Teddy Roosevelt, sculpted in butter for the St. Louis World’s Fair, 1904. LOC. Personally, I thought, ghee, a pretty good likeness.


[Second in my Monumental Series “Learning All About History by Looking at Statues”]

As you will recall, however regretfully, we began the series with the Father of Our Country, George Washington.

George was made for statues.

Statuesque since he was a lad.

Strikingly tall, striking a pose in almost countless statues, struck onto coins and then stuck into vending machines, stuck on letters as a stamp, stuck onto dollar bills, and also sometimes stuck on stumps, possibly of cherry trees.


Reenactor visiting Waterloo, NY for the Memorial Day commemoration.



Moving on, here we have a New Yorker, reproduced in numerous statues, and stuffed animals.

Governor, Soldier, President.

In the pictures above and below, “Theodore Roosevelt, Modeled in Butter”.

This was an exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, commonly called the St. Louis World’s Fair.







As I pondered this monument, done in a style called  baroque arteriosclerotic, a thought suddenly occurred to me.

And, man, that’s annoying.

How many times, have I told my brain, “Don’t do that!

A historian’s thinking process should be like a bank robbery – – “Don’t nobody make no sudden moves!

I hate it when random ideas pop up, like a deranged Whac-A-Mole game, and you just cannot pound them back in their hole with the hammer.  So I was dismayed to realize that Teddy’s  1904 butter sculpture for the St. Louis World’s Fair, had somehow brought up a new and timely topic – the removal of statues.

Well, my brain can go off wherever it wants — so long, good riddance, write if you get work — and I’ll go my own way.

But here’s a concept that could help with that debate over taking down monuments.

My plan, the Statue Statute, combines the oleaginous evasiveness of a politician, with the icy reasoning of a historian.


“He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.” Nietzsche


Chill out, dude.  It’s simple.  In future, we’ll make all our statues out of butter or ice. 

Stick ‘em in a refrigerated case —  and here’s a key concept – – fans of the statue have to pay the electric bill to keep things cool.

You can donate online, or by feeding change into a meter.

Way more hygienic than having the actual person there, like Disney’s longest-running show,

What a Sleeping Beauty!  Lenin on Ice!” in Red Square.



If we have a burning desire to see Jubilation T. Cornpone memorialized in the park, we have to pay to keep him

— in sparkling ice, granita, or well-marbled butterfat.

The Popsicle Pantheon, The Immortal Icebox of Heroes, La Crème Glacée de la Crème.

Ice, pure and transparent, is obviously the wrong medium for politicians, so we can “laud him, all ye people, in lard.”

If we don’t keep the power on, if we waffle, our hero turns into a pool of melted butter.



When memories and passions cool,

and their snow jobs come to light,

and there’s no frozen slush fund to pay the electric bill,

the Sub-Zero Politicians will just melt away

… dissolve like such stuff as bad dreams are made on.

And most likely, the world will just carry on

…spinning in greased grooves.

And in the end, even when all the lights go off,

and the stuff in our refrigerators has gone very bad, become sentient, and taken over the planet,

the people we actually want to remember, will remain

…frozen in our memories, in the times and forms we most love to recall.



We’ll get back to Teddy, another time, don’t worry, I won’t forget.



Art, Frostbite, History, Pantheon, Public Art, Removing Statues, Sculpture, statue, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You

Giving History an Icy Reception. (Learning All About History By Looking at Statues. Chapter II)


14 thoughts on “Giving History an Icy Reception. (Learning All About History By Looking at Statues. Chapter II)

  1. I have to admit it: my favorite reference here was to Jubilation T. Cornpone. I still can sing the song. When was it popular? How did I learn it? I don’t know. But there it is, frozen in memory.

    While it’s not particularly related to your post, you’ve also reminded me of one of my first kitchen tasks as a child: sitting on a three-legged stool and kneading the plastic package of white oleomargarine until the little “yolk” of yellow coloring was evenly distributed through it. The butter lobby was opposed to margarine, back in the day, and the legislated white-with-yellow-yolk was meant as a way of dissuading people from purchasing the stuff. As I recall, it did look pretty gross, and using it without the coloring would have been like putting a hunk of Crisco out to go with the biscuits.

    I wonder if Crisco statues would last longer than butter? I’ll bet they would. I know the first one I’d build: the Count of Monte Crisco.

    • 🙂 I love it, that’s great!
      And maybe Barry Manilow in schmaltz?
      One of my first kitchen chores like that, was shelling peas. I saw a bowl of them on the kitchen table, and without being asked, shelled them. They were tiny peas, and only amounted to a 1/4-cup, but I got it done, — and then learned about sugar snap peas, the kind where the pods are edible.

  2. Curiously, particularly as I love art, I feel like this about art – I think all art should be made of something that doesn’t last, then there can be no huge amounts paid for it, artists wouldn’t have vast egos, and… well. But butter? Hmmm… 😉

    • States like New York, that are big dairy producers, all have huge butter sculptures at their annual state fairs. They re-use the butter for many years (yuk!)
      I’ve seen some wonderful ice sculptures in the past few years, the ones in the pictures are from Quebec,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s