There was a time when graffiti were funny ("Nietzsche is dead God"),
or perceptive ("Even paranoiacs have real enemies"). Nowadays wild
splashes of spray paint are in vogue, along with endless repetitions of
names and street numbers. A New York adolescent who signs himself Taki
183 is said to be the champion, having defaced hundreds of walls,
posters, street signs and subway seats. The New York subway system
alone spends $500,000 a year to clean up after Taki and his myriad
little friends, and there is no end in sight.
In Philadelphia, where the...
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