THE STUPIDEST STATUE. At Commentary, Noah Rothman writes:
Last week, an idol was erected in the streets of Manhattan: a bronze statue of a defiant young girl standing rigid and resolute in the face of the iconic Wall Street bull. It seems we are to be bludgeoned by expressions of cultural fealty to the statue until our will to resist is broken.
The statue’s alleged purpose—both stated by its sponsors and plainly evident in the figure’s demeanor—is to present a challenge to orthodoxy. It is a call to address the perception that there are not enough women amid the rarefied ranks of Fortune 500 boards. This audacious assault on the staid prejudices of the gatekeepers of wealth and power in America was sponsored by the exclusive Boston-based investment services company State Street Global Advisors and approved by the New York City Parks Department. If the aim of this artistic display was to challenge intractable conventions and change minds, they chose an audience that has been uniquely receptive to their message.
As PJM’s own Roger Kimball noted a decade ago at his publication the New Criterion, PC England once again led the way; the American left is only now just catching up:
Trafalgar is full of lessons. When my wife and I visited London last September, we took our young son, a fervent admirer of Nelson, to Trafalgar Square to see Nelson’s column. We were surprised to see that it had company. On one of the plinths behind the famous memorial sat a huge sculpture of white marble. This, I knew, was one of the benefactions that Ken Livingstone, the Communist mayor of London, had bestowed on his grateful constituency: public art on Trafalgar Square that was more in keeping with cool Britannia’s new image than statues of warriors. From a distance, the white blob looked liked a gigantic marshmallow in need of an air pump. But on closer inspection, it turned out to be a sculpture of an armless and mostly legless woman, with swollen breasts and distended belly. In fact, it was a sculpture by Marc Quinn of one Alison Lapper, made when she was eight months pregnant. Ms. Lapper, who was born with those horrible handicaps, is herself an artist. Asked how she felt about the sculpture, Ms. Lapper said that she was glad that at last Trafalgar Square recognized someone who was not a white male murderer. It is worth noting, as one journalist pointed out, that the architects of Trafalgar Square were ahead of their time in at least one sense, for the sculpture of Ms. Lapper represented the second commemoration of a seriously disabled person. After all, there is Nelson on his column, missing his right arm and an eye.
According to the Boston Globe last week, “Sculptor Arturo Di Modica installed the bull without permits one night near the New York Stock Exchange as a tribute to the country’s recovery from the 1987 stock market crash, the Times reported. It was moved to its current location a few days later.”
As with the last decade’s “improvements” to Trafalgar, courtesy of London’s then-Mayor “Red” Ken Livingstone, I assume this latest ode to grrrl power will be up for quite some time as well, both to the delight of CNN, amazed that an inert bronze statue can remain upright when snow falls on it, to Trump supporters who have placed red MAGA hats on it – to those who have performed rather cruder gestures involving the statue.