Saturday, March 7, 2015

Graffiti Grammar Nazis in Quito

A small group in Quito who call themselves Accion Ortografica Quito (rough translation: Spelling Action Quito) is on a quest to correct the grammar and spelling errors that are rampant in the city's graffiti.
Since last November [the group has] been working to correct the spelling and grammatical errors of Quito’s graffiti artists. All three are anonymous (charges of
A successful mission.
vandalism in Quito can result in a fine and up to five days in jail ...) and they take stealth very seriously. Each operation begins with a reconnaissance mission to the scene of the grammatical crime, where one team member will take a picture of the offending work. Then, typically while sharing of beer (so much for “write drunk, edit sober”), they gather to debate the graffiti’s many grammatical failings: Where should the comma go? Is this letter supposed to be an “O” or an “A”? This can take a while — the team once found 13 mistakes in a simple, two-line message.
The final edit always happens after dark. Clad in hoodies and ski masks, they sneak out in pairs — one to act as lookout, one editor — to complete their operation. Because the three agentes are grammar nerds and not actual secret agents, these missions don’t always go according to plan. 
“The first time we went out and corrected something, I was on lookout and I was supposed to whistle if I saw something,” Ponto Final recalled in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “But the very first car that went by was a cop car, and all of a sudden I couldn’t whistle, so I yelled ‘caw caw’ instead.”
Read it all – it's fun.

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