Saturday, March 14, 2009

The pot of gold at the end of the cultural rainbow...

Is me.

And anyone who chooses to stand up for diversity, strong civic spirit, and multi-cultural harmony in the community.

When I originally included this mural in Problem Sleuth, I found it on the internet and thought it was particularly striking. I had no idea at the time that it was physically located about 15 minutes from where I lived, in Cambridge MA.

Naturally I had to go celebrate its existence as well as my physical proximity to it by standing in front of it. Intrepid fellow diversity enthusiast Tyler came along too, and here you see him somewhat nonplussed by the mischievous stowaway clinging to his hapless personage.

Prior to discovering the mural was local, I had wondered how to get information on the artist in order to give credit. Now that is possible. Let us all bask in the majesty of David Fitcher's painterly vision.

There is an amazing amount of these "cultural urban murals" in the Boston area. Fichter's work is apparently everywhere, including two striking works of genius less than a block from my residence. I'll take a photo of those too some time.

But there is a lot of lesser talent glomming on to otherwise respectable city surfaces as well. Mr. Galvez's heart is in the right place, I suppose.

Fichter's stuff may be a little thematically silly, but at least it's very well executed. Galvez's shit is just fucking pandemonium. The composition is an airy, rambling hodgepodge of disagreeable-looking horseshit. These grotesque harbingers of diversity at once frenzy to stoke my nightmares, or whatever you call the type of dream you'd like to shake by the collar and backhand repeatedly. Where do I start with this thing?

1) I've never seen a man employ a conductor's baton and rollerskates to assist him in his quest for spare change.

2) Affable street walkers hustle up a buck on the lemon-lime road. Any takers? How about the kid to the left with the broken foot and the overalls 20 sizes too big for him?

3) This Village People understudy wears on his face the one emotion, regardless of race or creed, with which we are all intimately familiar: profound shame.

3.5) Random-ass black woman: check.

4) "What should I do with all this empty, blood-red space in the background? How about I just sprinkle in a few malingering ragdoll dipshits?"

5) It was probably a perfectly nice old lady this was referenced from. The decision to use this *particular* photo of her, and make her a dominating 9-foot fixture in the mural: DUBIOUS. She's probably been dead for years. Her legacy: BOUNDLESS, SOUL-PUMICING TERROR.

6) Is this some sort of black trucker vampire? Is this child in danger? I might suspect so, but she looks so sinister herself that she's likely his netherworldly superior.

7) I don't... I don't even know.

8) Punk rockers are a culture too. Get him in there. It reminds us that despite appearances, deep down we are all alike: harrowingly one-dimensional.

9) Other cultures can at times be quite flamboyant! This man has passionate feelings in his bosom, and they must take the shape of rhythm come hell or high water. He'd sooner cut out his heart than cease wailing on his bongos. If someone snuck up behind him and pulled his hat down over his head, can you really say you'd have the maturity to not laugh at his expense? The answer is no.

10) Fanciful headwear on a black woman: check.

11) Is this a culture? What sort of culture is it? Caucasians who wear togas while playing jazz? Are we saying that embarrassingly drunk people comprise a culture unto themselves? Memo to this guy: you are fired from Diversity.

12) Disturbing encroachment on chubbykid moneyshot: check.

13) And these people? Perhaps this man is a poor caricature of Ray Romano? I am going to guess that this family is vaguely Mediterranean due to the bit of chest hair poking out from the man's shirt to the right. The hairy dude also seems to be rather oily. Is it really TOO much to ask that our murals celebrating racial diversity not be subtly racist too? Additionally -- the woman appears to be trying her best to not cause me physical harm with her facial expression. She is not succeeding.

Also to the upper right, it looks like camera glare has obscured the Indian family riding their fucking magic carpet, thus sparing you a joke about them. THIS TIME.


Anonymous said...

I laughed at this. a lot.

brian said...

Thanks for pointing out the light on the fact that the old lady is exceptionally creepy and one that you might find locked up in a cellar feeding off of children in her gingerbread house. made of children.horrifyingly meanacing

Mikker said...

And now, thanks to the action of a certain Andrew Hussie, tourism in the area has recently increased by 1500%.

Anonymous said...

I was doing ok until I got to the black trucker vampire and that laughed to the point where I nearly lost oxygen.

Andrew, you realize you could use this power for world domination, yes?

Outlaw said...

Haha, wow. A for effort I suppose but wow, I bet he was really proud of that too. The family in the upper right is pretty ridiculous.

L G said...

Ah, the lucky Cambridge man.

Andrew, instead of forcing all your local fans to converge TWO HOURS away to meet you in profound awe, why don't we have a local get together? I wanted to go to the webcomic weekend, but
1. I have a competition that day,
2. I can't go to bars yet, and
Monroe from xkcd did this subtly a while ago, why don't you?

The Unknown said...

This made my evening.

Byos (Higgs_boson) said...

I started to cry when i saw number 5...

and regained grasp of life when I saw number 6...

You should totally do some of this on the next story your planning!

Anonymous said...

i like gold

MrD said...


Zilla said...

This post delivers hilarity, but I'm intrigued about the other murals sported throughout the story. Whence did they come? Do they also have stories behind them?

Andrew Hussie said...

"Andrew, instead of forcing all your local fans to converge TWO HOURS away to meet you in profound awe, why don't we have a local get together?"

I'm not much of an organizer of things, and am probably better suited to letting my satellite orbit about preexisting events.

I guess I could latch on to one of Mr. xkcd's hip gatherings. But his fans might get angry at me for breaking all of science's rules or something.

Also I think I heard the east coast PAX was going to be in Boston, so maybe I could flutter near that flame too.

I have some weird metaphors mixing here... satellites? moths??

Anonymous said...

i can offer you one (1) zoo smell in exchange for an event coordination

a westie said...

It's cool to hear the background story of Problem Sleuth. May I suggest you get some hardboiled voice actors and narrators and make a DVD? And then you do commentary?

Loren said...

Now comes the part where you start a donation drive so that you can commission a mural from Galvez.

Leo said...


kolia said...

i did some of your paint adventures a while ago, ryan north mentioned them, i think. what caught my attention the most was what you wrote about his stalking story. what you write reads very well. it makes me laugh in a thinking way. not just at stuff. i just had to tell you.

zackbass said...

Holy...I don't know how I didn't recognize that mural! I used to walk by there all the time on my way to Wendy's.

You've got a group of fans at MIT! You're welcome to come over and party any time.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Darling (its me again) I definitely woke up my sister from laughing so hard at this.
Have I mentioned I Love you?
Pure genius good sir, pure genius. The internets should be proud.

*i suppose i shall begin signing my many comments O_o*

ENerd said...

Cliche to start off with but I'm a long time fan first time writer. Anyways, the description of the mural made me BWAH-HA-HA so loud I woke my roommate up. Good job dick.

pandaemonium said...

Not to mention the fact that creepy lady is looking rather suspiciously at the kid held by the vampire. The kid has nowhere to run... AND NOWHERE TO HIDE!

He better build himself a fort and quick.

Toha said...

Andrew,your post is a dangerous thing to see after 3 days of binge drinking. Lold so hard no doubt it would kill a lesser man.

MrGuy said...

That was incredibly hilarious and often incredibly disturbing. Much like MS Paint Adventures, in fact.

Anonymous said...

Damn it! You are WAAAAY too funny NOT to be on TV! (AH: Go on TV,NOW!)

Anonymous said...

The two kids instantly made me think:

Travis said...

Ah ha ha!

Your take on that mural was absolutely hilarious! You win one hundred points of internet!

Plus this just makes me more excited for an upcoming MS paint adventures.

zackbass said...

Also, PLEASE tell me this isn't coincidence:

I was walking by the place last week and thought: 'VIM? Fitness? No. That's impossible.'

DMAC said...

Would "SOUL-PUMICING TERROR" abrade the tough, callused parts of your soul, leaving it soft and smooth?

Gabi said...

It's nice to know where the mural comes from. I've always thought it was great.

And I laughed a lot at the commentary of the other mural.

Andrew Hussie said...

Vim Fitness, though I've never seen it before, must be one of Ace Dick's many legitimate establishments.

And yes, "soul-pumicing terror" is the sort of terror which abrades your soul down to its smooth, vulnerable core. And then the woman eats it.

The Tallest Man said...

Memo to this guy: You are fired from diversity. I laughed for like ten minutes.

Anonymous said...

It's probably just me but the vampire trucker vaguely reminds me of Blade from the Blade movies.

Dave said...

oh andrew hussie, you have the sort of name that makes me want to say your first and last names together.

Also, I had to chuckle quite a lot. This is rather painful with a hangover and for that I resent you.

but only a little bit

Timailius said...

I know this mural. I fear this mural. I am familiar with this mural to a level that is painfully uncomfortable.

Every time I get stuck at that traffic light, the car comes to a halt directly in line with the frightening old woman who is long since deceased. She fills me with the kind of terror that one feels only in one's dreams...

That said, I have not laughed so hard in ages. Well done, sir.

Behemoth said...

Good lord that old woman is creepy. She looks like an illustration of the Baba Yaga from a children's book.

I must have laughed at this for 10 minutes straight.

AtomicTown said...

8 is a dude? Now I feel dirty.

dan visel said...

I'm pretty sure the guy with the conductor's baton & roller skates was a fixture in Cambridge for a while? I know I ran into him in Harvard & Central Squares fairly regularly in the late 90s - at that point he was no longer on roller skates and I don't remember if he had a baton, but he did have the top hat & that vest. I feel like I used to know his name . . .

Pierucci A. said...

>Now comes the part where you start
>a donation drive so that you can
>commission a mural from Galvez.


Jonas Hedegaard / DK said...

The only reason I didn't laugh more at this (and I did laugh a lot), was because I had to read on - just couldn't let go - and that kind of forced me to hold the laughter, because new hillarity was taking it's place. That resulted in me now sitting here chuckling silly(ly?) all the time... I think I have to read it again now... Thanks for being so damn funny all the time :)

ben k said...

notice, if you will, how the bongo-playing man's right arm compares to his left. too may left-handed bongoes, i guess?

...come to think of it, the right arm looks like it belongs on an entirely different dude, or infant.

Zylar said...

"zackbass said...

Also, PLEASE tell me this isn't coincidence:

I was walking by the place last week and thought: 'VIM? Fitness? No. That's impossible.'"

Well in that site's about section it describes vim as “energy, vitality, and spirit”. Vim is a real word lol, so vimfitness is a perfect name for that company.
Pulchritude is even a real word.
physical beauty; comeliness.

Kokoro said...

Oh god... I laughed so hard I almost DIED. Thanks for being so awesome all the time.

odinthecrab said...

This blog of yours needs more posts in it.
I thoroughly enjoy reading your material.
thoroughly. enjoy.
In other words, I cum in my pants from laughing.

Magnacor said...

Haha, funniest thing I have read in a long time. Seriously, of all of the people I know on the internet, Andrew Hussie, you sir are the most hilarious.

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