October 7, 2014

Bascom Hill flamingoes.


Some kind of fund-raising even here on the UW campus today. Plastic flamingoes on the hill have been a thing here at Wisconsin since before I arrived, which was 30 years ago.


virgil xenophon said...

IIRC a couple of decades ago there was a car dealer in Albuquerque who placed several hundred/thousand pink flamingoes all over town on a Sun nite and each day they were seen to all have been moved overnight several blocks closer to his dealership (and converging also)--closer and denser until on Sat morn of the sale they ALL turned up on the lot at his dealership, LOL!

Anonymous said...

'Pink Flamingoes' are the 'Lawn Jockeys' for those pretending to not be racist.

Bob R said...

I'll go down to Bascom Hill
Just before dawn
And knock the pink flamingos off the rich people's laws
And before they get up, I'll be gone.

Anonymous said...

A lawn full of plastic pink flamingos says "white people here'. This is the passive-aggressive way of saying 'you're safe -- no blacks'. Other ways whites passive-agressively tell blacks they are not welcome:

Political sign for a Republican candidate in front of the house.

"Neighborhood Watch" signs oh-so-prominently displayed.

"My Child is an Honor Student" bumper-sticker on the back of the new SUV.

Unsmiling old white guy in shorts watering lawn.

Unsmiling old white guy in shorts standing by mailbox until suspicious vehicle passes by.

Unsmiling old white guy in shorts.

White picket fence.

Suburu parked in the driveway.

Crazy Jane said...

What is the point?

Condescension to kitsch enjoyed by long dead, less aesthetically evolved proles?

If you think you're enjoying the smug joke, drop in to the Whitney's wildly popular Jeff Koons exhibit, ending soon. If you really like it, you may find out, years from now, that you are regarded, in retrospect, as the sort of person who proudly put troll figures, unironically, in his garden.

What goes around comes around.

Bob R said...

@Crazy Jane - This all started in 1979 with the Pail and Shovel party which won a number of student government elections in the late '70's. This was a direct reaction to the very earnest midwestern Maoists who dominated campus politics in the 60's and early 70's. If I understand correctly it was a very deliberate provocation at the time, not some pseudo-sophisticated hipster ironic statement.

Old time Madison hands can correct me on this. I first set foot in Madison in 1984 as one of the last postdocs in the Math Research Center (formerly the Army Math Research Center that was the target of the Sterling Hall bombing/murder.) Not exactly the most unbiased perspective on Madison in the 60's.

Lucien said...

Plastic Flamingos have very small carbon footprints (especially the pink ones),but produce no guano.

Mark said...

Bob R, also of that age was the top of the head of Statue of Liberty & Torch on Lake Mendota near Helen C White.

I was in middle school, my memory is imperfect but this was a time of silly humor on campus after all the serious. A true classic, Leon Varjian was a student for 6 years taking one credit per semester (never graduated).

Here's one of the better articles on the Leon and the Pail and Shovel.


He was the clown for the whole school, was well loved for it by the whole community after the 60/70's turmoil, seemed like the city and campus rehabilitated their relationship around this period.

Irene said...

A student prank transformed into a fundraising campaign.

chickelit said...

I was an undergrad during those antics. One day, I was out on the lake admiring the Statue of Liberty and I met Jim Mallon and Leon Varjian (President and VP of the Pail & Shovel Party). They were amiable sorts. They posed for my camera. link

chickelit said...

I didn't realize that the P&S Party arranged the "Little Feat" concert in 1979 at the Fieldhouse. That was a good show.

chickelit said...

Varjian and Mallon were quasi-celebrities at the time. In addition to their highly publicized stunts, they had a regular TV show on local cable. It featured skits and zany comedy fare. My memory is hazy, but I vaguely recall a talking mice series. The camera was set up on a warren of rodents and several voices ad-libbed "conversations" between the animals. Others can vouche for this.

RecChief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RecChief said...

Just got back from a HS school choir concert. New choir director who is a fantastic soprano in her own right. Had a tenor from the local University's fine arts department sing along with kids, after a week of sitting in on her classes. They sang 'Someone to watch over me," "Summertime"(from Porgy and Bess), "Someone to Love" "Draggin the Line" "Some Nights" and "Hallelujah". I helped out on bass.

She'll do

Also, one of the most fun things ever, we were nearing the end of a 2 week field problem and the Battalion Sergeant Major, a noted fun hater, was rilin' everyone up with stupid shit. Since this wasn't the first time he had done it, we were prepared with approx 50 pink flamingos stashed in foot lockers that had been stacked in teh company CP the whole time. After his little snit, we planted those babies all around the BN CP in the middle of the night. I've never seen a guy that mad before....or since. hahaha

rcocean said...

So where are the black flamingos?

Racists whites just can't help being racist.

Smilin' Jack said...

Some kind of fund-raising even here on the UW campus today. Plastic flamingoes on the hill have been a thing here at Wisconsin since before I arrived, which was 30 years ago.

Newbie. In my day you found spent tear gas canisters on Bascom Hill, not fucking flamingoes. What's wrong with kids today?

chickelit said...

rcocean said...
So where are the black flamingos?

One was spotted two years ago on Bascom Hill. Althouse covered it, here.