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Samizdata quote of the day

I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.

- G. K. Chesterton – quoted today on the BBC Radio 4 programme Quote Unquote – exceptions anyone?

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • What about that Rodin statue, those 6 (?) council members in … where was it? Dunkerque? Or some other French town?

    Not a committee exactly, I know.

  • lemuel

    That’s exactly the kind of thing I meant.

    Are there any group statues of those Founding Fathers? Perhaps signing their Declaration of whatever it was? Or perhaps collectively amending their Constitution?

  • ian

    The Burghers of Calais

  • Ian,

    Ay! Burghers of Calais. Silly moi. I knew it was some northern french port.

  • Axel Kassel

    If by ‘committee’ we mean a group convened or assembled to consider or act on some topic or task of common interest, then I suggest the Iwo Jima flag-raising group of US Marines depicted at the Corps memorial in Washington, DC, would qualify.

  • toolkien

    Who decides to put up statues in parks in the first place?

  • ian

    There are plenty of statues around with two people but I suspect that’s too small to be a committee – two people can get things done…

  • Pham Nuwen

    Well ‘across the pond’ over here in Canada, we do indeed have several statues of committees, the one I’m most familar with is this one (I walk past it on a regular basis):

    Famous Five

    Not to put Nelly and her compatriots down, but like all committees they managed to ‘fix’ the wrong thing. Instead of fighting to give women the right to vote, they should have been fighting to remove the right of men to vote.

  • Susan

    There’s a very large and very famous painting of the signers, I think it was by John Singleton Copley. But no statues I’m aware of.

    There’s the four Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima, but that’s not exactly a “committee” is it?

  • Susan

    Oh wait, that painting was by John Trumball, not Copley:

    The Signing of the Declaration of Independence

  • Again not truly a committee, but two of the four can be said to have served on a few together: Mount Rushmore.

  • Just John

    I believe that committees are represented by the flocks of pigeons and other small birds that stand on the shoulders of the statues of great men.

  • R C Dean

    And the award for comment of the day goes to . . . Just John!

  • Verity

    If Axel Kassel thinks the statue of the US marines raising the flag at Iwo Jimais a representation of a committee, then by the same yardstick all the heroic statuary of the Soviet era and copied with such outstanding lack of taste throughout the Third World could be considered statues of “committees”.

    Alex, unless they sat down and read the minutes of the last meeting, it wasn’t a committee.

  • Neil Ferguson

    What a perfect illustration of the current bifurcation of the West: the poignancy of Kassel’s earnest suggestion vs. the pedantic, supercilious moral equivalency of Verity’s response.

  • Verity

    Axel Kassel appeared to have earnestly missed the point of Chesterton’s lighthearted remark, at the same time diminishing the glory and drama of the Iwo Jima statue by referring to it in that greyest of terms: a committee.

    What on earth is ‘supercilious moral equivalency’, expecially of the bifurcated variety? The West, Neil Ferguson, is a vast, many faceted kaleidescope of opinions and attitudes, which is what makes blogs so entertaining.

  • Mandrill

    To the committee of One…

    Nice to know that in this time of international uncertainty, Neil Ferguson is certain that ‘the West’ (whatever that means) is becoming polarised between those who cultivate militarised/ patriotic/ imperialist blinkered views of the past, and those who prefer to see the playfulness and absurdity of certain alternative aspects of life.

    To suggest that one of these positions is more ‘immoral’ than another is to only exacerbate the language of conflict, encouraging us all the direction of prejudice, self-importance, ‘certainty’, the ‘choosing of sides’ in a new war. Thanks for that. ‘The West’ is not in the midst of a new Cold War, where everyone must unite or be condemned.

    We can’t start thinking that neo-con rubbish, or we’ll all be in the s**t . Do we want more ‘poignant’ miltary statues popping up in the decades to come?

  • Peter Melia

    Here is a photo of (some of) the Burghers of Calais. It is in the awe inspiring grounds of Stanford University.

    Oops, sorry, tried to insert the photo here but could not do it. Until someone can tell me how to add pictures to comments, you’ll all just have to go to Stanford to see for youselves.

  • Peter Melia

    Just been re-looking at my private photo of the 6 Burghers. I certainly could be a committee, they are looking in all directions except at each other and none of them seems to be communicating with the others.