Putting words (idiots) in the mouths of the candidates for mayor of New York

A few months ago, a series of mayoral campaign posters began popping up in New York City subway cars and stuck on streetlights. Something in the ads seemed out of place (one for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams promised, “I’ve been beaten by the cops. Now you can be too”), but the campaign too. The Republican candidate, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, once referred to himself as “a hemorrhoid in a red beret”. As for Adams, the Democratic candidate, no one knows where he lives; he is said to be wading around Borough Hall, where he keeps a mattress, in his socks. Fake news, real news, who can follow? A Bronx newspaper identified the bizarre posters as Sliwa’s guerrilla operation. One of Sliwa’s ersatz advertising: “Marxist Democratic voles want the light in your teeth. . . . Vote for me. “Maybe. Or maybe the work of Putin’s agents? Black money misinformation?

“Rather, what if Banksy was a jerk?” Dennard Dayle said the other day. Dayle is a slightly cheesy, thirty-year-old Bay Ridge writer who shies away from acts of civic discontent. Recent pranks include fake posters for the MTA (A-train-service-change notice: “Please let me die”); an MFT, or Marx Fungible Token, a digital painting by Karl Marx sold for one hundred and ten dollars; and a confection Covid-a penny convention called SpreadCon, featuring chocolate-coated doorknobs and a sneeze contest. (Dayle recently quit her job as a copywriter after selling a satire book called “Everything Abridged.” It was also featured in this magazine.)

During the primary he was inundated with mailer candidates. “I had one that said, ‘Bathed in the cops, I got it,’” he said – from the Adams campaign. “I was, like, okay, I can’t not do this. After his parody of Adams, he continued:

Ray McGuire: “The black one? White? You’re still poor. Shut your mouth. “

Diane Morales: “For every vote I lose, an intern dies. Your choice.”

He printed thousands of copies and plastered them across town. He noticed parallels between his job and the mayoral race – great stories told, characters made. “I’m very interested in people who can pull off hoaxes on a large scale, and how that’s kind of a creative thing in itself,” he said. A month ago, for example, Sliwa orchestrated a photoshoot in which he slipped under a car and falsely claimed to have found a murder weapon. Adams blamed the missing tax returns on an intermittently homeless accountant he kept at his job out of charity. “Creatively you could say they came from a place very similar to mine,” Dayle said. “I would say I’m better than Sliwa, and I’m very afraid Adams is better than me.”

One day last week, Dayle designed a new batch of posters and took to the subway. He wore all black and displayed his work with practiced nonchalance.

Would the Horsemen know the hoax from reality? Once, as a train was leaving the station, a construction worker studied a fake poster of Sliwa. The big letters read “THE FAKE IDOL IS BROKEN.Underneath: “The weaver of lies has woven his lies, and I have unraveled them. . . . Now our city wears the beret of truth. The man nodded vigorously. “I like the way he talks!” he said.

Photograph courtesy of Dennard Dayle

On the L train, a passenger endorsed another fake Sliwa ad that read “Do not abandon. Don’t let them win. (“Them” are blacks.) “The horseman said, cryptically,”They want to confuse you. One woman perused an ad with the tagline “It’s time to fight for a bigger, safer and more diverse portfolio for every Eric Adams.” Together. “” I like it, she said. “That tells me he’s an ordinary man.” She leaned closer, narrowing her eyes, “Wait…”

Dayle went out for some fresh air. In Union Square, he handed several posters to a stranger wearing a smiling tie. The man tore up the Adams ad and a Blasio farewell poster (“I’m free! Look at the sun, it’s beautiful“). “I’ll keep that one,” he said tenderly of the Sliwa announcement. Dayle thanked him for the comments.

A few minutes later, the man reported Dayle. “Can I take this test again?” ” he said. “He’s a fucking genius!”

Dayle straightened up. The man intended to vote for Sliwa, but the parody of Sliwa (“’Them’ are blacks”) made him think. He wanted to hear what Dayle, who is Black, was thinking.

“My long-term impression: Guardian angels create these race-tinged crime stories,” Dayle said. “But I’m glad you liked the art.”

“I was a BLM guy before they lost their mind, I was walking around in a Kaepernick jersey,” the man replied. “My best friend is a black dude, and he taught me a lot about running in America. . . but — how can I say that? I think we won the racing battle in New York. I think in other parts of the country it’s a problem. He continued: “In New York, maybe is there still racism with the cops? But BLM has done such a number on the cops.

The man offered a hug. Dayle suggested a punch. “It was crazy,” he said, when the man left. “It’s a demonstration of all that power comedy has and doesn’t have.” ??

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