Graffiti: Mark of the Human Condition

Humans have an innate need to declare “I was here,” even if that here-edness is anonymous. And what better way to do so than with graffiti? Ancient Greeks and Crusaders in Medieval Jerusalem carved the innermost workings of their minds onto stone walls, and Vassar students today have carried the torch of this centuries-old trend by etching their mid-lecture thoughts and daydreams onto desks. From evocative song lyrics, to the classic squiggle or geometric design, to positive affirmations, to rather explicit imagery, students use desk graffiti to silently communicate with fellow students as well as those who will soon exist where they once were. To examine this cultural phenomenon, the Features Editorial Team has gathered our favorite on-campus graffiti—some presented without comment, and some alongside the responses they provoke in us. If you see one of yours in our collection, let us know!

Dionysus blessed us Vassar Brewers with his presence and sends a message signifying his Second Coming. It’s been years since Nov. 4, 2008 and we’re still waiting.
— Janet Song, Assitant Features Editor

“Ah, numbers. The letters of math.”
— John Edmund Mulaney
[via Lucy Leonard, Senior Editor]


These three affirmations, equally as likely to apply to a given human being, definitely lend a positive air to Blodgett 105.
— Frankie Knuckles, Managing Editor

OK Saitama.
— Janet


The wise words of the Rolling Stones are now seared into a desk, and therefore the minds of Vassar students. As one one commenter noted, “Yurp.”
— Gillian Redstone, Assistant Features Editor

A class can bring out the worst of your edgy tendencies. This “GOD IS DEAF” scream into the night is…class-ic. The only problem with screaming into the night is that someone might be trying to go to sleep and will let you know that they don’t have time for your bullshit by writing right underneath you. Or draw boob petals.
— Duncan Aronson, Senior Editor

We don’t know how long Colonel Carp’s haunting visage has stood here, officious. But I have far more questions, one of which is: How does he fill his pants?
— Jessica Moss, Editor-in-Chief

I spent a full semester conducting a close reading analysis of this stroke of genius, and its infinite mysteries and wonders still strike me, perhaps even more so than the classics of Russian literature I was meant to be studying at the time.
— Frankie

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