August 8, 2009


Hartford has had electronic billboards for a long time. I don’t drive that way often so I’ve been spared them for the most part. When I do have to pass them, I find them incredibly distracting – and annoying. In the past several months, one has gone up in the path of my daily commute. It is situated ahead of a curve in the road. You come around the curve and there it is, right in front of you. The colors are garish and over-bright; the display flips from one message to another in a way that demands attention; and the whole thing is ugly.

There are laws about littering on the highway, and people get fined for throwing out trash and polluting the landscape. How is this any different? It is a form a visual litter that pollutes the view. I suppose from an advertising standpoint, it is just perfect – unavoidable, in your face, seen by thousands each hour. But it seems to me another way that our society of excess consumerism intrudes on what little peace and quiet is left in one’s line of sight.

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