Sunday, February 14, 2010

Strangeness Cast in Stone

There are, all told, more things that defy logic than there are things that make sense.

Did you know, for example, that the 30-foot tall Martin Luther King statue that will be the centerpiece of the MLK memorial is being sculpted and assembled in China by Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin (pictured above)? Does this strike you as strange? Do you find it likely that someplace in the US, an Afro-American artist has been commissioned to do a giant statue of Sun Yat Tsen?

Probably not. The primary question begging to be asked, of course, is this: "Is there not a single African-American sculptor talented enough to take the MLK project on?" The secondary question is, "If so, how come he/she isn't doing it?"

There's not much information on the official MLK memorial website about the Chinese connection. We are told, "the Memorial is conceived as an engaging landscape experience to convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, hope, and love. Natural elements such as the crescent-shaped-stone wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons, and public addresses will serve as the living testaments of his vision of America. The centerpiece of the Memorial, the 'Stone of Hope', will feature a 30-foot likeness of Dr. King."

There are numerous appeals for funds--the memorial was originally budgeted at $120 million but there will undoubtedly be some cost over-runs--and a proposed completion date sometimes in 2011. Recently, a Washington Post story said the original sculpted head had been rejected by the memorial committee as being "too totalitarian" in appearance. The Chinese, apparently, may have mistaken MLK for an American Mao.

OK, that's all for this item. Here's another one from the other side of the fence. According to News of the Weird: April Gaede, who four years ago guided her teenage daughters, Lynx and Lamb (performing as "Prussian Blue"), to a brief music career singing neo-Nazi songs, announced a new project recently on the white nationalist Web site She offers a no-fee matchmaking service to fertile Aryans, hoping to encourage marriage and baby-making -- to help white people keep up with rapidly procreating minorities.

And lastly, from a January issue of London's Guardian:

Only four days after the January earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, two Royal Caribbean cruise ships made a port call at a private enclave about 60 miles up Haiti's coastline from ground zero, turning loose hundreds of frolickers for "jet ski rides, parasailing and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks." Haitian guards employed by the cruise line manned the resort's 12-foot-high fences, but about a third of the passengers still declined to leave the ships, too upset by the unfolding disaster nearby to enjoy themselves. Royal Caribbean said it had made a large donation to the rescue effort and promised, also, to send proceeds from the port's thriving craft stores.

That's all, folks!

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