It offended me, that's why

Graffiti is objectionable to a lot of people, right? Yes, especially when it's scrawled or – more likely – spray-painted on public surfaces, such as bridge supports, walls of buildings, and the sides of subway cars. Count Steve Pratt among those who dislike the so-called street art. So much so that earlier this month he took it upon himself to remove some from a highly visible spot in a suburb of Canberra, Australia. Alas, after more than four hours of scrubbing with industrial-strength detergent and stiff-bristled brushes, he managed only to reduce it to a discolored smear. Well, that and project himself into the headlines, anger some upstanding citizens, and open himself to possible prosecution and a hefty financial settlement at the same time. And all because, as a member of Parliament, he was pretty sure the news media would accept when he invited them to cover his – ah – labors. They did, and at last word he still was fending off the ridicule and firestorm of criticism that followed. As it turned out, a local club had obtained legal permission for the graffiti that Pratt chose to target, a mural of a human figure engaged in a sport called disc golf. Now its members are seeking an apology and $2,500 from him in compensation for what they paid the artist. The matter also has been referred to the police for potential charges under Australia's Roads and Public Places Act. So, is Pratt in low-profile mode now? Not at all. In fact, he refuses to say he's sorry and has identified other graffiti in Canberra that he says needs to go.

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