A vulgar display of humanity

I have long thought about this piece of poetic genius and whether or not I should consider writing an article about what is essentially a vulgarity. In the meantime, the graffiti has been removed from the steps at the end of rue Descartes, leaving the water fountain demon to himself. So no-one else will ever see it, unless I publish it here. So what is it about this phrase that makes it worth mentioning? Take a moment to contemplate what it could mean. Stop to fuck your humanity.

The faulty grammar makes it enigmatic. Should there be a pause after “stop”? Are you supposed to stop doing whatever you are doing to take the time to ruin your human characteristics? How would you do that? If you would become a beast, perhaps? So if you would keep moving (up the steps) you would not have the time to become an awful beast of a person? So the message is move along to stay sane? Not very likely.

You may be contemplating the possibility that the author thinks we are already trying to transform ourselves into beasts and that we should stop doing so. In that case it could be: “stop fucking up your humanity?” that does not make a whole lot of sense either, it just invokes more questions? Do we even have a “humanity” we can mess up? And how, exactly, does that affect the author? He is not telling us he does not like us (eg “fuck you”), no he feels he knows us at an intimate level, the part of us which makes us a human being and at that level we are not being who we are supposed to be. This does not sound right, it is too far fetched.

Perhaps we are not the target but the actor: “stop fucking up humanity”. Although possible, that  suggests that we are powerful agents capable of undermining the future of our species. But could that be the message to the humble people who walk up the stairs near place Monge? It does not seem very likely either, or the graffiti artist is seriously over-estimating us. The fellow needs to go back to the drawing board. If we are to change the text for him, I think there is only one true route to take: “Stop to fuck our scholarity”. Still beautifully ungrammatical to stay true to the spirit, but it makes a real point, doesn’t it?

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