26 February 2011

Subduing Corruption and Vice

We never get a break, do we?

First we're blamed for leading men into perdition, or simply making things complicated.    That's how guys use the stories of Eve, Pandora and other women of myth and religion. 

But when those stories are used as rationales for subjugating women, the results can be really strange, if not offensive.

This is called "The Triumph of Civic Virtue," was created by American sculptor Frank Mac Monnies about 100 years ago.  A nearly nude man is standing, and dangling a sword over, two female sirens representing Corruption and Vice.

It stands in front of the Queens Borough Hall.  But the Borough President and other local politicians want to get rid of it.  Rep. Anthony Weiner even suggested selling it on Craig's List.

They are not the first people to find this statue offensive.  It stood in front of City Hall in lower Manhattan until 1941, when then-Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia deemed it offensive and ordered it banished from the premises. 

I've seen the statue before and I must say that I find it offensive, too.  Yes, the sexism and violent sexuality bother me, but I also remember that such blatant misogyny was perfectly acceptable in public art (and much else) to an even greater degree than is allowed today.

What I find offensive about the statue is that it's just plain hideous, at least to my eyes.  And, it nearly two stories tall, it's all but impossible to ignore.