Sometimes A Shield Is Just A Shield

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Wasilla Alaska, the hometown of ex half-governor Sarah Palin, is in the news again. Artists Jim Dault and Shala Dobson were commissioned to create an outdoor sculpture for Wasilla High School. The $100,000 work of art is entitled “The Warrior Within” and is pictured on the left.

The problem? Some parents and students think it looks like … girlie parts.

The principal, Amy Spargo, has put a tarp over the sculpture because of complaints that it vaguely resembles a vulva. That high school students would display such juvenile thinking is understandable, but the reaction of the parents is mind boggling.

Spargo claims the tarp isn’t censorship, it’s there to protect the sculpture. Spargo is concerned vandals might damage the artwork. There’s a teachable moment in leadership, caving in to threats of vandalism.

The design of the sculpture was presented to the art committee and the school board, and was given a Β green light. They obviously didn’t take into account the anatomy-challenged philistines of Wasilla.

H/T: Pharyngula, The Mudflats, LA Times, Frontiersman.

67 thoughts on “Sometimes A Shield Is Just A Shield”

  1. id707,

    I don’t know many immigrants well so not able to comment but my neighbor has a Polish cleaning lady who speaks very little English and has only been here a few years but she was an optometrist in Poland but can’t work as one here so she cleans houses.

  2. Off topic but on the eternal one of mankind

    I get 3 visits a day from homeservice which presents me on weekends a varying assortment of helpers. Today was a new face, a fat (most unusual) woman from the Kurd part of Turkey. (Yesterday was an Eritrean)

    I shall not detail the conversation, but beneath the surface of an immigrant who could not reach higher on the Swedish employment opportunity scale, was hidden a CEO capability. No proof is offered other than blinding quickness, irony detection, situational comprehension, broad contact surface and the usual female simultaneous capability.

    Again, under the rough surface of an oyster resides sometimes a pearl.

    She is in my experience a good example of the difficulties of immigrants reaching a useful employment in Sweden corresponding to their capabilities.

    Most of my immigrant helpers fall into that category.

    How is it in America?

  3. With all the comic and satirical (almost wrote satyrical) ability here, you should be able to produce a script to power an opposing power to Rush Limburger. Kudos to all.

  4. Blousie,

    on it side, it looks like a golden leech — given the per capita amounts of fed $ that goes to Alaska, I would nominate for the state sculpture. It even has its hand out.

  5. Blouise, Sometimes the phrase ‘entangled particles’ come to mind when we get to posting – I am greatly complimented by that. πŸ™‚

  6. Oro Lee,

    Don’t you think it would be better for the students to be called the Wasilla Cyclops than the Wasilla Pus_____s … okay, I’ll quit too. πŸ˜‰

  7. I’m not the type to see a devil under every bush, or a tallywhacker or cootchie in every piece of abstract art. And I don’t understand the minds of those who do, and especially those who take offense when they do. But if this piece (probably should quit using that word) represents such, well done.

    I did find the hand off-putting, but was glad that I didn’t see Jesus

    I should quit.

    But with that last horrid thought, I realized that I would never again be able to gaze innocently upon the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

    I really should quit.

    But all this reminds me of a joke. With the money of a thankful patient whose sight was restored, a new wing of the hospital was built in honor of the eye-surgeon. At the dedication, the curtain covering the wall mural was removed revealing giant eyeball against a cosmic background with the good doctor painted in the pupil. When asked of his initial impression, he expressed thanks that he did not practice ob-gyn.

    OK, now I quit. Piece be with you.

  8. Lotta,
    I sought out the American pairs erotic art exhibition in Lund when I came in 68, then friends in Stockholm insisted on showing me SHE. I could not relate to it. But it seemed to mean a lot to the Swedes; their pride over not being prudish (or whatever), and the kids got a bit kick out of it, not the sex (giggle, giggle) thing but saw it as an expression of fantasy and playing.

    One bit of irony (as always): You weren’t effected by the jury duty and in need of a break?

    St Louis has special place in my heart because of a girl I met there.
    But that’s another story.

    Blouise, allow me…..
    Who/what is Twain (Samuel Clemens)?
    Your declaration of difficulties are something we all have.
    I could say more but won’t. (you know what comes first: thought or words—of course it’s thought)

  9. lotta,

    I love Twain and visit it whenever I’m there. I can’t explain the feelings it calls up in me as each time I try the words seem to hide rather than illuminate what I’m trying to say.

  10. OK Idealist, I’ll comment on it:

    we have a Serra sculpture in St. Louis downtown. He does monumental works in steel. Giant walls,sunk in the ground circumscribing some arbitrary space. The pieces would be set up and they were left to the vagaries of the weather.

    It sits in a city block all by itself on grass. When I had jury duty I would go walk around it and in it. It was one thing from the outside as the light and your perspective changed and something else entirely if you went between the magnificently large slabs to the inside and stood near the ‘corners’ of the triangle it forms. It affected you. It made the light inside different, the sounds from traffic changed and depending on where you stood and the max ambient light you started with it would play with your head. It made you feel different. It crept up on you.

    The city fathers hated it and many of our glitterati and intelligentsia hated it and it’s just one of those things- you love it or hate it. I wondered if any of the relentless critics ever actually spent any time with it.

    Serra’s thing (I later read) was to play with space, to have his work alter it in such a way as to alter the viewer. To make them feel engulfed or securely wrapped or overwhelmed or isolated or ? If it had been smaller the effect would have been more pronounced. This work was very large so there was no way you would get claustrophobic. It’s so big that you really can’t get a good picture of it. It’s walls formed sight lines to gaps in the slabs toward historic St. Louis landmarks.

    I enjoyed that sculpture every day at lunch while on jury duty since it sits on the block next to the Civil Courts block and almost always had it to myself, to my amazement.

    The thing about installation art is that you have to be there. “She” could be horrifying or revelatory (in a good way) but what can you say if you don’t experience it. Sounds weird but so much of everything does. Hell, I’d give it a walk-through. πŸ™‚

  11. Turn it on its side (90 degrees) and rename it The Cyclops … problem solved.

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