TOMMY GRAHAM – PRINT RELEASE
Flinshire County Council’s Motto on their crest of arms reads “The Best Shield is Justice.”
Urban Artist Tommy Graham releases an artwork with us based on Mr Council’s motto, called “The Shield of Justice“ and explains his thoughts about that…
“According to the motto of Flintshire County Council, “The Best Shield, Is Justice”. Justice is apparently the single finest tool available when trying to shield yourself from… something. It doesn’t say what. Ambiguity is ever the friend of the motto. Take for example Nike’s “Just Do It” (it doesn’t say what it is) or Burger Kings “Have It Your Way” (which I always think should be preceded by “Fine,” and followed by “Knob head.”) or in this case “The Best Shield Is Justice”. Mottos are vague things generally.
It’s not true of course. The best shield is not justice. Nope. Not even close. No, the best shield is – in fact – a shield. A type of personal armour, meant to intercept attacks either by stopping a projectile or redirecting a hit from a sword or a mace or some other such unpleasant stabby/smashy thing. That’s what it says on wikipedia anyway, sort of. The best type of shield, is a very big shield. Preferably made of something lightweight and durable.
Gladiators used shields made of Iron. Knights in medieval times liked shields made of steel and peasants tears. These types of shields are fantastically useful when someone’s swinging a flail or a club at you, as they have a tendency of stopping you having your face caved in. Which can be a wholly unpleasant experience if you’re not used to it. Shields are excellent when trying to avoid the inevitable drawback of blunt force trauma. I’m going on record now as saying that no one, when faced with some charging lunatic swinging a battle axe, would rely on justice as a means of keeping hold of all their limbs. Not twice anyway.
The main drawback of justice as a shield, as far as i can tell, is that justice is an abstract concept. And as such, does little to dissuade physical objects from their intended target. This doesn’t just apply to justice of course. Most abstract concepts are rubbish at raining on momentums parade. This is why no one has ever stubbed their toe on deja vu, or slammed their car head long into a calorie controlled diet. Justice as a shield, is -I would argue- cack.
There’s a concept of justice that gets banded around now-a-days, of ‘universal justice’. ‘Karma’ some people call it, when they want to oversimplify a concept in hinduism, or reference a T.V show that used to be on channel 4 starring Jason Lee and the fat guy from ‘American History X’. The basic principle, as its used today is that if you do pleasant, generally lovely things, all kinds of squishy huggy lovely goodness will come back to you. But should you feel the need to act like an arsehole, then watch out, because all manner of horrible and unpleasant things will befall you, and on your own head be it. And thus balance and universal justice is maintained. The problem with this of course, is it’s complete bollocks. Terrible things are constantly happening to good people, while some of the most odious shit bags to ever walk the planet spend their time laughing, quaffing virgins blood and generally rolling around in the fruits of others misery. I imagine. Something like that anyway. My point is that this is not at all how the world works.
“But I eat a strictly vegan diet” pleads the Antelope.
“Sorry mate, I don’t speak dear” replies the Tiger. Most likely followed by “Nom nom nom nom”.
Again in this case, the best shield is not justice.
BUT Flintshire County Council maybe didn’t have literal shields or universal justice in mind when they wrote their motto. No, they were probably speaking in metaphor. Now, metaphorical shields are exactly as effective as abstract concepts when in comes to keeping your cranium fracture free. By which, I mean that they aren’t. But, it works in regards to that whole shield/justice thing, semantically at least. So the best metaphorical shield in regards to injustice, is in fact justice. In this instance the best shield is justice. Ok, thats fine. Except… its not, again. Because for this to be true we would have to believe that the concept of ‘Justice’, at least in a legal sense, is infallible. It has to be infallible, otherwise it isn’t the best shield. I didn’t make the rules here dear reader, so don’t think me a pedant at this point. This isn’t my fault, this is the real world getting in the way again. Bloody real world, it’s forever doing that, have you noticed? Anyway…
The problem is, that justice as a concept is subjective. And tricky. And malleable, if you’ve got the money, or the influence or the sheer downright where with all to find the legal loopholes or skeletons in the right persons cupboard or… something. I dunno. I’m basing this largely on films I’ve seen and Grand Theft Auto, so don’t take this for gospel. But look, there’s loads of examples of supposed ‘justice’ thats anything but. Lets not kid ourselves. I should probably site examples, but instead I’ll use a different tact, are you ready? Ok, watch. Here’s a question for you, have you ever heard the term ‘a miscarriage of justice’? You have? Good. Well there you are then. We’re all familiar with the term and so I’m assuming we’re all familiar with what it means. Now, there are loads of reasons why a miscarriage of justice can occur, nepotism, bureaucracy, them pesky legal loop holes or whatever, like i said, I’m largely basing this on video games and stuff. My point is that given the right set of circumstances, the legal system or ‘Justice’ is as fallible and clunky as any other institution run by human beings. Little pudgy funsters of self interest that we are. So even in metaphor the best shield is not justice.
From what I understand Flintshire County Councils approach to the Duke of Lancaster, some might say their motto should be “The best shield is irrelevant, fuck you and the ship you rode in on”, or the “The Best shield is… we bloody hate your ship, we do”. Or perhaps they could forgo the the shield bit entirely and instead opt for simply “Skeletor, he had the right idea.” But that last one would be difficult to translate into latin.
In conclusion, I would suggest that a better motto would be “the best shield is money, connections and a favourable set of circumstances, based around the inherently flawed nature all human beings”. Or “the best shield is some sort of durable and lightweight carbon nano tube/kevlar polymer”. I Know neither of these suggestions scan very well, but they’re both better than Justice. Because the best shield is not Justice.”
To buy “The Shield of Justice” Artwork by Tommy Graham click here
- Limited to 50 only
- Hand-signed by Tommy Graham
- High Quality 280gsm Canvas
- 26″ wide x 30″ high (inches)
- Professionally Mounted on 1.5″ stretcher bars
- Ready to Hang
Click here for the Tommy Graham Art website