The Good the Bad and the Ugly

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After the defacing of the walls of Patrick Berger’s East Park café, debate surfaced regarding the impact of graffiti on communities. The editorial, in the 16 July issue of The Daily Tribute, contends in an emotional and didactic tone that local governments and councils should be supporting prideful citizens and adjudge graffiti as vandalism. In contrast, the letter by Michaela Whitehouse, a representative of the East Park Council, controverts in a scathing yet conciliatory tone that certain places should be dedicated for graffiti and solidly defends the council’s position by addressing several inaccuracies in the editorial.

The title of the editorial catches our attention straight away. It establishes a sense of moral values and appeals to ethos. The “good” in the title refers to the ‘self-respecting’ citizens; the “bad” refers to the graffiti artists and the “ugly” refers to graffiti itself. This serves to separate the principled and upright members of society from the graffiti artists.

The demoralizing effects of graffiti are strengthened by the accompanying picture. The picture is dominated by disfigured tags and a suspicious looking man riding on a bicycle. This indicates a lack of consideration for the owners of the defaced wall. The ‘artistic’ elements of the graffiti are obscure and this suggests to the reader that the graffiti artists are not interested in how people perceive their work; hence they will continue to vandalize other properties at their own consent.

The opening paragraph utilizes emotive imagery and strong language to juxtapose between the irresponsible graffiti artists and the hardworking owners of the café. By labeling the graffiti artists as “thugs” who “desecrated the freshly painted walls” arouses feelings of anger and enmity towards the graffiti artists. This is further enhanced and supported by comments from the locals. In contrast, sympathy is expected for the Bergers through anecdotes, “…his heavily pregnant wife spent...
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