Smith Journal - - Smith Stuff -

Once upon a time, it wasn’t just le­git­i­mate busi­ness­men who wielded busi­ness cards; gang mem­bers did too. Thee Almighty & In­sane is a photo book con­tain­ing 60 ‘com­pli­ment cards’ used by Chicago gangs in the ’70s and ’80s. Com­piled by ur­ban his­to­rian Bran­don John­son, they’re cap­ti­vat­ing de­sign ob­jects with com­plex vis­ual sym­bol­o­gies in­di­cat­ing a gang’s turf, hon­our­ing their fallen and dis­play­ing an over­whelm­ing pref­er­ence for black­let­ter type. Many also sport a flair for copy­writ­ing. (“Sworn to fun loyal to none” is as po­tent a scrap of brand­ing as you’re likely to find.) Sure, there’s real crim­i­nal­ity and racism to be found in these cards, but they also en­com­pass groups closer to so­cial clubs. Patrick Bate­man would be suit­ably chas­tened by any of them. theealmightyandin­ KD

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