People Love the Gum Wall Because It's "Quirky," Which Is What Disgusts Me

Comments

1
The quirkiest thing about Seattle is that The Stranger keeps you on the payroll.
2
@1. BOOM!!!!
3
That Huffington Post link warrants a trigger warning for use of the "sensual."
4
*word
5
@1 ugh, I can never understand this sort of anti-Mudede sentiment. This guy's basically the best thing about the stranger and so much more actually interesting that so much else on the internet
7
@1 FTW! There is nothing wrong or childish about enjoying quirkiness, but there is something quite asinine about denigrating the simple pleasures of others.
8
Also, what kind of an egocentric asshole quotes himself to back up his own mean-spirited opinion? For shit's sake!
9
never stop, Mudede!
10
It's not that I have any issue with Mudede's dedication to connecting everyday things to broader issues of race or class. I like that type of thinking. It's just that all we typically get is the same few hundred words about how some inane day to day thing is actually a symbol of race/class issues...and that's it. Surface level. Rinse and repeat.

Please god talk about these issues and theories in the context of Seattle WITHOUT needing to use an over-discussed Seattle building or feature as the super-obvious metaphor. I promise it's possible. You can talk about capitalism without the dead squirrel on your way to work being the crux of the thing.

This is Mudede's THIRD post about the gum wall being cleaned. It isn't even ending...it's just getting scrubbed. The only thing missing is a purposefully-blurry camera phone picture of the gum wall by Mudede.
11
@7: I don't think you actually read what he wrote.
12
I thought quirking was that thing all those rap guys' girlfriends are doing these days.
13
Mudede needs to learn how to live in a diverse urban setting. Gum on walls, spontaneous break dancing in subways, or being beaten for your iPhone at a rainbow crosswalk are all part of that rich tapestry.
14
Something something something Donald Rumsfeld?
15
@11 wait you did? I thought we were just supposed to comment since this is all some sort of elaborate troll artist performance piece? I thought I had it figured out :-(
16
It's better than the booger wall I have behind my bed.
17
This is "logic: according to Chaz:

The gum wall is "quirky". Quirkiness is "a way (for White People) to be creative without encountering the frictions of the political, the sexual, and the historical." Ergo,, anything "quirky" lacks these qualities, these "social stresses" - EXCEPT that in lacking them it contains them.

In short: a thing that does not have specific qualities has them nevertheless, regardless of its lack of having them.

Unsurprisingly, the dictionary definition of Quirky: " adjective: Characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits" fails to mention any of these additional qualities which he ascribes to the word.
18
There's actually two places in Seattle where you can take circus classes, so.. not one but two, 'cause it's-- that's the kind of place Seattle is.
19
Charles, I find your definition of 'quirky' to be... well, quirky.

Quirky can mean 'unexpected' or 'difficult to categorize' or 'weird' or even (this appears to be the sense you've zeroed in on) 'cute', among other things. And we can see your point about how some quality considered quirky in an affluent old white codger might well be considered criminal in a homeless black man. But the gum wall isn't black or white, nor does quirkiness make it one or the other.

It would have been much more interesting had you begun by exploring how the word 'quirky' can be used as an alibi for objectively racist or otherwise discriminatory behavior. But it doesn't work the other way; discovering the word 'quirky' doesn't make behavior it describes discriminatory.
20
I'm surprised by the lack of articles about graphic pervert sex, or pretentious attempts at critical theory by reviewing some popcorn movie.
Lately it's been weed, Sawant, gum wall, and hobos.
You guys at the Stranger feeling ok?
21
This is the best roll Charles has been on in a while. Even the photo captions are giving me giggles. I hope he live-tweets the impending scrape-cleanse.
22
I like Mudede. I'm grossed out by the gum wall. I think this piece was kind of dumb, but it did make me think a bit. The term "pick your battles" or to quote The Business, "fight the real enemy" come to mind.
It was also misleading and erroneous, it said the wall was coming down, but it's just being scrubbed so whitey can gum it up again.
23
Dear The Stranger,

Mudede's articles are garbage.

Thanks,
Seattle
24
This is the only decent opinion piece I have seen from a Seattle writer in possibly my entire life. Humans have an obligation to the rest of their society to rouse people from their dazed, unaware day-to-day existence by pointing things out that many people aren't going to like to hear. It is a thankless role but without anyone playing it, we are literally doomed. I applaud your selfless championing of unpopular stances that nonetheless are valid and important to be understood.

It takes just as much time and effort to make a 2 second facebook post about prison reform, race inequality, world poverty, rapidly rising rents, crumbling infrastructure, a corrupt police system, a corrput capitalist government, any of these issues, but instead many people would rather write a sonnet to express their relentless agony at losing their beloved, symbolic gum wall. If anyone reading this is subversive enough to have seen the film Dogma, which I sincerely question, you will recognize the gum wall as the Golden Calf. Instead of doing anything worthwhile with your time and your actions, you choose to whine because someone might not understand you and why it is important for people to have worthless fluff to clutter their existence with. Wake up, it's not important, and if you want to do something important, get off of this comments section and go do something substantive.
25
There's plenty of actual racist bullshit in this world and even in this city to write about. Why is this clown Mudede grasping at straws with a bizarre allegory about the fucking gum wall? And why do idiots like Mudede have writing gigs in semi-respectable publications like the Stranger? This is why we can't have nice things.
26
based on the actual reach of the stranger and the role that it plays in the world, it does not exist to be part of the vanguard on combating actual racist bullshit. what it can do is work to rebuild the opinions and mentality of its limited readership, so that all of those individuals may be more likely to become part of the vanguard to combat actual racist bullshit. the stranger is a think piece meant to spur discussion about general local matters which frequently involve actual racist bullshit and other meaningful topics, but this topic is about prizing complacency as a lifestyle choice as the thing you will rise up to protect as opposed to all of the other actually heinous things that continue to transpire both in our city and elsewhere, and why that is a behavior that may be worth reconsidering.
27
Are you saying non-whites can't appreciate quirkie? Your argument again, that white people are privileged? Well yeah they are but that has nothing to do with being quirkie or having creative fun. Out of all the writers at the Stranger, you are by far the dissapointing...
28
he says that middle and upper class whites are the largest group that prizes quirkiness, not that other groups cannot do so. That the percentage followership of an idea is dominated by a certain race or class may be a fact but it does not automatically imply that it is purely dominated by that race or that no individuals from other groups cannot or do not also follow this idea.
29
Please stop letting Charles Mudede write articles.
30
I like Charles BECAUSE he is quirky. or qwerty, or something.
31
The black community tend have many quirky traits. Colorful language and expressions, funny hats, sometimes worn backwards or to the side,, unusual clothes, unusual movement and stances, etc. Are they racist?
32
So the ginger in the center of the picture is my kid. I didn't know this picture was taken and I'm not real sure how about him being described as naturally stupid. How did this picture happen!
33
Not a huge fan of Mudede myself, but 95% of the negative reaction to his articles is the racist troll squad. They do the same shit with Lynn Varner and Leo Pitts over at the times.

Its basically people who hate black people with a passion, and feel a strong need to attack anything that criticizes race in a way which doesnt glorify or defend white people or whiteness.

Click the previous posts of these trolls and youll either see a history of racist (or badly masked racism) comments, a-typical douchebro trolling, or few posts at all, which is indicative of a troll hole account.
34
[adding to above] Also regional law enforcement officers. When not profiling, sending racist texts, or beating/assaulting unarmed minority children, they LOVE to troll seemingly left leaning websites. At least, between their stormfront and therant posts on why blacks and hispanics should be rounded up and deported/shot.
36
@32: Charles does not appear to have committed any libel here, because his text does not imply that the particular representative child (photographed within the public realm) is any more or less "naturally stupid" than any other child. He merely illustrates the wide-eyed quirk appreciation that he finds emblematic of a universal childhood lack of refinement.

That said, the photograph is credited to Shutterstock.com account "f11photo". Searching that account reveals that the photo is prohibited from commercial/promotional use, so you should definitely never see your child appear in an advertisement. Shutterstock may also have some process by which you can request the removal of your own recognizable face from its libraries, though as it was photographed on a public right-of-way, such a process would be a matter of courtesy rather than of law.

37
The gum wall is disgusting because it's disgusting. Quirks have nothing to do with it.
38
Haven't been reading the strangers slog for quite awhile. I come back to it and without fail CM is still being a troll.
It all just sounds like old geezer rants.

Those damn Kids are stupid!
Those white people are ....
That damn gum wall is a disgrace ...
Damn building is ugly.

Damn Capitalists livin on Capitol Hill, drinking them cappuccinos. Marxist my words, some day ....

39
@24 - Are you Kevin Smith, or Rick Santorum? Because I assure you, no one but Kevin Smith, Jerry Falwell, Rick Santorum, and Fred Phelps believed that Dogma was subversive, and two of those guys are dead.

As for Charles' writing, who am I to say anyone can't use social and economic theory, philosophy, and the current paradigm of privilege and marginalization to concern troll. What I find interesting are the potential contradictions. In his article about black weirdos, one of his better offerings, he discusses the ways in which black culture creates variation. But I'm not sure weirdness is distinct from quirkiness, and in that sense, I'm not sure that the white person who distinguishes himself or herself by essentially arbitrary markers that are separate from (though not necessarily in denial of) questions of class, privilege, or marginalization.

Also, having grown up in a small redneck town that, at least at the time, was white by default, and where a poetically/theatrically inclined child of liberal intellectuals had to start studying martial arts at age 12 just to survive middle- and high-school intact, "quirky" was a way to assert identity for both gay and lesbian kids who couldn't come out in their home town, who may indeed be too culturally sheltered or brainwashed to even know that their "difference" was indicative of that, and those who would later be their allies and colleagues politically or aesthetically. Art outside of the mainstream, or even random cultural markers like, say, the gum wall, was a way to experience and express difference with relatively little danger to oneself.

None of this is meant to be particularly supportive of the gum wall. I find it interesting that such a thing exists, but something that exists for NO reason but to be quirky is hard to defend. There's a disposability about quirk that would say something about privilege if so much cultural product coming from the margins weren't equally disposable. But it's easier for me to understand affection for that sort of thing than it is to understand vehement opposition to it because white privilege (or something).
40
@38 Lol, guy with avatar of Mark Furman (infamous racist former law enforcement officer) says he hasnt read the slog in a while but came back to read and attack the black author.

Oh RIghties...you guys never change! Stay golden, pony boy....
41
@40: In fairness, Charles Mudede is indeed a troll, and quite good at trolling.
42
Venom, are you Mark Furman?

How has that northern idaho aryan compound held up?