September 29, 2014

See what happens when you call for philosophers?

By the Capitol Square, the city of Madison built what it called "Philosopher's Grove"  — artistically shaped stone seating positioned under shade trees.
A group of business and property owners in the area, Downtown Madison Inc. and the Downtown Business Improvement District “strongly support” physical changes to help curb drinking, fighting, abusive language, littering, drug dealing, prostitution and the use of alleys and doorways as toilets....
You can see the Philosopher's Grove at the beginning of this video I made in 2011, the year of the protests. It begins with a Grove denizen saying something we've never forgotten: "All the assholes are over on the other side." From this man's point of view, the "assholes" were — if I understood the context correctly — the protesters. The Philosopher's Grove was the territory of the people who in non-protest times are the regulars, and they seemed a bit put out by the upstart regulars who, at this phase of the protests, were camping out in tents all along the square in a demonstration they called "Walkerville."
The business property owners group has already sent a list of ideas suggesting relocation of the granite stones “as soon as possible;” opening up West Mifflin Street to create a walkway between the Square, Overture Center and the Central Library; more street parking and lighting; signs that inform about security cameras in the area and expected behavior; seating for restaurants; more police presence; beautification; and mounting a mural on the Wisconsin Historical Museum....

Any moves, however, could be controversial because they may affect homeless people who frequent the area. The fate of public art, mature trees and future development of a joint Historical Museum and Wisconsin Veterans Museum also could be at stake.
Here in Madison,  everyone has an opinion about which side the assholes are on.
In the spring, DMI, business and property owners, and city officials brainstormed ideas to improve the crossroads. The city stepped up cleaning, temporarily put up chalkboards to solicit public input and added sparkle lighting on trees in Philosopher’s Grove. But through the summer, “It got worse in terms of the behaviors,” DMI president Susan Schmitz said.
Sparkle lighting? Doesn't that create a sort of outdoor café, a nice atmosphere where street folk can continue to drink, use drugs, get into arguments, and experience sexuality and the need to urinate?

16 comments:

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume
Schopenhauer and Hegel,
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

Monty Python - The Philosophers Song

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Here in Madison, everyone has an opinion about which side the assholes are on.

I always found the assholes to be on the backside.

David Hampton said...

The well-intentioned do-gooders who dream-up fiascos like Philosopher's Corner are little more than enablers for the local layabouts. You cannot gentrify the entitlement crowd and the detritus that follows in their wake with appeals to their civility. They live in their filth and trash beauty excusing that behavior for the old "saw" getting back at authority. I note the trash and litter left behind for others to clean up at the recent Climate Change aka Global Warming march that provided another venue for these leaks-in-the-payroll to act like behavior challenged adolescents. Urinating and defecating on public/private property is street theater to them. My suggestion is to arrest them for public indecency and save the taxpayer money making them clean-up the mess.

Curious George said...

#1 City in America!

tim in vermont said...

Cargo cult tactics don't work? Whodathunkit?

MayBee said...

DId the peoplel who pushed for Philosopher's Corner spend any time there themselves? Or was this always a case of assuming other people wanted a space to do things the organizers thought they should want to do?

MadisonMan said...

I don't understand. I thought public art like this was supposed to be a cure-all.

tim maguire said...

One can support programs to help the homeless, feed them, keep them from freezing in winter, etc., without thinking that they should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want until somebody comes along and offers them a great job and advances them money for rent (and even after if they choose not to accept the job).

MadisonMan said...

And this story would have been far more complete if the "Journalist" had tracked down advocates for this "art", read their quotes back to them, what they promised this art would bring, and ask for a comment on the state of today.

broomhandle said...

Apart from aggressive policing, the only way to drive out the negative behavior is to attract normal folks to regular use of the area. Hippy-dippy landscaping isn't going to cut it.

Mark said...

Woohoo, cut down the trees for three more parking spots! Downtown parking problems are now solved, just like this will make the homeless problems magically go away.

gerry said...

temporarily put up chalkboards to solicit public input

ROFLOL

Bobber Fleck said...

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.

—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5]

Drago said...

Mark: "Woohoo, cut down the trees for three more parking spots! Downtown parking problems are now solved, just like this will make the homeless problems magically go away."

There are no homeless.

The left taught us all quite clearly in the late 70's and early 80's that "homelessness" was just an alternative lifestyle.

That's why all those "alternative lifestyle" practitioners were released from institutions en masse after the lefties won their lawsuits.

Plus obama is president and I haven't seen any media stories on the homeless since at least January of 2008 so they can't be there. They were only there during the administrations of Reagan and Bush 1 & 2, (if the number of news stories is an accurate indication).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Face it folks, it's assholes all the way down.

Sigivald said...

MadisonMan said: And this story would have been far more complete if the "Journalist" had tracked down advocates for this "art", read their quotes back to them, what they promised this art would bring, and ask for a comment on the state of today.

As usual:

At their head, the motley tribe of fools. They lead in everything, carrying the keys, opening the doors, inventing phrases, wailing when they are wrong and assuring you that they would never have believed that this or that could happen.

... and anyone that did say it could and indeed obviously would happen, was simply wrong at the time and a bigoted asshat, and now, well, they never said that in the first place and nobody could have thought someone like that might be right, then or now.

And then they do it all over again, forever.