The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, June 25, 2005

With Ashcroft gone, common sense prevails.

Everyone knows about John Ashcroft's hopelessly silly insistence on covering up a statue's breast with a curtain that cost some $14,000 of taxpayers' money. But who would've guessed that after he left, the curtain would be quietly retired? Me, for one. My favorite quip on the issue was from (I think) Air America, which went something like "Thank you, John Ashcroft, for protecting us from something that didn't even offend our grandparents."

You know, if would-be Oliver Cromwell (and that's something of an affront to Cromwell) John Ashcroft actually represented the "real" America, wouldn't the curtain still be there? Did someone finally realize that being afraid of a sculpture that depicts the human body is incredibly retarded? Whatever the case, John Ashcroft can go hang out with a replica of David, for all I care. The justice statues are pretty classy as far as I'm concerned.

With barely a word about it, workers at the Justice Department Friday removed the blue drapes that have famously covered two scantily clad statues for the past 3 1/2 years.

Spirit of Justice, with her one breast exposed and her arms raised, and the bare-chested male Majesty of Law basked in the late afternoon light of Justice's ceremonial Great Hall.

The drapes, installed in 2002 at a cost of $8,000, allowed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to speak in the Great Hall without fear of a breast showing up behind him in television or newspaper pictures. They also provoked jokes about and criticism of the deeply religious Ashcroft.

The 12-foot, 6-inch aluminum statues were installed shortly after the building opened in the 1930s.