Editor: We received this Reader Rant from Peace Rocker – one of the folks responsible for the original peace sign up on “Peace Rock” – the large, protruding rocky sentinel that juts out of the Pacific Ocean just south of where Froude Street runs into Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
by Peace Rocker
I was discouraged almost two years ago when the Peace Sign was stolen in the middle of the night. Perhaps, I thought, the thief chose (wrongly!) to see the sign as a political statement, rather than as a simple and eternal prayer for “peace on earth, good will towards all.” Or maybe , the thief was a local hippie who wanted (selfishly!) just to have the sign as a personal trophy, or maybe it was a mercenary who wanted (obscenely) just to sell the sign — created at a cost of over $5,000 — at some swap meet or garage sale. Or maybe the thief was some self-appointed “conservationist” who just objected to ANYONE using that rock as a platform for ANY expression.
No matter, I thought. The Peace sign had a good run. Many people found solace and beauty in it. Thousands of locals, and thousands of tourists, took their pictures with it; and the pictures will be eternal on bookshelves all over the community and all over the world. Those of us who loved it will never forget it. And, of course, the Peace Rockers got something like the “last word” when, a year later, we erected a permanent, sanctioned sign in the heart of Ocean Beach on Newport Avenue, atop the International Hostel, where it sits so beautifully against the blue sky, and then lights up every night, and where it has already become an accepted part of our special Ocean Beach history and culture.
The rock, of course, sat empty for many months, and every day when I ran past it, I was expectant for some “next” installation to keep the unique, local tradition alive. Thus I was gladdened a week or so ago to see that the senior class at Point Loma High School had taken the initiative, had shown great creativity, and had installed their own simple but elegant “2010” sign. I read that they attached it with steel rods, and that they hoped it would survive the weather at least until their graduation in June of 2010. I saluted them and hoped their effort would meet with acceptance and success.
What a bummer then to see that some local vigilante — the same thief who stole the Peace sign? — removed the 2010 sign within a week of its appearance. Surely, no one thought that “2010” was too POLITICAL. No one could have been OFFENDED by such a simple show of local class spirit. And no one could have thought the sign ostentatious or divisive in any way. Thus, it occurs to me, the thief must be some local Grump-Head, a Killjoy who was determined to send his (or her, or their) own message to any aspiring guerrilla artist: KEEP OFF.
Well, “Bah Humbug” to you. This is a tradition that has survived in Ocean Beach for DECADES. In my 30 years in the neighborhood, there have been only six or seven installations (including, at least, a Christmas Tree; a toilet; a crab; a Pterodactyl; a Tiki Man; and, of course, the Peace sign). Each has been a creative expression of our unique community, each has been FUN, and each has been, in the scheme of things, very TEMPORARY. There is no accurate way to poll this question, but I bet that, if asked, fully 70% of the community would say they enjoy the tradition of occasional guerrilla installations. So to you who feel compelled to spoil the fun of the majority, and in this case to dampen the spirits of high school seniors, I say, hey, thanks for making Ocean Beach a little more homogeneous, but a little less perfect.