Friday, October 27, 2017

Giant Naked Woman Will NOT Reside on National Mall

Following up on my previous column, I received an email from the National Park Service yesterday (10/26/17) saying that they are NOT issuing a permit for the 45-foot statue of a naked woman to be part of the Cartharsis on the Mall event in November. I can only imagine that lots of sensible citizens sent their emails to this guardian of our national monuments to say what a bad, bad idea the addition of this provocative statue would be. Many thanks to all my readers who spoke up!

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Litterst's message:

The National Park Service found that some proposed structures would be inconsistent with established resource protection guidelines and the public’s use and enjoyment of the National Mall. These elements, including the “R-Evolution” statue and a memorial temple, were therefore not approved as part of the pending public gathering permit. 
The request to locate R-Evolution on turf near the Washington Monument for 91 days and the temple for 119 days is significantly in excess of the five-day time restriction set forth in the National Mall Turf Management Guidelines and would likely cause significant damage to and require replacement of the underlying turf and soil. Additionally, the proposed nearly 48-foot height of the statue introduces a visual element that would diminish the property’s significant historic features by altering the setting and historic character of the National Mall landscape. [emphasis added]

Thank you again for your interest in National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Mike Litterst
Chief of Communications
National Park Service
National Mall & Memorial Parks

We also applaud the NPS for replying to those of us who sent an email on the subject, giving us this encouraging news. I am enormously relieved that the dignity of the Mall will not be violated by such a statue (although the Catharsis event, which will indeed take place, sounds less than dignified). 

Thank you, National Park Service.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Activists Challenge the Nation With Their 45-Foot Naked Woman

Oh, my! Have you seen what some people are trying to erect on the National Mall in D.C.? Nothing less than a 45-foot-tall naked woman made very realistically of steel tubing.

The sculpture is called R-Evolution (so clever, eh?!) and is the handiwork of artist Marco Cochrane. It is headed for the Mall thanks to the efforts of a group of activists, artists, and community organizers for an event known as  Catharsis on the Mall.

You might feel a tad embarrassed looking upon this towering, lifelike female who seems to have just stepped out of the shower, wondering where she put her robe. I imagine that the parents and teachers of the countless children who swarm the Mall each month will probably feel the same way.

But Mr. Cochrane, explains the piece this way (it is part of a trilogy of female figures): "They are intended to challenge the viewer to see past the sexual charge that has developed around the female body, which has been used for power and control, to the human being.  They are intended to de-objectify women and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive."

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard this argument from the fearless folks on the left . . . It's the one that maintains that if we would just throw off the rusted shackles of prudery and embolden women to display their bodies unabashedly, women could then get some respect. They would no longer be "ashamed" of their bodies and would feel the empowerment that has long been due them.

Unfortunately, this plan, as evolved as it sounds, just does not work. Women have been wearing less and less, exposing their bodies more and more, since the beginning of the last century. However, strangely enough, the objectification of women proceeds apace. In fact, from what I see, it has only gained momentum. Note the unprecedented glut of pornography in every conceivable format as well as the worldwide plague of sexual trafficking and forced abortions, not to mention the inhuman 4-inch heels that female talk show hostesses and newscasters are made to wear, the pressure to surgically enhance women's figures, and so on.

The truth is, as some astute writers have pointed out, true empowerment for a woman lies in large part in her modesty, not her bold display of more and more of her body parts. A tasteful covering of provocative features brings the attention of her listener or her companion to her face, to her words, to her actions. The companion is not distracted by her sexuality and can instead focus on what she is saying. What an idea!

We are foolish to think that men, given enough exposure to exposed women, will stop seeing them in a sexual light. Men have been wired this way from creation and this will certainly continue. I do not advocate burkas. I do call for sensible and attractive clothing--on both men and women--to help us see each other as humans first, without the overt distraction of a strip-club sort of presentation.

According to a USA Today article (Sept. 29, 2017) on the controversial naked steel woman, "The sculpture is being brought to Washington, D.C. [from San Francisco] by the organizers of Catharsis on the Mall, an annual three-day event that features 24-hour activities, music and an effigy burn." And it's all about equal rights for women, too, with special emphasis on resurrecting the Equal Rights Amendment. The event concludes with a torching of effigies. Now, if that doesn't sound like an uplifting family activity, I don't know what.

If you'd like to tell the National Parks Service what you think, to permit this display or not, you can contact them here.
Photo courtesy of

Monday, October 2, 2017

Miracle of the Rain

Something remarkable happened yesterday. It was Sunday, October 1. Once again, like every year, the pro-life faithful were set to line a short stretch of U.S. 1 at 2:00 and hold up signs to passing drivers, reminding them of the miracle of new life and that it must be protected.  For one hour, as their children and grandchildren played behind them, these people would form a few dozen links in the Life Chain stretching across the country.

But it was raining. It had been raining since the day before. Not on and off, as we usually see, but nonstop, at times a drenching downpour, then lightening to an even shower. It poured through Saturday night and all Sunday morning, and drops continued to spatter the windshield as we drove to the rendezvous point a few minutes til two. We arrived just in time to grab a sign and form a line facing the oncoming traffic. But as we did this, the clouds ran out of water. They still hung darkly overhead, and the wind blew, but we stood with our paper signs, dry and comfortable.

Cars zoomed past us. Some drivers looked, many did not. Some honked their horns and cheered, most passed silently. I waved to one car that was slowing to a stop at the traffic light. In the passenger seat was a boy not more than ten, staring at me. He did not smile. Just before they pulled away from the green light, he raised his little hand and gave me the finger, and I could discern the driver beside him leaning toward me, making the same gesture. I stared back at the boy, my eyes wide as I involuntary cried "No!" in my dismay. He and his grown-up companion were the only ones to offer such a greeting to me that day.

Three o'clock came and we disbursed slowly. As we gave back our signs and chatted with friends, raindrops began to fall on us. Soon the thickening shower drove us into our cars. The rain had stopped for one hour and fifteen minutes--exactly enough time. The drenching rain kept up for several more hours then, without another break.

So I consider this the Miracle of the Rain. Not as spectacular as the Miracle of the Sun we will celebrate later this month, but still a divine touch that reminds us that we are being looked after.

I do pray for another miracle, though: that the boy who offered us a vulgar insult will remain uncomfortable with that memory, so that in the course of time he will examine why all those people saw fit to stand by the road that day when he was ten, below threatening skies, smiling and waving at him and holding signs about babies. Who knows--he might one day stand by the road with just such a sign or try in some other way to change things so that the Chain is no longer even needed.