Thursday, February 15, 2007

DC’s Very Own Pasquino

Residents of DC: did you ever try calling a Senator’s office, or a real representative’s office, and been told they can’t talk to you because you are not a constituent? I’ve hit upon a solution: our very own Pasquino!

In Rome, near Piazza Navona, stands a little beat up statue dubbed Pasquino. From the 16th century on, anonymous commoners would post satirical poems and diatribes on Pasquino (pasquinades) aimed at the Pope and the nobility. (As you can see from the picture, the tradition continues.) The postings were always attributed to the statue itself, and Pasquino became known as a talking statue. I’ve been thinking that DC needs its own talking statue, who would speak for the citizens of the city to the dysfunctional city government and to a Congress where we have no voice. If we can’t have voting rights, at least we can make satirical personal attacks!

I thought I’d try it out first in Coladams Circle so that the neighborhood denizens could air their grievances in an anonymous forum. However, I quickly learned that the limited population of Coladams Circle (exactly 2) made anonymous posts next to impossible, and it quickly devolved into childish name-calling. I gave up the idea.

Now I’m searching for a DC-wide Pasquino. It should be a statue of some stature, in a prominent public place where public officials and commoners alike often pass. The right “talking statue” could carry some weight in DC’s public discourse; who would NOT listen to the great figures of history? So far, here are the top contenders:

Albert Einstein, 23rd and Constitution, NW

Pro: He’s really, really smart.
Con: That doesn’t carry as much weight in politics as one might think.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Conn. Ave and M St. NW

Pro: Giant Figure in American Literature
Con: American Literature matters less in America than anywhere else in the world (including France)

Maine Lobster Man on the Southwest Waterfront

Pro: A common man with Yankee common sense.
Con: Members of Congress are terrified to leave the Capitol grounds and would never venture into SOUTHWEST!

Gandhi, Mass Ave. and 21st NW

Pro: People should listen to a non-violent idealist.
Con: People won’t listen to a non-violent idealist.

Sailor, 7th and Pennsylvania NW

Pro: I bet this guy’s got a LOT to say.
Con: Present administration doesn’t really seem to care.

Ethan Allen, U.S. Capitol Building

Pro: He carries a sword.
Con: He also hawks furniture.

I think good old Ethan Allen, due to his preferable situation inside the Capitol building, offers the most promise. I can see it now: Eleanor Holmes Norton’s staffers could sneak into the Capitol early each morning and post pasquinades received from constituents on the statue, where other members of congress would be forced to confront them!

That’s, of course, assuming the other members can read.


Ar-Jew-Tino said...

Very funny post. My vote would be for Ghandi because if you were traveling in NYC, you could just use the one at Union Square. As long as you could get past the sleeping homeless men.

Anonymous said...

The Gandhi statue in DC is a little too intimidating -- the old man was sculpted on what was a VERY COLD day, if you know what I mean...

Anonymous said...

What about good ol' George Mason? Seems like he'd have the right personality for it, and he's out-of-the-way enough to not get scrubbed clean nightly.

Richard said...

Pasqualino Frafusco visitd mono-sylibic washington dc; media as sucabus but NOT as funny! Yea...the tits & ass is as good, but just barely.
Narrator: The ones who don't enjoy themselves, even when they laugh. Oh yeah. The ones who worship the corporate image, not knowing that they work for someone else. Oh yeah. The ones who should have been shot in the cradle... Pow! Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Follow me to success, but kill me if I fail... so to speak.' Oh yeah. The ones who say we Italians are the greatest he-men on earth. Oh yeah. The ones who are noble Romans, the ones who say 'That's for me,' the ones who say 'You know what I mean.' Oh yeah. The ones who vote for the right because they're fed up with strikes. Oh yeah. The ones who vote white in order not to get dirty. The ones who never get involved with politics. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Be calm, calm.' The ones who still support the king. The ones who say 'Yes, sir.' Oh yeah. The ones who make love standing in their boots, and imagine they're in a luxurious bed. The ones who believe Christ is Santa Claus as a young man. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Oh, what the hell.' The ones who were there. The ones who believe in everything, even in God. The ones who listen to the national anthem. Oh yeah. The ones who love their country. The ones who keep going, just to see how it will end. Oh yeah. The ones who are in garbage up to here. Oh yeah. The ones who sleep soundly, even with cancer. Oh yeah. The ones who, even now, don't believe the world is round. Oh yeah, oh yeah. The ones who are afraid of flying. Oh yeah. The ones who have never had a fatal accident. Oh yeah. The ones who have had one. The ones who, at a certain point in their lives, create a secret weapon, Christ. Oh yeah. The ones who are always standing at the bar. The ones who are always in Switzerland. The ones who started early, haven't arrived, and don't know they're not going to. Oh yeah. The ones who lose wars by the skin of their teeth. Oh yeah. The ones who say 'Everything is wrong here.' The ones who say 'Now let's all have a good laugh.' Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

Alejandra said...

I agree. This post was super clever. I'm voting for Maine Lobster Man, only because he seems like "a man of the people," and would probably hold the most water with present administration. Although Einstein is ridiculous cute. I kind of just want to curl up in his lap and tell him stories about my day. Like a giant metal grandpa.

kwest said...

Alejandra: It's funny you say that: it seems like everyone gets their picture taken sitting on Einstein's lap. He doesn't seem to mind.

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