Tuesday, March 09, 2010

They were tearing down Liberty yesterday and carrying off the pieces. Hardly anybody noticed.

Disassembling Liberty in the Fog
We were walking along Lake Mendota to the UW Memorial Union yesterday afternoon when we saw Lady Liberty quietly being disassembled in the fog. Piece by piece, large styrofoam chunks of her forehead were being carried off and stacked up on the Union Terrace. It was a strange, surreal scene, made stranger and more eerie by the fog. The absurdity briefly reminded us of Polanski's short film, "Two men and a Wardrobe.

Disassembling Liberty in the FogLiberty being demolished. The stealthy ritual in the fog. Virtually no one there to witness the disappearance. It's hard not to see some metaphorical resonance in all that, some symbolic commentary on the tattered state of our democracy, but we're not going there. Besides -- been there, done that.

Disassembling Liberty in the FogStill, it does seem strange that Lady Liberty's torch never went up this winter. There she stood, buried in ice and snow nearly up to her eyeballs, and her torch was never held proudly aloft but just lay there, abandoned on the frozen tundra at her side.

We asked the two guys carrying the wardrobe-sized chunks of Liberty what had happened. "One of the pieces we needed to put up the torch was lost," we were told. "We looked everywhere, but we just couldn't find it."

There's that metaphorical resonance again. It just seems unavoidable.

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