Caves, Killory, and Cool Disco Dan

cool disco dan
cool disco dan

Sometimes ideas can take on lives of their own, becoming transmittable memes, replicating themselves in a bewildering array of permutations.

So, when I was in high school, as a young tagger, my buddies and I all wondered “Who is Cool Disco Dan?”

Cool Disco Dan, whose name could be seen stretched along buildings, warehouses, signs, all along the Red Line. A name without a face. Cool Disco Dan’s tag could be seen stretching throughout the east coast, in 1996 I even saw a Cool Disco Dan tag in England, yes in London. Now it’s highly likely other people had caught the Disco Dan craze, and were effacing their own individuality by becoming propagators of another identity.

Perhaps there is something liberating in this, after all whoever Cool disco Dan originally was, the individual himself was a cipher, subsumed in a meta-identity that could and did exist beyond the flesh and blood. In this sense Cool Disco Dan could be a collective identity, a shirt worn by many, not just nationwide, but worldwide (I mean, if I saw Cool Disco Dan tags in London of all places then who knows what other places bore his tag)

I just discovered that there is now, actually a Cool Disco Dan website – quite obviously enough at

There is also a documentary in the works.

Somehow this takes the mystery out of it, but it does place it into history. One of the byways of history, of course, but in history all the same. At the same time it removes the collective aspect of the Cool Disco Dan identity. One of the things about Cool Disco Dan was that while it was an identity, of a man, named Dan, who likes to tag buildings however he can, there was a diffuse nature. Any imposter could slip into the tag of Dan. But would it be an imposter? Is it possible that Cool Disco Dan was larger than the man, Dan, who was Cool Disco Dan?

The old Killroy Was Here meme after World War II was similar, except far more profound in its social impact. It has evolved, as a creature in the wild, spawning children and grandchildren who somehow resemble the original killroy, but with their own unique traits, as every good child should. In some cases you see an echo of the original inspiration, taken up by, owned by, people with no memory or knowledge of the original Killroy.

Beauty Hides
Beauty Hides

I like this one, done by a local beauty, hidden in an out of the way spot in Cincinnati.

Obviously a daughter of Killroy, she has her daddy’s head, and his sense of wonder.

Sometimes it’s the little things that serve to nudge you out of your daily waking hallucination, that make you pause for a moment, and return to right here, right now, with all of its nuances. The peeling paint on the bricks, the smell of dirt and leaves on the air, the way the sun shadow casts a web of darkness across the building, flowing into the mortar joints, rippling across the textured surface. It’s possible to be quite pretentious about Graffiti art, a stilted thing, the fact that theorists actually write about something that’s such a natural outburst of human creativity. A manifestation of a human desire to leave our mark on something, something that may be noticed years, or even centuries after our passing.

Graffiti is one of the most ancient forms of human expression, from tens of thousands of years old cave paintings and scratchings, to  thousands of years old desert carvings in ancient now lost dialects of Arabic, to political cartoons scratched by bemused Romans in Pompeii 2000 years ago. The Romans, it seems, were rather prolific in their graffiti, if entombed city of Pompeii  reflects things. Some amusing  Graffiti from Pompeii includes service descriptions and the address of a very much in demand prostitute, and a rather angry ode to love along the lines of “..Whoever loves, go to hell. I want to break Venus’s ribs.. If she can break my tender heart, why can’t I hit her over the head?”

Indeed, it seems that the human heart has always been what it is, how many of us sometimes wish we could smash love itself in the face, now and then? I guess broken hearts are nothing new.

Someday scholars 1000 years from now will come across the rock scribblings of backpackers in the woods of Kentucky, they will examine sharpie marker inscriptions and with serious, drawn faces, pontificate on the social significance of lovers now long dead, their bodies dust, and nothing physical left on the earth to reflect their passage except a few words drawn in a sharpie marker, on a rock outcropping wall. Perhaps then men will wonder about us, how we thought and felt, what we experienced. Perhaps the will come to the conclusions that we were vastly similar to them, and also vastly different.

Much like those we look at, who now are dust, but whose scribblings are studied with much serious concentration, by our learned doctors and scholars.


6 Comment

  1. Why Desi Guys Suck says:

    I don’t know what a “nice guy” like you is doing frequenting PUA and game sites, but since you are, check out the latest posted by East Indian Munnubhai, The Fifth Horseman, TFH, over at Obsidian’s blog:

    Yes. I have about 20 biological kids. I just don’t know who they are, unless/until they contact me many years from now.

    The first bank I went to was in Palo Alto, and this was mostly before my practice of Game.

    The second bank, much more recently, was in Berkeley.

    Now here is the funny part :

    I am sure you are aware that in many forms before the year 2005, under ‘race/ethnicity’, there was never an ‘East Indian’ option. The only two options of relevance were :

    a) White/Caucasian
    b) Asian

    Now, I know by Asian, they meant ‘East Asian’, and so there is no category for an Indian, Persian, or Arab specifically dedicated to them. If the other had said ‘White’ only, I would have not ticked that off, but the ‘White/Caucasian’ category would necessarily have to include Arab, Persian, and Indian people.

    Hence, I ticked that box off.

    So if a woman is going there for a sperm sample, I would be lumped in among the white guys too. Her baby would thus grow up to be a little bit darker than she is expecting, but not obviously so.

    (and the HBD/anti-miscegenation crowd just had a vein-popping stroke…)

    1. DESIS ARE NOT CAUCASIAN!!!!! They are closer to Africans than Caucasians. Yet he tried to pass off as a “caucasian” at the sperm banks!

    He needed to just mark the correct one, which is “Asian”, as Desis are South Asian.

    This guy has an inferiority complex born from self-hate (can I blame him?) and probably spent his entire life thinking like the Chinese and Indian dudes in this video:

    2. Every other Desi guy on this planet has managed to get himself married (thanks to the arranged marriage system ONLY), so if you are as old as TFH and STILL not married, that means something is REALLY wrong with you, coz in the Indian arranged marriage system, even the worst guys’ Mommies are able to get them married off.

    But his Mom was unable to manage that and now the dude is reduced to spreading his seed in sperm banks????

    Freak of nature!

    …………..Kamal, my advice to you, avoid these guys and their blogs like the plague, lest you end up like them.

  2. Why I frequent certain sites and blogs?

    1. They amuse me.

    Originally a lot of sites and blogs were research fodder for a book I was working on about sexuality and gender in modern America. My book was inspired by reflections on my own relationships, what I saw in many of my friends and their relationships, and reflections on some of my discussions and correspondence with this guy and his book Shadow of the Rose: The Esoterism of the Romantic Tradition

    He shared an epic poem with me, called the War of Love. It’s one of his life’s work. He also sharply criticized some of my poetry and it inspired me to reflect more and put to pen many things I’ve meditated on, about my own relationships with others on all levels, family, friendship, romantic, about my father, about my male friends, and especially about my female friends.

    As I meditated on these themes it became clear to me that one of the most profound problems facing the English speaking West is the crisis of love. It is a civilization that has, in some ways, forgotten what love really means, or at least is very confused about it. From all of this a book gradually grew, that I’m still polishing. My meanderings along the web in many halls is related to this. But at this point, many web sites entertain me.

    2. My meanderings along HBD corners is connected to, and grew out of, other research into eugenics, and social approval of coercive population control, and the social construction of racial narratives largely based along certain fears. You mention miscegenation, there are others.

    3. I regard myself as a cultural commentator and trend spotter, I also frequent radical feminist and lesbian blogs, white power neo-Nazi ones, Wahabi Islamist ones, and Green radical eco-anarchist ones. I also used to haunt anarcho-capitalist Libertarian forums… but they are a dry and boring sort.

    4. TFH is probably an ABCD. I’ve noticed that inferiority complex. It never fails to astonish me, the East, and India in particular, gave the British tea, the world’s best weaving, elite Gurkhas, and some other nifty things. The British left the East with inefficient parliamentary procedures, asinine bureaucracy, and an obsession with some of the most plain women in the world

    5. More on my take on the HBD stuff later, for now I’m tired.

    6. Thank you for your concern.
    I enjoy looking into corners of culture or society that most people shun, without knowing what one’s choices are, and what others have chosen, one can remain innocent and uninformed, but not truly understanding.

    I have always yearned to understand, everything that I can, as thoroughly as I can.
    I don’t really claim to be “nice” much of what people are wont to think of as “nice” is simple habitual meekness and passive aggressiveness.

    I try to live with a sense of integrity and compassion, I am kind to others, and when they return the favor I appreciate it, when they do not I move on. I slip, I stumble, I fall, I stand up, and I keep walking. A man’s life, at the end of things, is more measured by the direction in which we was heading, and less in the times he stopped, backtracked, or rested. I seek fairness, justice, compassion, and the good. Being nice to others when they deserve it is part of this.

    I used to like to think of myself as ” a nice guy” but this was a bit of an illusion, in reality I was a bit of a butthole and too afraid to admit it. Once I was forced to realize this about myself, that I could be selfish, immature, narcissistic, profligate, asinine, but also kind, loving, considerate, giving, and compassionate, that I could be both, either or, and it was a choice to choose a sound course of action and not just let fate take me where I thought it was taking me, this was a liberating thing.

    It was the lifting of one, of many, veils of delusion. There are several more, doubtless. Life very well could be the process of lifting such veils and increasingly seeing things as they truly are.

  3. Desi Men Suck says:

    “…..and an obsession with some of the most plain women in the world”

    …you mean Bollywood stars?

  4. No, I mean certain Britishers and Anglo-Americans.

    I like many things about the English, but those women, after whom certain men, around the world, lust, are probably among the most plain..

    I’ve known certain men with obsessions for women who, while not without their own unique charm and beauty, were not quite – to my eyes anyway – what some guys tried to make them out to be.

    All women have their own unique beauty, so perhaps these guys were simply noticing things that I don’t… maybe.

    Now an obsession with Bollywood stars makes more sense. Still unhealthy, as all obsessions are.

  5. Wow. That whole blog is funny. Interesting observations… I’m adding it to my reading list.

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