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A poster ribbing ARLnow commenters won a ribbon at the Arlington County Fair

A poster poking fun at the ARLnow commentariat won an award at the Arlington County Fair last week.

In white, upper case letters on a purple background, it reads, “You’ll see me in hell before you’ll see me in the ARLnow comments.”

ARLnow caught up with the creator ribbing the denizens of the comment section — who can be helpful, amusing and pugnacious, all in the course of a Monday morning — and he said the poster is a friendly jab.

“It’s true I don’t play pickleball but I do read ARLnow (subscribe actually) and I got nothing but love for the commenters,” he said.

The creator is also behind the volley of pro-pickleball posters in Penrose earlier this year: @ARLINGTONAF, who can be found on the platform X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, as well as Threads. His posters likening pickleball to the Cold War popped up all around Columbia Pike earlier this year.

The account owner, who goes by Mac, says fair attendees who stopped by his art display got a kick out of the poster.

“Lots of people stopped and laughed and took their phones out for that one,” he told ARLnow, adding that he liked seeing it resonate with people.

The poster also made the rounds on social media.

For @ARLINGTONAF, the joke comes from a good place. It inhabits the simultaneously sarcastic and genuine Arlington subculture — also seen in the ARLnow comment section — that can rib and lionize civic leaders and find the humor in debates over pickleball, gondolas, housing and bicycle trails.

“It’s like the Jay Fisette trail: if you have to have the joke explained, then obviously you didn’t get it,” he said. “But I’m pretty sure everybody in the ARLnow comments gets ‘their’ joke.”

For the uninitiated, the words “Jay Fisette Memorial Trail” were found spray-painted onto a dirt “desire path” on the east side of N. Carlin Springs Road, north of 1st Street N. In 2015, the majority of Arlington County Board members, including avid cyclist Fisette, voted against a proposal to pave what which Fisette then called a “cow path.”

Mac, who documents his bicycle rides through Arlington on social media, says he submitted several “random” posters he made but never hung. This includes a stylized portrait of former Board member Katie Cristol, with the caption, “Here for the housing, not the convention,” a nod to her focus on increasing housing, including Missing Middle-type dwellings.

A few months ago, he was asked to frame the ARLnow poster for an interested buyer. He did — using garbage he found on the Pike — but the buyer never came through. This ended up being a stroke of luck for the poster pundit.

“I got hit by a car a few weeks ago and didn’t actually get to make any art this year, but wanted to enter something,” he said, noting he is feeling better after the crash.

While the poster received a ribbon, Mac demurred from too much recognition, saying most of his submitted work has been recognized one way or another.

“This year, I just went with my own Arlington theme,” he said.

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