“I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums”. – Steven Wright
Looks like it’s a dangerous time to be a statue. And we’re not just talking about the pigeons. There seem to be lots of angry people wandering about attacking statues they don’t like. Statues are usually put up by committees made up of people with lots of time and money on their hands. You’d think it would also be committees knocking them down too, but instead it’s mobs. They too seem to have time on their hands and enough money to afford pallets of bricks and shiny new hammers and crowbars. However unemployable they appear, they have managed to develop certain demolition skills.
The only statues we’re familiar with are the ones we used to pass going to Oakland. Near Phipps, there’s Robert Burns who looks pretty spiffy in his tam. You might recognize him as the Scottish poet who wrote the New Year’s Eve song, “Auld Lang Syne” We don’t know what it means either, but it always makes more sense after you’ve had a few jolts.
Once, when we were in school, we had to recite a different poem by him, entitled, “To A Mouse” The opening lines went,
“Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!”
So, we obviously had good reason to take a sledgehammer to Robbie Burns’s statue, but, being a reasonable fellow of temperate nature, we let it go. If more people had been forced to recite that poem in front of the entire football team, however, we think we could have rounded up a pretty decent sized mob.
The other thing about the Robert Burns statue is that there’s a plow and some sort of vegetation behind him, or rather statues of vegetation and we think it must be that stuff that Jack Nicklaus drove into at the British open, called “gorse.”
Many years ago, we were goofing off, er, rather, home sick one day and watching a qualifying round. The Golden Bear sliced one just like we always do, and it went into some brambly stuff. Five minutes later, when they still hadn’t found it, it was penalty time. Re-tee, hit three. First time it ever happened to him in tournament play. Yeah, remember when there was live sports on TV? That was awesome. Where were we? Oh yeah, statues.
There’s another one in that neighborhood honoring the ancient Greek goddess Hygeia. A bunch of doctors put it up. The word “hygiene” comes from her name, so she should be like the patron saint of hand washing, right? We mean if you were Greek. And ancient. They should put a stone mask on her too, and maybe give her a stone jug of hand sanitizer.
The other statues we’re familiar with are at the Carnegie Music Hall: Shakespeare and Bach. We don’t know why anyone would hold a grudge against them. There may be the odd harpsichordist still steamed at Bach about the Goldberg Variations. Harpsichordists as a group aren’t known for vandalism, though. Anyway, someone always seems to bubble-gum a cigarette into one or both of their mouths. Take a look next time you drive by.
We think the mob of earnest suburban art-history majors should take a lesson from this. You don’t need to scrape your little pink knuckles working with those tools and ropes. Just make fun of the statues that offend your sensibilities. Put a funny hat on Columbus or a mustache on General Grant. Maybe that should be the other way around, but either way, it’s a lot more fun and a lot less work. (Also, although we’re aware of how sensitive you are, we need to be quite honest here: you’re really starting to get on our nerves).
Hey, I wonder what Burns would look like with a Hitler mustache? Or puffing on a White Owl?