If you scanned the public service announcements in your subway car this morning—and happened to be adequately caffeinated—you might have noticed something slightly off. There’s Melissa C., of small-time “See Something, Say Something” fame, with her gold hoops and salmon-pink hoodie. She’s smiling next to the familiar MTA logo, but her message isn’t just about reporting a suspicious bag on the platform and feeling heroic.
“I felt like a hero reporting what I saw,” her quote reads. “But what scares me more than an unattended package is an unattended politician. We have to keep an eye on how our representatives vote and hold them accountable.”
In place of “Take a moment to alert a police officer or MTA employee,” the sign reads, “Call your elected officials and make yourself heard.” Next to the actual MTA help line (888-NYC-SAFE), there’s a tiny #RESIST.
The subversive fake posters were installed on two subway cars overnight—that’s two cars across the entire system—mingling with original posters from the MTA’s March 2016 campaign. Gothamist spoke with the person who conceived and installed them on the condition of anonymity. The artist also asked that the train lines be withheld, in the hopes that the MTA won’t track them down immediately and remove them.
The concept, he said, is to encourage people to say something when they see something unsettling coming out of government.
“I think it’s great that they are doing the See Something Say Something campaign. I don’t think it’s Orwellian, and I think it’s responsible to be vigilant,” he said. “But given the state of the world that we’re in, I wanted to do something that took that conversation and elevated it so that people could be vigilant beyond what’s directly in front of their eyes.”
“Yes, terrorism is a real issue,” he added. “But aren’t the behaviors of our government… and these ideas of how the media is straying into fake news, aren’t all of these things contributing to an atmosphere that makes us more unsafe, that gives rise to terrorism, that makes us panic?”
The full story, and all the re-worked posters can be seen at The Gothamist. Way to go, New York!