Whether malicious or not, writing on people’s stuff is never cool. Uncreative poster vandalism is a staple during University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union elections, and in light of the most recent spree, it’s starting to feel like a good time to hang up those Sharpies.
We get it, vandals: you’re sick of these gosh darn student politics. A USSU election is just a bunch of idealist kids putting themselves out there and asking people to respect them as leaders or something. Putting posters on the walls of colleges? How dare they? You consider yourself above these antics — too cool for school — or maybe you just think you’re funny.
So you decide to walk the halls — I’m assuming when it’s late at night and when you’re dressed in all black — and carefully contemplate what sort of haiku or quick doodle you can pen on one or all of your least favourite posters, like so many vandals before you. I feel almost inclined to thank you for your efforts, as you’ve clearly put in a lot of work — but I won’t.
Why? You’re just not that funny.
This year’s vandalism included “JessWeCan’t,” “How old do I look?” and “What! No clevage!?!” — yes, it was misspelled — which seems as though comedy vigilantes are seriously half-assing their work.
Let me say it again: you’re not funny.
It’s a tough world out there — we know that — and you don’t have to make it worse. Here’s the facts: the candidates in the USSU election probably don’t feel good about plastering their faces around campus, but they’re doing it to pursue something meaningful and it’s brave of them to try.
It’s an even tougher world out there for those woman-identifying individuals. They know you’ve been itching to draw something phallic near their faces, comment on their bodies or attack their femininity while they push to be included in leadership roles. No amount of preparation will make it comfortable for them when you do it.
“There goes the male vote” was one critique on a woman-identifying candidate’s colorful poster, because she wore a sweater in her photo. Were they calling her out for not using her sexuality as a selling point, or were they trying to insinuate that she somehow picked the sweater as she got dressed that morning as a strategic act of defiance against the male gaze — perhaps demonizing her for being a feminist?
Give it a rest, please. More candidates’ posters were met with anti-semitic symbols, phallic drawings and bad multiple choice questions. Whatever the reasoning, these jokes are juvenile and just plain mean.
Anonymity is not a suitable shield in this. You might be avoiding a semi-damning reputation, but at the end of the day, you didn’t better yourself by writing on someone’s poster. Regardless of your feelings, we all know it doesn’t take a lot of guts to write something mean when no one can hold you accountable for it.
It’s true that we’ll likely never catch the poster bandits — and even if someone did, I’m not sure there are any formal consequences for putting a pen to poster paper. It’s true that even my own complaints about the issue will likely fall on deaf ears. I’m quite sure that the individuals responsible for this year’s scribbles, when reading this article — if they do — will have a good laugh, but that doesn’t matter. Writing mean stuff on people’s faces is still mean, and there’s a whole lot of people who agree.
My only hope is that maybe, just maybe, the next time these ink aficionados stop in front of some poor hopeful candidate’s poster, they can at least come up with some better burns.
Photo: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor