Sunday, July 22, 2007

This is a procrastination post. Bob will be home late tonight and I have the house almost ready - just odd bits and pieces yet. I'm reading the new Harry Potter book - getting happily caught up in that world - and at the moment taking a break between both of those ventures to check in here.

My online chat group has been discussing Mt. Rushmore (because one of the members saw it recently) and I realize both how strongly I feel about that monument and that many people actually like the work and think it appropriate. That surprises me. What I wrote and feel about the monument is thus.

I haven't been to Mt. Rushmore and my at a distance opinion has been "Why mess with a perfectly good mountain? " Not only has such an effort seemed excessive and expensive to me, but it has seemed offensive, like official graffiti . The monument seems to scream "We're here and we're important. We're Americans. We can do what we want. Look at us!"

I know humans will always change the earth to inhabit it (at least as long as we can get by with surviving here). We will use Earth's resources to support life. Building homes, roads, offices, factories, mining, farming, drilling - all of these kinds of things I believe we should do these things ways that are as sensitive to the earth's well being as practicable - but do it we must and will. Building art, beauty, monuments to human actions even also pleases me. I also love sculpture. But sculpting the faces of national heroes into a natural feature as big and striking as a mountain feels like hubris and overkill. I'm uncomfortable with the reworking of a mountain as a symbol of national pride. I believe our attitude toward the natural features among us should be more we than pride and domination..

2 comments:

Ruth said...

Interesting perspective.
I don't think I'd really given the issue much thought. It always seemed hokey and over the top (and not really in a fun way) but I hadn't thought through WHY I felt that way. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I quite agree with Ruth - I've never thought about why I didn't like Mount Rushmore - you expressed it very well. Thank you.
I want to apply your reasoning to your country's foreign policy ... but that would open up a whole can of worms, wouldn't it? (Especially since I am not an American.)
So ...
happy knitting,
Janey
janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca