Enjoy breaking the law, defacing property and propaganda? You're USA Network "Character Approved!"

The USA Television Network recently unveiled their Character Approved Awards to, as they say, “honor these new titans of culture by highlighting their lives, their work, and their influence.  These are the Characters you look up to, the Characters you want to be, and the Characters you need to know.”

In particular, there were specific criteria the USA Network used to find their “Characters:”

* Cultural Impact of Honoree: Each honoree must be changing the cultural landscape of his or her field through innovation, creativity and ingenuity.
* Legacy of Honoree: Each honoree must be doing something that will change the face of his or her industry for future generations, whether by breaking records or breaking the mold.
* Persona of Honoree: Each honoree must be a character in his or her own right, with a distinct voice, personality and style.

It was no shock who the winner in the art category was:

Shepard Fairey. Yes, THAT Shepard Fairey. Swell, eh? What lessons does he have to teach us so he may truly live up to his “Character Approved” status?

You can watch the award video here (couldn’t embed it – sorry), or just check out these highlights:

“That’s why I’ve always felt that the public space is the best place for art. The argument that graffiti is an eyesore and that advertising is okay because it’s…it’s paid for…seems a little ridiculous to me.” (:22 in)

“Propaganda has a very sinister connotation but I think there is such a thing as positive propaganda.” (2:32 in)

“I’ve been doing street art for almost 20 years now and I’ve been arrested 14 times but I’m never going to stop because it is such an important component of what I do. I’ve climbed up 10 story water towers, up drain pipes on the outside of buildings, gone out on very skinny ledges. I love the adreneline rush. I feel absolutely free while I’m doing it and I love the challenge of doing something I’m not supposed to be doing and getting away with it.” (4:08 in)

And, of course, another “Character Approved” attribute of this stellar example of humanity is his use of a photo from the Associated Press to make his “Hope” poster, without permission. Never mind that when someone makes a poster mocking Fairey, he’ll be the first to sue them!

Let’s recap. According to the USA Network, defacing private property with graffiti is acceptable when it is innovative, creative, and original. Bringing about “change” through positive, rather than negative, propaganda, is ‘jus peachy. And committing criminal trespass offenses and getting arrested 14 times over 20 years is the kind of distinctive personality and style that is to be celebrated.

Oh, and using the photographic property of another is fine as long it is for Dear Leader.

Is it any wonder that USA Network is owned by General Electric, which also owns NBC, CNBC and…yup, the always balanced MSNBC.

Maybe next year USA Network will award someone who doesn’t believe criminal activity and property destruction are acceptable. And maybe pigs will fly, too.