Having solved all other problems in Gotham, a member of the Public Design Commission in New York City has decided that they need to tackle the truly serious challenges. In Central Park, there are several statues depicting men of historical and social significance. But they’re men, you see. So they have to go. And then we can replace them with statues of women. Once that’s finished, Bob’s your uncle and all of our gender disparity issues will be solved. (NY Post)
A member of the commission that oversees art and architecture on city property suggested Monday that instead of simply adding statues of historical female figures to Central Park, the panel yank out some of the male ones first.
“There are what, five or six [male] statutes that I think could easily be replaced by individual statues of each of these women,” said Hank Willis Thomas, a painter who serves on the Public Design Commission, at a hearing at City Hall.
Thomas appeared to be specifically fingering statues including that of Scottish poet Robert Burns, in the park’s Literary Row, and the one of Christopher Columbus in the park, near the famed second one of the explorer in Columbus Circle, for removal.
I’ll confess to being a bit confused when I initially saw the headline at the Post. It suggested that the commissioner wanted to replace all the male statues with women. I was thinking… so you want to tear down the statues and hire women to stand there? But no. He wants statues of women. Fair enough.
But why do you need to replace the statues? Central Park is huge and there are currently 23 statues there. (The commissioner claims that all 23 are of men, but that’s not technically true. One is of Alice in Wonderland, but her female bona fides may be eroded a bit, being a fictional character and all.) There’s plenty of room for more statues.
It’s a rare day when I get the chance to actually praise New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, so I’ll take this opportunity while I can. Hizzoner actually came out in opposition to replacing the statues and also suggested they just add some more. Even Bill can demonstrate some common sense every once in a while.
But who should the statues be of? Currently under discussion are Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth. They were all women who fought for suffrage so they sound like fine choices to me. But the original proposal was to create one statue with all three of them featured. That caused an immediate uproar because why shouldn’t each get their own statue like the men do? Now they’re talking about three separate monuments.
The bottom line to address here is the propensity of liberal leaders to constantly want to tear down history, rather than simply adding to it. I’ve been through Central Park plenty of times. There’s room for one hundred more statues if they really wanted to splurge. And if you’re honestly offended by Scottish poet Robert Burns, you probably shouldn’t leave your house because you’re going to be offended by pretty much everything on the planet.
Yes, I agree that it’s odd that so many of the statues in the park are of men and they never saw fit to add some women. And there are plenty of women worth honoring in this fashion. But we don’t always have to tear down the past to make room for the future.