[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.
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.
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.