Don’t Stop With The Confederates: Tear Down These Statues, Too
We’ve given too many passes; A reckoning for all statues looms
Efforts to remove statues commemorating figures of the Confederacy have been the source of much controversy in recent weeks. From neo-nazis staging violent marches protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia to activists in Durham tearing down a shoddily constructed statue memorializing the Confederacy to dumbass Republican politicians campaigning to preserve these monuments to racism in order to shore up their racist voter base, the debate over these statues serves as a focal point for a larger conversation about the ongoing history of white supremacy in America. And while I do not want to detract from the righteousness of the cause of removing these statues, I ask: why should we stop with the Confederate statues? Let us come together as a nation to remove, destroy, and desecrate as many statues as we very generally can. Here are some other stationary metal men that *need to go* →
Statue of Fiorella LaGuardia in New York City
Alexei Sivertsev writes that, “in Byzantine lore, ancient statues were widely believed to be a dwelling place of supernatural forces and demons.” One can only imagine what demon dwells within this bizarre, clapping, shouting monument to former mayor and airport namesake Fiorello LaGuardia. As a politician, LaGuardia was the first Italian-American congressman. As a statue, he is a disturbing, squat-bodied menace. Tear down this statue, throw it in a ditch, and cover it with spicy meatballs.
Statue of Ringo Starr in Liverpool
Ringo Starr was, famously, the dumbest and least important member of The Beatles. Of course, due to the popularity of the band, there are numerous statues of Starr unecessarily erected throughout the world. This particular statue on the outside of the Beatles-themed Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool is undoubtedly the worst. In addition to the absurdly poor resemblance, the statue is posed in a bizarrely unnatural stance. The entire affect is deeply unsettling. As the statues of the other three Beatles are similarly terrible, the best thing would probably be to just demolish the entire building and let the rubble sit for centuries as a warning to future generations.
Various Peanuts-Themed Statues in Santa Rosa, CA
Peanuts creator Charles Schultz lived in Santa Rosa, California for the last several decades of his life. After he died, the city began erecting dozens of fiberglass statues of his most popular characters, each sponsored by a local business and specially decorated by “local artists.” The statues, which are spread throughout the city, are an unholy amalgam of public art, civic boosterism, and cloying sentimentality (also some are just, um, weird). They all must be destroyed with the utmost hostility.
Sphere Within Sphere Sculptures in Various Locations
Fredric Jameson writes that modernist art “would not so much be a way of avoiding social content… as rather of managing and containing it, secluding it out of sight in the very form itself, by means of specific techniques of framing and displacement which can be identified with some precision.” The social content secluded within these sphere sculptures by Arnaldo Pomodoro is that they fucking suck. We should take all of these spheres — erected in numerous locations, including the above sphere at Trinity College in Dublin — and roll them down a hill at the aforementioned Peanuts statues. And then we should take the remaining pieces and set them on fire. Then we should drop them all in the ocean. And then shit in the ocean.
Statue of Goofy at Walt Disney World
Walter Benjamin writes that, “the uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being imbedded in the fabric of tradition. This tradition itself is thoroughly alive and extremely changeable. An ancient statue of Venus, for example, stood in a different traditional context with the Greeks, who made it an object of veneration, than with the clerics of the Middle Ages, who viewed it as an ominous idol.” Jameson, discussing Bertolt Brecht, describes the practice of estrangement as “staging phenomena in such a way that what had seemed natural and immutable in them is now tangibly revealed to be historical, and thus the object of revolutionary change.”
To the Walt Disney Corporation, this statue of Goofy respresents something innocuous: a decorative illustration of the harmless, family-friendly entertainment that they peddle in the name of billions of dollars of revenue. Its current context in a Disney theme park reinforces this reading. However, if we were to remove it from that context and place it in a new one, estranged in the manner that Jameson describes, it could represent something new and revolutionary. It could demonstrate how the false ideals of entertainment, consumption, and phony nostalgia (check out the fake patina of the bronze) serve to distract us from the ever-worsening inequality that defines late capitalism. Removed from its pedestal, taken away from its phony-idyllic environment of corporatized, forced happiness, it could illustrate how the ideology of the Walt Disney Corporation is a hollow distraction from the evils of multinational capitalism.
Tear down this fucking statue and piss on it.