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Devil may care 

For a month now, 100 bright blue signs looming over boulevards and service drives in Detroit have become even more ubiquitous than Faygo's "313" billboard campaign. The ads are glaring pieces of propaganda urging voters to consider a conservative choice in the upcoming gubernatorial election: "DeVos for Governor: Enough is Enough: Vote for Change."

But if you've recently cruised west on Gratiot Avenue, near Eastern Market, or traveled east on Michigan Avenue in Corktown, you may not have gotten the message. Some local "culture jammers" are dead set against Dick and have taken a hands-on approach to activism against the Republican candidate, commandeering the signs by strategically changing words to read: "Devil for Governor: Enough is Enough. Vote for Satan."

This is no Detroit-style Devil's Night prank. Maria Miller, assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County, says, "If people are witnessing this or aware of it, they need to bring it to the attention of the police. There are appropriate laws to punish those that deface signs." Under Michigan law, it's considered malicious destruction of personal property, with penalties from a 90-day misdemeanor to a 5-year felony. Still, it's impressive. Have you ever climbed one of those things? They're big. That's a lot of sarcasm.

Dick's camp doesn't seem deterred. John Truscott, communications director for DeVos' campaign, says, "We know this stuff happens. It's par for the course." He adds that the billboard company is responsible for damage control. Getting the message out is even more crucial right now, as the race draws to a close. The words of the defacers have already garnered glances and guffaws of thousands of motorists who drive the city streets daily, some appreciating, if not the sentiment, at least the audacity and prowess that went into the statement.

Rebecca Mazzei is Metro Times arts editor. Send comments to

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October 21, 2020

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