Tuesday, June 9, 2009
More Than One Way to Read A Sign
The photo of this group of hand-painted signs was taken in the early 90s, as best I can remember. They were nailed to improvised supports, right by the sidewalk in a poor area of a small Southern city. When a local told me about the sign, he warned that going into the neighborhood might be dangerous, but I had no problem in the few minutes I was there. I think the signs are evidence of more than one thing, among them:
that there was a plague in America
that desperately sick people who can't be cured by conventional medicine will sometimes try dubious therapies
that there are opportunists who cynically offer hope in exchange for dollars, and their marketing is frequently directed at people already poor
that there are remnants of magical healing practices still present in modern America,
and that handmade signs are far more interesting than commercially made ones.
Maybe there are other readings, too.