea'' after he was released by police.

No worries. They'll probably be standing you rounds of drinks up in Epping, mate.

PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE: I am disappointed, but unsurprised, to find that I was quite right about that last. Some people are not only unclear on the difference between protest and vandalism, but seem oblivious to the danger that what is right for one is right for all. For example, few seem to have grasped that NO WAR is no more valid a cause than NO GST, RELEASE THE ASYLUM SEEKERS, FREE MUMIA, or SAVE IRAQ; KILL SADDAM. So I guess we can just turn the Opera House into a giant graffiti "tunnel".

Via Tim Blair.

UPDATE II: This article says the paint is nearly gone. I feared that the paint would stain the tiles, and that if they managed to clean it off they'd be left with a pink ghost. Apparently not. Whew!