Sticker Controversy

Sticker Controversy

Extra, 4/20/09: Can this sordid affair come to its end? Perhaps… I remove the offending stickers…

Nearly a month ago, I received the following e-mail from Sterry Butcher of the Big Bend Sentinel:

Hey there,
May I make a respectful request that you discontinue placing West Texas Weekly stickers all over Marfa? I’ve encountered them on phone poles, windows, at stoplights and even on my 12-pack of coke that was bought at a convenience store.

I understand that stickers are fun, cheap forms of getting the word out about your website, but I found three of them stuck to the exterior of the post office’s bulletin board. It’s sorta overkill and you run the risk of turning people *off* from your site. They do not peel off easily and half the sticker stays on the surface of whatever you put it on.
Honestly, I’m not a huge crank normally. Kudos to you for creating the site and trying to make it accessible and known. Enough with the stickers, though, please.

Sterry Butcher

This is a respectful request, and I appreciate the concern for Marfa’s aesthetic environment. I will stop using stickers to my site in Marfa if ten people 1) who live in Marfa and 2) who do not work in print journalism comment negatively to that effect on this post.

I do not intend to make this community that I love ugly, rather my aim is to promote the culture and events that make this an amazing destination.

I hope that my site and my promotion of the site serve a utilitarian purpose. Frankly, I feel that concrete electric poles, diesel trucks, and trains disturb the visual and aural peace and quiet of Marfa much more than a 3″x2″ sticker can. However, trains and trucks bring diffuse benefits to the community that outweigh their nuisance factor.

Similarly, I think the mild nuisance of seeing a sticker affixed to a pay phone is outweighed by the public forum I provide the people of Marfa. If many people feel strongly the other way, the stickers are gone.

Does the Sentinel use 100% post-consumer recycled paper for its print runs? Some people may think that the environmental impact caused by massive amount of newsprint advertising in landfills isn’t outweighed by the information that newspapers provide. Personally, however, I think that a well-informed populace is worth this sacrifice.

To put this in perspective, I am not defacing a work of art; I am putting a flier up on a god-awful ugly utility pole.

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED. 1234074575045

46 thoughts on “Sticker Controversy

  1. Valerie Arber

    Hello, I live in Marfa and am not a journalist. I don’t think it’s a BIG deal but I did notice your stickers, 3 I think, on the display board outside the P.O. and thought it looked kind of excessive/junky. I think that particular display space is owned by the Chamber of Commerce and is exclusively used for their members, items are placed there only by the Chamber staff.

    Sooooo, I think maybe you could cut back a little, and be more discerning where you place them, I feel you’ve gone a little overboard.


  2. Sterry Butcher

    I was surprised tonight to see that you’ve published my note to you regarding the stickers you’ve placed around Marfa. The note was intended as a missive to you and not as a source of public debate. I sent you a message on my personal email account to your personal email account. Next time, I suppose I’ll just phone you.
    You’re right, I do work for the Big Bend Sentinel. I should point out that I voiced my concern to you merely as a resident of the area and not in my more public role as a reporter.

  3. admin

    I assumed that because you sent a letter to the editor (me) on my business email concerning my business practices that it was a ‘letter to the editor’. If you want me to take down your letter, I will. Just ask me.

  4. admin

    Valerie, I will use more restraint from now on. I will limit my stickers to utility poles, pay phones, etc. I will remove those particular three stickers with a putty knife the next time I am in Marfa.

    I will also count your post as a vote for ‘no stickers’. Nine more and I’ll remove them all!

    The voting is open to journalists in general, only print journalists are barred. I am afraid that the current economic crisis in printed media may bias them against my humble online publication.

  5. Loren

    Hey! Any chance I could have some of those stickers? I would love to put some up around Dallas (we don’t have much left that’s aesthetically pleasing anyhow). I love love love your site!

  6. Dr J.P. Schwartz

    Those stickers show that there is life outside the party line in the area! bring em on!
    I direct all my friends coming to the area to your web site! It is a great way to really know about the area. I was in Terlingua this past weekend and could get right in there with the folks who lived down there and talk about the problems at the ranch. I think your site will go a long way to bringing all of us together on so many issues… even more than what is out there in the traditional media as important as that still is! Thanks for your efforts! PS thanks to everyone for pledging to KRTS! especially to WTX Blue Monday! We raised over a grand! thanks! We’re taking a break for a few days but will back on soon. We are holding out for more pay and benifits from KRTS ha ha ha ha! Doc Cactus…

  7. joni

    I was surprised and disheartened to see three of your stickers on the public bulletin board next to the post office. Yes, I have seen them plastered on light poles and other surfaces in Marfa. But the bulletin board serves a purpose – announcing local events and such – for the public. It is maintained by the Chamber of Commerce and the stickers have defaced our property. My first inclination was to pull the stickers off, but the adhesive was too strong. Now there are three partially torn stickers spoiling the bulletin board. It is unfortunate that your idea for promoting your forum blemishes the public surfaces throughout our town.

  8. admin

    I will stop by with a putty knife and some WD-40 when I cover the Corner Stores opening. This seems to be the most egregious misuse of the stickers… the ‘spoiled’ bulletin board will be back to its pristine condition in no time at all. As proof I will film myself restoring it to apple-pie order.

    Joni, I just have to ask you a question before I mark your ‘no’ vote down (the second after 200 views of this post)… do you work in print journalism/advertising?

  9. Cosmopolitan Commentator

    Maybe the best use of these stickers is outside of the Big Bend / Marfa / Alpine area. There is an illuminati arts “set” in the US and for better or worse, Marfa and environs are on the map of places artists should know. Therefore, a little networking with the kiddoes from the various art schools in the US. Those kiddoes love that sort of thing, and maybe, from what I have seen, would benefit from something authentic in their lives. Many of them are being taught how to make corporate marketing, are charged a big tuition, and this is called “art.” Therefore, I, the Cosmopolitan Commentator, suggest that you immediately commence to establish ten satellite marketing offices for the West Texas Weekly, and distribute stickers to these to be placed effectively in the various no doubt commercial art communes. Indeed, it is a troubled world and the coffee-shop hipsters are in need of you.

    Signed, C.C. You will know how to find me via the internet, if you wish.

  10. Jose Bove

    you have a good voice as an editor, organizing topics, appropriate reference to things. Especially, I like your characterization of the Burro Lady.

    So, I guess we each got something we are supposed to be doing, and it is that which we do well, or do our best to do well, etc. and so on.

    As far as the fellow complaining about the Sticker Crisis, you could offer to hire him but probably that would not be good form.

    You might want to include an instruction page with any distributed stickers, specifying a quality approach and how to apply a sticker in a deliberate, artful and appealling manner.


  11. Ara & Spirit

    Well, I don’t know… I mean really! I think the Marfa Chamber of Commerce should be happy to see those stickers, they serve a great purpose. How about if I get on Andrews side and we forget the whole thing? After all, it is the Marfa Chamber of Commerce that forgot to give me credit for a photo of mine used for advertising… That hurts a bit more than a sticker (or 3!) on a bulletin board… So, no one is perfect… right? Could we call it even and let Andrew continue doing what he does best?

  12. MarfaSon

    Sterry Butcher is a female – not a fellow.
    Up to speed now?
    And Andrew is the last person to give advice concerning aesthetics.

  13. MarfaSon

    Andrew – Another vote “NO” for your stickers. The adhasive is what leaves a mess. People that post bills on our utility poles use masking tape or celophane tape. Do you think that the person who maintains pay phones wants to clean up after you? Use the ad spaces that are avaialable: Marfa Book Co., Pueblo Market, The Get Go, The Big Bend Sentinel, etc.) Lord knows you have already found
    If you are invested in this community as you say you are, you would know that Joni is the Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Why you limit your consideration to comments made by people who are not journalist is ridiculous. Everyone who lives here is entitled to thier opinion.
    I really don’t know why I am surprised. I have encountered and observed you enough to realize that your arrogance permeates everything you do. Why should West Texas Weekly be any different.
    I am proposing to the City Council they consider a “Post No Bills” ordinance. I will also suggest that they have you remove your stickers and clean up the mess left from the adhesive. Show some pride, man! Stickers are for third graders!
    You may be smart intellectually, but you are socially ignorant.

  14. admin

    I am limiting the voting because folks in print journalism/advertising may be biased against online publications. They are entitled to their opinion, but I am more interested in what people who do not compete with me directly think about this matter.

    Do you happen to be in print journalism/advertising? If not, I will mark this as my second ‘no’ vote. Joni is in print advertising as the director of the Chamber of Commerce, so her vote doesn’t count.

    Would it really be fair to enact a ‘no handbills’ law and then enforce it retroactively? If the community of Marfa is really concerned about the aesthetics of the town, it should ban diesel truck traffic and bury power lines instead of using utility poles. Isn’t the gigantic glowing Town and Country sign more of an eyesore than a 2″ x 3″ sticker?

    P.S. Be sure to attend DrewAid tonight at Padre’s.

  15. MarfaSon

    I am not in advertising.
    I said nothing about enforcing anything retroactively. It’s just an idea to stop it in the future.
    I agree that diesel truck traffic is bad, exposed power lines are not attractive, big signs are ugly – so why add to it with your crappy little stickers?

  16. Jose Bove

    MarfaSon, Thank you for the engendered information tune-up. Yes, I put the “green” in green-horn. Seems Andrew is on a bend. I think he should promote his site in-ter-na-tional-ly. Seems to this Jose that there is a limited number of folks in the immediate region, therefore local market saturation will be a growth pang of this site, however the the media form of internet is not meant to be regional, it is the medium for world distribution that has the potentential to positively benefit the area through profile and attracting visitors, participation, arts.

    As a poet once said, “Action, Jackson, Fight for Action!”
    (no particle significance to “Jackson” aside from metrical effect)

    PS technical note: this site works better since I disabled flash player. previously my browser would crash due to the multiplicity of video links on the pages. ‘might suggest apprisal to site design to load cleanly with a “light” touch to system resources. could be a case, like many efforts in W. Texas, for a sharpy consultant. One thing though, the independent radio station does an absolutely stellar job applying internet technology. Their streaming sounds great and works real well, completely impressive.

  17. admin

    When you said,

    “I am proposing to the City Council they consider a “Post No Bills” ordinance. I will also suggest that they have you remove your stickers and clean up the mess left from the adhesive.”

    you proposed retroactive enforcement of the ordinance.

  18. admin

    I’m assuming you used Internet Explorer… see my post about Mozilla Firefox. I’m happy with my load times… relatively small compared to many other local sites. When I dump my cache and load the page, I’m looking at about a half second before any text appears (style sheet loading) and a second and a half before the first video thumbnail appears. I still need to tweak some files to decrease load time, though.

  19. George A.

    MarfaSon it’s funny you hide behind a screen name and don’t tell anyone who you are while you insult the author of the site you’re using and is obviously on your mind quite a bit.

    I take it you must be the guy who has to clean the pay phones and this new peculiar sticker that showed up a few weeks ago has effectively ruined your passion for the job…

  20. David H.

    I live in Marfa. Don’t work for any publications.
    Count me as a “No” to the stickers, please.

  21. BR

    Andrew, I don’t live in Marfa and I’ve never seen your stickers. However i have a suggestion. I love your website and if not for prowling around looking for info on the Marfa Film Festival I would not have found it. My suggestion is that you place a “sheet” of stickers with your website information on the information board and those that want to remember to look up your site when they get home can simply peel off a sticker and place it on a piece of mail or their shirt sleeve…etc etc. You get the jest of where I’m going with this I’m sure. When the stickers are gone, you put more up…. no harm no foul.

  22. Jose

    Refrigerator magnets are useful.

    Happy Easter and Glory Glory Glory to the One True God.
    (more or less quoting William Blake)

    Be Holy, Jose

  23. farley

    Haven’t seen your stickers. I do respect Sterry’s opinion but count me as undecided. If they are truly 3×2 then I can’t see the harm in using them to advertise your online publication but I’d space them out. Seems most objections concern density. Send me one and I’ll put it on my farm truck along with my Rock a billy sticker.

  24. farley

    Oh yeah, I don’t work for anyone but myself and am a former newspaper reporter but do not do any type of blogging, reporting, etc. now.

  25. Carel Rowe

    What is the verdict ? I don’t think Robert wants to run an article about West Texas Weekly until some agreement is reached. Did you send him the banner ?

  26. An Outsider

    As a outsider coming to this beautiful area , I’ve found andrew’s site to be amazing to know what is going on around in this area. This is going to burst some of yall’s bubbles , but how can you bring down one of the few good people trying to build the city of marfa much. There is not much to do in this area but andrew knows of every thing and does a great job putting it out. All he does is make your city have a better representation . And to try to get angry with him because his stickers upset you because your up tight. Or because he does a better job than the paper. Thanks for all the hardwork andrew .

  27. admin

    I’ve received three ‘no’ votes. Things are still undecided. At this pace, though, I don’t think that ten people will vote ‘no’. Does that count as a decision?
    I’ve already agreed to take down the stickers on the Chamber of Commerce bulletin board– in fact, I’m going to shoot and post video of it.

  28. Dr J.P. Schwartz

    just take the stickers down and go on to the real work enjoyong life out here. no more sticker stories! thi subject has been exhausted. go have some fun!

  29. admin

    Don’t worry about me… there has been a stream of top-notch content about life out here in West Texas since this debate has started. Also, I encourage criticism and feedback. I will be going to Marfa today to remove the stickers from the COC bulletin board.

  30. farley

    You should have stopped with your first and third sentence. Those sentiments I do agree with but I do know Sterry and Joni and they are not people I would characterize as “up tight”.

    However, having seen a sticker outside the post office on a municipal light pole that I don’t think is lit at night: I have no problem with them. Publicize this site, it is useful.

  31. farley

    final comment: My recommendation is yes, they are trashy especially those outside post office. yep, give em out at farm stand. vote no

  32. admin

    That brings us up to four votes. I’ll remove the one from the Chamber of Commerce bulletin board. Passing them out at farm stand is a good idea.

  33. MarfaSon

    Please clean up the Chamber of Commerce bulletin board. You said on the 4th you would do it. Then you said on the 8th that you would do it when you came over to cover the opening of the Corner Stores. That opening has come and gone. Then you said on the 14th you would do it the “next time” you are over here. It’s been weeks, asshole!

  34. anony

    Okay, now I am offended by “Marfason”s comments. Can I put in a vote for him to remove them, please? This is a public forum, is it not? At least your stickers were respectful, which is more than anyone can say for that sorry dude.

  35. Ben T. Shepperd

    Coming in a little late on this debate. I think the stickers are a great marketing tool, kudos to Andrew. However, I can see how folks would get bent out of shape over the method. The success could spawn copycat advertisers, and that really would make for an ugly scene. A word to the wise, when you use profanity in a public forum, you lose ALL credibility. If you can’t hold yourself together in front of a computer no one will take you seriously.

  36. Ron Moore

    I have been following “sticker-gate” for a while now, and didn’t comment. But today I watched the video you posted and I have to say that your sarcasm shows you are not taking this discussion seriously. Let me make a couple things clear:

    1) That Exxon sign you sarcastically complained about is on private property. You want a sign like that? Then get the proper zoning from the city for your property and put one up.

    2) That Marfa Glider sign is put up because the people of Marfa elect officials who then hire people or form committees to decide what kind of events should be advertised. Don’t like the Glider signs? Complain to the city and get the rule changed.

    3) By your own video, you show that the stickers will never come off completely, and so you have committed vandalism of private property! Even the flyers stuck with packing tape to the light poles will come off in the rain! Your stickers leave a residue that ruins someone elses property!

    What you don’t seem to understand is that you have no right to cover-up, destroy or post your ideas/product wherever you wish just because you want to. You either get permission, or you build you own on your own space. It doesn’t matter how valuable you think the information is. It could be for breast cancer, anti-war or for the Republicans. Either way, it doesn’t make a difference. You have no right to ruin the property of others – especially for your own personally gain.

    I vote NO!

  37. admin (a.k.a sticker demon)

    Hall Monitor Ron, you make very good points. Let me address them:

    1) Although the Exxon sign is on private property, it affects a public good– the view of our beautiful West Texas landscape. Private property is a fluid notion; I lived in Williamsburg VA, an all-American city where that sign would not be allowed— despite its being displayed on private property. Any nuanced discussion of property rights has to weigh public and private utility.

    2) My criticism of the Marfa Glider sign is that it is irrelevant information— the event won’t happen for another fifty weeks. If the people of Marfa want to advertise an event taking place fifty weeks from now, they need their heads examined.

    3) In my video I am simultaneously shooting video and scraping. When I placed the camera down, I successfully scraped the sticker off by using both hands.

    My point is simple; you criticize me because I am the little guy, not one of these corporate fatcats who is ruining the world. I am easy to pick on. I’m just a slob in front of a computer screen— I’ve never donated money to a PAC or bribed a judge. Get on your high horse and throw a hissy fit… but please, remove the beam from your eye before you examine the mote in mine.

    I could be wrong posting those stickers there on that particular piece of PUBLIC PROPERTY (I’m guessing actually owned by the Federal Government and lent informally to the Chamber by some sweetheart deal lost to the annals of time). Really, you’re just assuming that that is private property– do your homework and show me a deed. The Chamber of Commerce probably has no actual legal power to exclude people from that bulletin board.

    But what about on the light poles? Or on a pay phone? Are you so brainwashed by the industrial culture that has ruined the world that a sticker on a piece of steel sticking out of the ground seems like a mortal sin?

    I’M CLOSING THE VOTING!!! We have a total of four votes after a month. If you felt so strongly about this, you would have cheated and re-submitted more votes… you’re apathetic and disrespectful so I will place my sticker on any piece of PUBLIC PROPERTY I please. LIGHT POLES, PAY PHONES, UTILITY BOXES, ETC.

    MUAH HAH HAH!!! Only the Comptroller General of the State Utility Board or one of his duly-appointed agents can stop me now!