There will be no beating up of honor students in Silver Lake

The Silver Lake ad agency The Uprising Creative has used to the marquis on its Sunset Boulevard offices to promote its work or display random quotes from Bukowski and “Back To The Future,” said company co-founder Jeff Nicholas. “Sometimes we just like to poke fun at things with it,” he said.  This week, the phrase “We Beat Up Your Honor Student”  went up on the black-and-white sign.  “This particular sign was meant to be relatively self-deprecating, as well as a play on one of those white trash bumper stickers you find all over the country,” Nicholas said in an email.  But Silver Lake mom Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, whose child is an honor student, didn’t find the sign humorous at all.

“All my work with schools and students in Silver Lake lets me know that Silver Lake honors and celebrates smart students as much other communities celebrate jocks,” said Dowler-Guerrero, who is the co-founder of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Education Committee.   “This posting is not only stupid it is also not in line with the mind set of Silver Lake.”   After she complained, The Uprising Creative has  agreed to take the sign down.

Nicholas said his firms’ creative work frequently generated complaints from people who have been offended. But the Dowler-Guerrero’s complaint hit close to home:

 That said, having young children ourselves and living in the neighborhood, we are well aware of the issues that the magnet and charter schools face in the local school system with bullying and other similar situations.   This was in poor taste and a bad joke on our part, and we’re sorry.  We’ll be removing it today.


  1. yes, in some sub-cultures… being smart is stigmatized. Some kids are held back by this peer pressure.
    We need to celebrate kids who value and use their brains …
    Perhaps instead of trying to be edgy, the Uprising Creative should focus on being smart

    • In some sub-cultures? Completely in American culture. Our last president was elected because he, “seemed like a cool guy you could have a beer with,” as opposed to the real smart boring guy.

  2. I agree with your statement on honoring academic achievement, but I don’t think they were making fun of actual honor students, I think they were making fun of adults who have the ‘honor student’ bumper sticker on their cars. It’s one thing to be proud of your child, it’s another to fell you have to let every random stranger know. I’ve always felt those bumper stickers were a little obnoxious. Still, I could see how it could be misconstrued, and was probably a good idea to take it down.

  3. Dorit Gowler's Kid

    What a victory for Dorit! Sanitize the world!

  4. We can’t have a sense of humor anymore? This is clearly poking fun at the parents who put the “my kid is an honor student at…” on their cars. It’s funny. In no way is this inspiring someone to beat up a smart kid and if it is that person is an asshole. We shouldn’t sensor our humor for the minority who fuck it up for the rest.

  5. What a bunch of babies. Who cares…It’s their business let them say what they want.

    • Really Oldman? I’m not big on censorship either but promoting physical violence towards children on a billboard? Come on!

      Who will they target next week?

      • You are wrong, Ingrid. They are not advocating violence against children because the statement is coming from past tense. Maybe they are admitting fault? Maybe they’re coming from a place of profound regret? Is the honor student even a child? Regardless, if a billboard like this is hanging in your neighborhood, chances are it’s a safe one.

        • Thanks for that close reading of the billboard. If it hadn’t been for your thoughts, I would have just thought it was a snarky slogan echoing a snarky bumper sticker. So edgy and creative. Or wise and regretful? I get so confused.

          And you’ve got a great point, since my neighborhood is a safe one (“chances are”), I have no need to worry about kids getting beaten up in school because they are smart. That could not happen.

        • The statement “We beat up your honor student” isn’t necessarily in the past tense; it could also be interpreted as present tense.

          • Yah, but in present tense it just sounds Russian. Or German. European…. I must break you, honor student.

    • Funny, I consider myself more conservative (though registered independent).
      They can certainly say what they want. I’m not advocating censoring.
      By the same token, I can have an opinion about what they put out in the public space.
      My opinion is that their statement is stupid, and I don’t think they should put stuff like that on a public billboard.

  6. More bleeding heart liberals with no sense of humor ruining things.

    Even though culturally and politically I fall in line with the liberal mindset, this is a perfect example of why I will never label myself a liberal.

    I cannot support livin in a nerf layered world where everyone wins first place.

  7. Both sides of this argument have no real slab to stand on. The billboard isn’t funny regardless of its intent and is hopelessly attention getting. And the self righteous, overly concerned, new-agey silverlake parents need to let their kids wade in the mud a little so they can experience the difference between sarcasm and reality.

  8. New billboard suggestion: U Mad Bro?

  9. How about, “My honor student could beat up your jock, but he is smarter than that.”.
    It goes better with Calvin and Hobbes anyway.

  10. As always with these things, it would not be controversial if the joke worked.. The reason it’s controversial is that, because it’s not funny, the entire point of it seems obscure and vaguely unpleasant. Seeking notoriety via lame humor is a losing strategy; either make the joke a good one or leave the subject matter alone.

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