Up until now New York’s most famous literary son has been Holden Caulfield. However the privaleged protagonist of JD Salinger’s boring coming of age novel never hit up a million tags. In fact, regarding a million, Holden Caulfield believed that “you couldn’t rub out even half the ‘Fuck you’ signs” graffitied in that number of years. Well, the author of What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify? estimates, “through averages & fudging with time & math”, that the eponymous tagger of the title has put up a million of his own fuck you’s in just thirty years!
Like Holden Caulfield the nameless narrator of What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify? hasn’t reached a million either. But he isn’t a phony, he recognises JA as the defining statement of his generation’s New York. The book, by Dumar Novy, is a monograph on the tag ‘Ja’ and the academic discipline of ‘Jaism’ that it has now spawned. I read it as almost a parody of intellectualism that delves into race, religion, gentrification, the police, Darwinism, genocide, philosophy, capitalism, and bum sex.Continue reading