Video... shows [Nancy, an employee at the nearby National Museum of the American Indian] struggling with the artist who erected the statue, who identified himself as 27-year-old Anthony Scioli, as he tried to prop the structure back up. At one point during the tussle, the woman sits down on the statue to prevent Scioli from picking it back up.Free speech. It's got to work both ways. Either impromptu sidewalk statues are okay or they are not.
Here's what I said back in August:
"For most of the last year, we have seen endless hand-wringing in the news media about how crude Donald Trump is. But it seems obvious to me that it is Trump’s enemies, far more than Trump, who have gone into the gutter and, to a degree that may be unprecedented, coarsened our political life," writes John Hinderaker at Power Line, on the occasion of that naked Donald Trump statues that stood in 5 American cities yesterday. "When it comes to crude, beyond the pale attacks, Donald Trump is far more often the victim than the aggressor," Hinderaker concludes.And here's the inevitable Dylan quote, which I'm not quoting for the first time and not quoting just because Dylan won that prize. I'm quoting it for its enduring truth and pithy memorability:
I agree that there is more crudeness in the attacks on Trump than coming from Trump himself. However:
1. Parallelism seems to demand that we compare what Trump himself says to what the another candidate says. If we want to look at what people other than candidates are saying about Trump, we should compare it not just to what Trump says, but to what his supporters say and to what everyone who hates Hillary says — including speech in the form of sculpture and drawings and paintings. There's some pretty crude stuff out there.
2. And shouldn't there be crude attacks on political candidates, in words and in graphic depictions? This is a grand tradition! I celebrate it. I'm thinking of Daumier's Gargantua...
Daumier went to prison for that. And I'm thinking of David Levine's Henry Kissinger:
3. The brutality is already there in politics, so we should have the words and pictures to express it. Here's Frank Zappa saying that on "Crossfire" in 1986:
"[Brutality] is already in politics. I think if you use the so-called strong words, you get your point across faster and you can save a lot of beating around the bush. Why are people afraid of words?" (And note that Donald Trump just yesterday was defending his style of speech as a way to save time: The important thing is to get to the truth and being too careful and polite "takes far too much time.")
But even the president of the United StatesADDED: Speaking of ugly statues at Bowling Green, here's an excerpt from Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton:
Sometimes must have to stand naked
At Bowling Green, at the foot of Broadway, they mobbed a gilded equestrian statue of George III, portrayed in Roman garb, that had been erected to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act. John Adams had once admired this “beautiful ellipsis of land, railed in with solid iron, in the center of which is a statue of his majesty on horseback, very large, of solid lead, gilded with gold, on a pedestal of marble, very high.” Now, for reasons both symbolic and practical, the crowd pulled George III down from his pedestal, decapitating him in the process. The four thousand pounds of gilded lead was rushed off to Litchfield, Connecticut, where it was melted down to make 42,088 musket bullets. One wit predicted that the king’s soldiers “will probably have melted majesty fired at them.”