February 5, 2014
THE FRAGILE FLOWERS OF HIGHER EDUCATION: Realistic statue of man in his underwear at Wellesley College sparks controversy. “[T]his highly lifelike sculpture has, within just a few hours of its outdoor installation, become a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for many members of our campus community.”
They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney, America would be overrun with prudes who’d faint at the thought of a Hanes ad. And they were right!
UPDATE: Jonathan Adler emails: “I always thought one purpose of art was to challenge, provoke and, yes, make us uncomfortable.” It’s fine to make squares in flyover country uncomfortable. But not members of the elite.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Brannon Denning writes: “Rene Magritte Phone Your Office! I think the most disturbing thing about the creepy underwear guy is the students’ reactions is their apparent inability to process the fact that it’s a statue not a real person and therefore can’t hurt you. It’s of a piece with people being afraid of toast in the shape of a gun or a picture of a gun. I read these stories and feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Maybe someone ought to put a sign on it that reads: ‘Ceci n’est pas une homme.’”
Confusing the image with the reality is a hallmark of primitive societies.