What Are Statues For?

The trashing of statues when certain political or military figures come to be viewed as villains is nothing new. The ancient Egyptians used to do it all the time, just change the plaque on the pedestal to the name of the current pharaoh, forget the name of the old one, and done.
So, history is a little bit blurred. But, is teaching history the purpose of statues? We have books for that, we have films, we have museums, and now, we have Wikipedia, which isn’t perfect but it’s probably coming closer to the truth than previous methods.
Why have statues at all? Well, they are a nice thing to have in the middle of a park, or a traffic circle. Sort of a central design element, to tie things together. Also, they are a convenient place to arrange a rendezvous. They’re big, they’re easy to find. When you say ‘you can’t miss it,’ if you’re talking about a statue, you really can’t.
Also, I suppose it’s nice to honor those people we appreciate. But, it should be somebody everybody appreciates, because everybody is going to have to look at the thing once it’s put up. So, statues should only be of people that everybody likes. Actors, sports heroes, astronauts maybe, stuff like that. Statues of animals are cool, too. Politicians and military people are almost automatically bad choices, because they’ve alienated some people along the way, maybe even killed some people, and that’s a slap in the face to anybody who was adversely affected. Same goes with the naming of streets, and schools, and airports. I hate flying in and out of Reagan airport, and there are undoubtedly some people who feel the same about JFK.
They will all still have their place in books and museums. That should be enough for them.

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