August 17, 2011

So, how is that 30' Maoist MLK statue thing working out?

"I am King-Ton. As overlord, all will kneel trembling before me and obey my brutal commands." [Crosses arms] "End communication." 

-- Adapted from the "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kodos" episode of The Simpsons 

Was it really necessary to make this new colossal sculpture on the D.C. National Mall look like something out of a Percy Bysshe Shelley nightmare? And did the Chinese artist/contractor they hired for this sculpture really think through this whole white granite angle? This thing looks less like Martin Luther King than a cross between Chairman Mao, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and an albino.

As a commenter points out below, the sculptor is from Changsha in Hunan, where Mao converted to Communism, and Changsha is always building giant statues of Mao to plop down as a "gift" in places like recalcitrant Tibet. (Gee ... thanks Uncle Changsha for the nifty Chairman Mao statue.) The commission that commissioned this statue made a big deal about how they just chose this Chinese guy because he had the experienced workforce to build a giant stone statue, but the reason his workforce is experienced is because they make massive Mao statues. So, the USA ends up with a Maoist colossus between the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, with MLK looking like he's about to dispatch to the pig farms any bourgeois revisionists who doubt that backyard steel mills are a great idea.

Anyway, this doesn't have anything (specifically) to do with MLK or sculptures or Mao, but I always liked this Simpsons dialogue:

Kang vs. Kodos for President: For some reason, right now I'm reminded of the 1996 Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" in which flying saucer aliens Kang and Kodos abduct Presidential candidates Clinton and Dole and impersonate them:

Kent Brockman: Senator Dole, why should people vote for you instead of President Clinton?
Kang: It makes no difference which one of us you vote for. Either way, your planet is doomed. DOOMED!
Kent: Well, a refreshingly frank response there from Senator Bob Dole.

Kent: Kent Brockman here, with Campaign '96: America Flips A Coin. At an appearance this morning, Bill Clinton made some rather cryptic remarks, which aides attributed to an overly tight necktie. 
Kodos: I am Clin-Ton. As overlord, all will kneel trembling before me and obey my brutal commands. [crosses arms] End communication. 
Marge: Hmm, that's Slick Willie for you, always with the smooth talk.

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, 73-year-old candidate, Bob Dole. 
Kang: Abortions for all. [crowd boos] Very well, no abortions for anyone. [crowd boos] Hmm... Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others. [crowd cheers and waves miniature flags]

Later, Kang and Kodos are walking down the streets, holding hands. 
Kang: Fooling these Earth voters is easier than expected. 
Kodos: Yes. All they want to hear are bland pleasantries embellished by an occasional saxophone solo or infant kiss. 
A Democratic National Committee van pulls up, and George Stephanopoulos pokes his head out. 
George: Uh, Mr. President, Sir. People are becoming a bit... confused by the way your and your opponent are, well, constantly holding hands. 
Kang: We are merely exchanging long protein strings. If you can think of a simpler way, I'd like to hear it.

Springfield holds a Dole-Clinton debate. Clinton is giving the opening speech:
Clin-Ton: My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.
Kang: The politics of failure have failed. We need to make them work again. Tomorrow, when you are sealed in the voting cubicle, vote for me, Senator Ka... Bob Dole. [applause
Kodos: I am looking forward to an orderly election tomorrow, which will eliminate the need for a violent blood bath. [applause]

Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles. [unmasks them] [audience gasps in terror
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us. [Murmurs from the crowd
Man1: He's right, this is a two-party system. 
Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate. 
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away. [Kang and Kodos laugh out loud] [Ross Perot smashes his "Perot 96" hat

The next day, Kodos announces the result: "All hail, President Kang." The field in front of the Capitol has now become a working ground where humans are whipped by aliens and used to carry materials to build a giant ray gun. The Simpsons, with chains around their necks, are working too, with Homer and the kids carrying wood, and Marge pushing a wheelbarrow of cinderblocks -- with Maggie on top. 
Marge: I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a planet I never even heard of. 
Homer: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

73 comments:

Tom in VA said...

Well, at least the damn thing wasn't carved by a white guy.

Following Orders said...

It's an appropriate statue for a conquered people (Whites). Note that our heroic statues and paintings of the past showed leaders rousing people to a challenge. They often appear to be liberators. This guy looks like an angry vengeful overlord.

It is appropriate that boomer White males should exit the world with this hovering over their heads. Their fathers always thought they were weak sissies that couldn't keep a country - turns out they were right.

Anonymous said...

"I am your new president. As overlord, all will kneel trembling before me and obey my brutal commands."

How come this didn't seem so bad coming from Reagan, the Bushes, and Clinton?

Anonymous said...

Where is that statue?

Anonymous said...

You would think that he would at least have the sense to take his suit off if he was going to work out.

But seriously, that's always been one of my favorite Simpson episodes.

Truth said...

"It's an appropriate statue for a conquered people (Whites)..."

Jesus Christ, would you grow a sac?

PaleoPaleo said...

Compare this to this.

It's an appropriate statue for a conquered people (Whites).

An actual founding patriot, beautifully sculpted, relegated to a backwater while a statue of Mestizo shit is prominently displayed in Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Oh never mind.

Harry Baldwin said...

It looks like the sculptor got about two-thirds finished and then found out he was getting paid in American dollars and decided to call it quits.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like a statue of the lawgiver from planet of the apes. (Seriously).

Harry Baldwin said...

Interesting info on the monument at Wikipedia

For one thing, the original artist's rendering was in a brown stone.

For another, the contemptible descendents of MLK are greasing their palms, as usual:

Fees to King family

In 2001, the foundation's efforts to build the memorial were stalled because Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an organization operated by King's family, wanted the foundation to pay licensing fees to use his name and likeness in marketing campaigns. The memorial's foundation, beset by delays and a languid pace of donations, stated that "the last thing it needs is to pay an onerous fee to the King family." Joseph Lowery, past president of the King-founded Southern Christian Leadership Conference stated in the The Washington Post, "If nobody's going to make money off of it, why should anyone get a fee?" Cambridge University historian David Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of King, said of King's family's behavior, "One would think any family would be so thrilled to have their forefather celebrated and memorialized in D.C. that it would never dawn on them to ask for a penny." He added that King would have been "absolutely scandalized by the profiteering behavior of his children." The family pledged that any money derived would go back to the King Center's charitable efforts. The foundation has paid the fee since 2003. By 2009, King's family had charged the Foundation $800,000 for the use of his words and image in fund-raising materials for the memorial.

eh said...

Had not heard about that. First impressions:

--Monstrosity;

--Why not Mt Rushmore? -- seems a better fit;

--Who could not think there has not been enough homage paid to MLK? I mean...he has his own holiday, right?

--Obama will probably give a speech which I'd rather not hear; but then I don't like to hear any of his speeches...

Anonymous said...

Whose idea was it to hire a Chinese guy?

Maotin ZeKong.

Maybe they should just hang a huge Maotin Painting on Congress building.

Anonymous said...

Michael looks pissed that 20 naked women were not added to the sculpture.

'Man, what happened to my dream?'

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised it's not 100 ft tall and towering over the Lincoln Memorial.

Just wait 20 yrs. There will be a demand for bigger one done by an African or black guy.

RKU said...

Well, if the MSM barrage keeps going for another decade, I suspect the British will commission the same fellow to produce a similarly gigantic statue for Trafalgar Square honoring that drug-dealer whose shooting by the police provoked the late unpleasantness.

But I really doubt the "System" will survive that long...

Longfellow, Longfellow said...

(I'll just get this out of the way quick--)

"Look on my works, ye Whitey, and means-test Medicare!"

Anonymous said...

Looks like Han Solo frozen in that carbonite.

Anonymous said...

"How come this didn't seem so bad coming from Reagan, the Bushes, and Clinton?"

It did; perhaps you weren't paying attention. Usually it takes two or three presidencies before someone figures this out.

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos" is, of course, the mantra of those who are still stuck in the "it's a two party system; don't waste your vote on a third party; if you don't vote you can't complain" mentality.

Charlie said...

You know, if we just replaced civics class, or whatever we've replaced civics class with, with that Simpsons clip then kids would know almost all they need to know about American politics. I've never been a Simpsons fan but I always thought that was a brilliant, perfect allegory.

Anonymous said...

That statue is stealing women from white betas like Whiskey.

Anonymous said...

Michael looks pissed that 20 naked women were not added to the sculpture.

'Man, what happened to my dream?'


Clinton got his hands on them first.

Anonymous said...

1. Lei Yixin was born Changsha, has a studio in Changsha[1], and traveled to St Paul as part of an art exchange for sister cities[2].
2. Mao was born in Changsha.
3. Changsha gave the largest Mao statue ever created to Tibet as a "gift"... that looks just like this MLK statue.

http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/mao_statue.jpg

Did Lei Yixin create "aid" statue for Tibet?


"
China’s biggest statue of Mao — rising 7.1 metres from a 5.16-metre pedestal — is due to arrive by truck in Gongga county under police escort in just over a week, the Beijing News said.

Changsha, capital of the southern province of Hunan, Mao’s birthplace, donated the statue to Gongga as part of aid for Tibet, the newspaper said. The statue will be a landmark in the county’s Changsha Square, which will be completed in July."

http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/2006/03/the-bigger-they-come-the-harder-they-fall/

This has PR disaster written all over it.

--------

[1] http://chineseculture.about.com/od/artinchina/a/MLKMemorial.htm

[2] http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=3998

Dennis Dale said...

The block method is employed deliberately to avoid the possibility of leaving "two vast and trunkless legs of stone".

wren said...

I'm not sure that it is a good idea that MLK gets his own holidays and statues and things when we now know he was such a plagiarist.

Your post reminds me of the South Park episode where the kids have to choose a new mascot (due to PETA intervention) and the choice ends up being between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Later Puff Daddy show up to shoot anyone who doesn't vote.

Classic.

Dennis Dale said...

whatever he's holding in his hand I bet it's plagiarized.

Anonymous said...

"Well, at least the damn thing wasn't carved by a white guy."

No one's commented on how slanted white granite MLK's eye's are, just like that mural commissioned not too long ago. And I think you are looking for a Mary Shelley reference on the frankenstatute, Sailer.

Anonymous said...

Like several other people, I found that Ozymandias came instantly to mind. Let me reprint it here.



"I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away"."

Anonymous said...

Is that 30' Chinese MLK statue working out?

Is the title missing a "How":

How is that 30' Chinese MLK statue working out?

Or maybe even a "So how":

So how is that 30' Chinese MLK statue working out?

I think that's how they would phrase it over at Slashdot.

Also, you can throw in the word "thing":

So how is that 30' Chinese MLK statue thing working out?

Anonymous said...

Bingo.

Now it reads perfectly.

Anonymous said...

If I was to guess, he's doing bodyweight squats.

TH said...

The statue would be even better had it been made by North Koreans like the African Renaissance Monument.

Chief Seattle said...

It's a monument to modern American corruption and incompetence in every way. First King's family held it up because they wanted a payout. A payout to "use his likeness". Not only were they not willing to "donate" his likeness for free to be used on a public monument, but some scumbag lawyer apparently managed to argue that chiseling an statue of a famous historical figure violates copyright.


Then they get a mainland Chinese to sculpt it. Is that because out of 1 million art students in college at any time that none of them are competent enough to chisel some stone? Or that the powers that be just can't bear to miss out cheap Chinese labor? Or maybe someone just figured that no one understands the American civil rights struggle and the physique of a black man like a mainland Chinese communist?

Then after they hire the Chinese he picks the wrong color stone. Was there a sale on white? Someone cancelled their marble countertop at the last minute and he got a half price special? Nope, turns out it was just what the Chinese prison labor dug up that month. Seriously.

The cherry on top is this little nugget from wikipedia:
In September 2010, the foundation gave written promises that it would use local stonemasons to assemble the memorial. However, when construction began in October, it appeared that only Chinese laborers would be used. The Washington area local of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers union investigated and determined that the workers are not being paid on a regular basis, with all of their pay being withheld until they return to China.[53]

Lawyers and academics and copyright whores spend so much time and money arguing that the only way to afford the project is cheap foreign labor with substandard materials. And the result speaks for itself. Truly a monument for our times.

Lil' Father of the People said...

This ever-evolving post was already pretty funny but it was the "Mary Shelley" crack that slayed me. That Turkmenistan guy has nothing on this... I can just picture it bursting out of its hibernation block and rescuing/drowning a farm girl over by the Reflecting Pool.

"You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!"

art critic said...

I guess Richard Serra wasn't available? Surely a three-story cantilevered platform of steel scrap would inspire more social radicalism than this, and also created or saved some green jobs in the industrial heartland. Too goofy for Baghdad but not goofy enough for downtown Irvine, it looks vaguely like a Vegas replica of a D.C. monument. The part about Lei napping under a tree at the "Minnesota Rocks" convention, if true, should have been an ominous sign. Rahm always said that crisis was a Chinese character, or something along those lines.

Anonymous said...

Damn that Simpsons script is funny. That must be from the show's heyday. I must admit I missed out on the Simpsons phenomenon when it was big and the later Simpsons I've seen have not been very good.

Anonymous said...

A vast and legless trunk of stone?

dearieme said...

"Decadence" doesn't mean 'ten dances'.

Anonymous said...

The question is, when do the white guy statues start coming down? When will the names be chisled out, like the pharaohs used to do.

as posted elsehwhere:
Why not the famedalexnader stoddart?

even a student at GCA could have done better.

actually, i do find it very interesting the consciously choose the soviet/authoritarian style vs. classical western style..

Anonymous said...

@ anon: Ozymandias was a pharoh (Ramese II) who actually accomplished something. MLK was the accomplishment of of Stan Levy and his jewish handlers.

Anonymous said...

So we have the 'cathedral' (holocaust memorial) that every politician must visit to show their piety. We have the great King to worship, look over us.... now we just need to get rid of those raccis whitey statues... Lincoln, Jefferson, and so forth.

Anonymous said...

isn't there also a rosa parks statue in congress??

Anonymous said...

two vast and trunkless legs of stone".
marble is actually rather weak and fragile. that's why few classical sculptures survive intact. The Greeks mainly worked in bronze, when the romans copied in marble, they would often add extra elements, like a tree stump, attached to one leg to that the statue was stronger.

this is a perfect example of the lack of oriental creativity btw,

Anonymous said...

historian David Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of King, said of King's family's behavior, "One would think any family would be so thrilled to have their forefather celebrated and memorialized in D.C. that it would never dawn on them to ask for a penny."

Sounds about as 'earned' and honest as Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.

Daniel J. said...

The good thing is, given the source of its manufacture it'll probably break down in a couple of years, or turn out to contain traces of industrial fallout that require it to be removed from the public.

Svigor said...

It is appropriate that boomer White males should exit the world with this hovering over their heads. Their fathers always thought they were weak sissies that couldn't keep a country - turns out they were right.

Were their fathers any better? When any given generation reaches middle age, their father's generation are generally in charge. I point the finger at the boomers' grandfathers, really. They're the ones who were in charge after WWII, right? Then the boomers' fathers continued the slide. The boomers were just continuing what the previous two generations oversaw.

Anonymous said...

"And I think you are looking for a Mary Shelley reference on the frankenstatute, Sailer."

you haven't been paying attention to the gay history month:

http://paganpressbooks.com/SADOWNCK.HTM

Harry Baldwin said...

Dennis Dale said... The block method is employed deliberately to avoid the possibility of leaving "two vast and trunkless legs of stone".

The extreme blockiness is probably not out of concern about the Ozymandias precedent (statue of long-forgotten figure lies in ruins) but rather the Stalin precedent (statue knocked off its base by angry citizens).

Perhaps the statement being made the Civil Rights establishment is, "Topple this, m--f--!"

SFG said...

Anon: I, for one, welcome our granite statue overlords.

OR, better yet:

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those things!

Seriously, I love the Kodos analogy. I use it whenever any of my friends nerdy enough to get the joke complain about politics.

David said...

Looks okay to me. At least it isn't large and imposing like Lincoln in his Memorial, a terrifying monument to arbitrary power, more truly Ozymandias-like than this little public park pigeon lavatory.

Anonymous said...

If you look carefully, it looks quite a bit like Benson DuBois. As Governor Gatling might say, "that reminds me of a story..."

mmack said...

"and Changsha is always building giant statues of Mao to plop down as a "gift" in places like recalcitrant Tibet. (Gee ... thanks Uncle Changsha for the nifty Chairman Mao statue.)"

Since we're quoting The Simpsons

Homer: Save a guy's life, and what do you get? Nothing! Worse than nothing!
Just a big scary rock.
Bart: Hey, man, don't bad-mouth the head.

Roger Chaillet said...

My dystopian hometown of Washington, D.C. is full of millions of pigeons and grackles. Such birds gather in huge flocks, and are always looking for high places to perch. And they like to be on and around the Mall in order to feast on the crumbs and leftovers of tourists' meals.

I cannot wait until these birds begin leaving their "calling cards" on the statue.

Nice and runny and purple and blue and black.

Anonymous said...

Kneel before Zod

Hacienda said...

Wow, so much effete snobbery over a statue...

As the kids say, you can dish, but you can't take.

Or, my statue is better than your statue, nyah, nyah.

Historian 4000 AD said...

Judging from the remains of his statue among the ruins of the Imperial Capital, we're fairly certain that Martin Luther King was a warlord who conquered the United States circa 2000 AD.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the Vietnam Memorial done by some Asian person too?
So, music belongs to blacks, and rigid-stone stuff belongs to Asians.

Anonymous said...

So, music belongs to blacks, and rigid-stone stuff belongs to Asians.
The three figure statue at the viet memorial was done by fredrick hart - google tom wolf'e obit on him - its amazing.
He was a truly great sculptor, probably the best america produced in the latter half of the 20th century.

He also did ex-nihlo (national cathedral, washington) and a memorial to the victims of communism, using the czar's daugthers as inspiration, which, along with his devout christianity, probably did not endear him to a certain ethnic group.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but perhaps someone should have alerted the organizers about what happened in the Great White North when our Government hired a Korean to make a statue honoring the Canadian soldier's sacrifice in the Korean War:

http://genealogycanada.blogspot.com/2011/05/korean-war-anniversary.html

Need I add that more than 99% of Canadian troops who fought in the Korean War were of European, predominantly British, descent?

I can see how Asians might think that all white folks look alike, but it came as a surprise, now confirmed by your MLK statue experience, to realize that they think we all look like them!

Anonymous said...

"Hacienda said...
Wow, so much effete snobbery over a statue...

As the kids say, you can dish, but you can't take.

Or, my statue is better than your statue, nyah, nyah."

WTF are you talking about? These idiots picked a communist who has praised Mao and probably created the largest Mao statue(that was put in Tibet as a "gift")... and this is your response...

Weak...

I have a right(no a duty) to be a "snob" about this statue and the idiots behind it. This is just bad semiotics...

BTW, you haven't "dished" anything out for anyone else to "take"... so go on ahead...

Reg Cæsar said...

Their [boomers'] fathers always thought they were weak sissies that couldn't keep a country...

Would these be those fathers who gave a record vote total to LBJ, of all people, just to protect their precious green checks?

Except, of course, in the South, where they discovered-- around 1963-- that freedom of association and lower income taxes weren't such bad ideas after all.

Anonymous said...

" Too goofy for Baghdad but not goofy enough for downtown Irvine, it looks vaguely like a Vegas replica of a D.C. monument."

It's funny because it's true.

Chief Seattle ~ great post!

I think female pioneers statue is next. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pellosi, Oprah, and Ellen DeGeneres holding hands.

Hacienda said...

"(no a duty) to be a "snob" about this statue and the idiots behind it."

And I have a duty to point out that you are wacko! WACKO!

What are your thoughts on the Crazy Horse statue? Mt. Rushmore? Stonewall Jackson? It seems we are in an age of statue escalation not unlike military escalation and the MLK is a mere 30 ft. one. Can you spare a little free sentiment for the darker peoples of this world? Or are you just another snow man (woman) b*tching about the heat?

Anonymous said...

I am not an art history expert but that crossed arm posture is terrible body language. Also, isn't the pose of the figure supposed to have some meaning. Being half trapped in the stone is a terrible visual metaphor. I do know that when the subjects head is not above the horizon it indicates that he is not a noble figure but rather a sort of person tied to his condition. Very odd composition. Very strange symbolism.

Anonymous said...

"And I have a duty to point out that you are wacko! WACKO!"

Sure... it's wacko to point out the statue makes MLK look like Mao... because the statue was created by someone who creates Mao statues. Keep going with that.

If you think we're the only people who are going to notice then you're wacko! WACKO!

"What are your thoughts on the Crazy Horse statue? Mt. Rushmore? Stonewall Jackson?"

I don't really have any thoughts about them... it's not like they were recently built... Stone Mountain is kind of fugly... though I think it could just Jefferson Davis.

"It seems we are in an age of statue escalation not unlike military escalation and the MLK is a mere 30 ft. one."

You are an idiot.

"Can you spare a little free sentiment for the darker peoples of this world?"

I have some sentiment for the Tibetans... who had a Mao statue(worlds largest one) foisted upon them that was created by the same person(or at least studio) who created your MLK Jr memorial.

"Or are you just another snow man (woman) b*tching about the heat?"

What heat? Like flash mobs or something? Be specific...

Anonymous said...

How many people here had a grandfather who was assassinated? Before you judge the Kings, think what it would be like to walk in their shoes.

Thripshaw said...

How many people here had a grandfather who was assassinated? Before you judge the Kings, think what it would be like to walk in their shoes.

And think about how much money you could shake down whitey for, first and foremost. I'm sure Grandpappy would approve!

Anonymous said...

How many people here had a grandfather who was assassinated?
never saw the Kennedy's behaving like that..

It makes me wonder how much the media is covering for them..

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous said...Before you judge the Kings, think what it would be like to walk in their shoes.

Sorry, couldn't afford it. The family charges $50,000 just for trying the shoes on, and after that it's $25,000 per step.

Hacienda said...

"What heat?"

In your own word. The heat of bad "semiotics." Which you have extreme distaste for.

Consider the MLK family is gaming all of you. Or playing you all. But they dislike the bad semiotics of white monumentalism and want to be paid for sacrificing to the white meme of monumental statueism. It could be! It could be!

Wes said...

How many people here had a grandfather who was assassinated? Before you judge the Kings, think what it would be like to walk in their shoes.

I would guess several million people know what it is like to lose a grandfather or uncle ... since we lost over 400,000 in WWII. So that probably gives them a taste of it. Beyond that we lost over 600,000 during the Civil War - and gosh, the liberals are ever so nice about people in the South trying to honor their ancestors.

Harry Baldwin said...

Compare the MLK pose to that of a famous photo of Eldridge Cleaver. Same crossed arms, hand holding rolled papers. Same imperious attitude of the head, but with sunglasses.

flavia said...

Her green plastic watering can / For her fake Chinese rubber plant / In the fake plastic earth / That she bought from a rubber man

Keir said...

Reminds me of the statue of Stalin that once graced Prague. The monument is an embarrassing pastiche of the type of symbolism that is all too familiar to me from my decade in China- a man towering over us plebs, not deigning to even look at us, back straight with arms in determined, static pose. None of the heavy lifting we looking up are accustomed to, but then he doesn't seem to acknowledge those doing the fighting, the striving, the suffering. But then the point of such memorials is to mythologise such heroes to strike an eternal distance between them and us. At least the mass-murderer Mao is always shown finished, with his feet moving slightly forward as with those showing the pharaohs. Compare MLK simply standing in stone with those Michelangelo had wresting themselves from their stone prisons. But then, because in the end the memorial has no honest, sincere meaning, $800,000 had to be spent simply to cover the superfluous blocks on either side with quotations.