There’s a pretty great story going around the internet this week about a social justice campaign at a little liberal arts school named Wellesley College. A fucked up piece of shit man named Tony Matelli (which is Italian for mansplain, btw) created a sculpture of another white man that’s stirring up a lot of controversy. For starters, not a single minority is represented in the sculpture, which is absurd considering a plurality of the population is people of color. While sculptures of white men are unfortunately ubiquitous, this one was particularly appalling, because the sculpture is that of a balding piece of shit white man in his shitty white man underwear for white men (rapists). Obviously the only purpose the sculpture serves it to trigger sexual assault victims and throw them into a state of panic.
Luckily, the students of the little all-girls school outside of Boston aren’t having it. A petition has been passed around, and it’s already rallied a third of the schools population to support the movement to have the sculpture removed. This is a really good thing.
You see, there’s a serious issue in this country with bad ideas being allowed to prosper under the guise of artistic expression. This is entirely due to the fact that people have lost sight of what art is supposed to be. Merriam-Webster’s defines art as, “a form of expression that serves to reaffirm popular ideas that I agree with and make me feel comfortable.” Pieces of work and statues like Sleepwalker are anything but that, and we should stop letting people get away with offending everyone simply because they’ve labelled their bullshit as “art.”
It didn’t used to be like this. In the past, problematic literature was gathered up and burned, and that worked well for a really long time, but unfortunately we had to discontinue book burnings because of the horrendously large carbon footprint they produce. Since then, the art world has been taken over by people that I don’t agree with, and there’s very little we can do to silence them. Sure, we can try to contact their employer or fuck with their personal lives, but is that enough? That’s just reactionary. We need to get to a point where people are afraid to disagree with us from the get go. We need to kill art.
The removal of Sleepwalker from Wellesley will just be a small victory, but those victories add up. Which is why I want to point people’s attention to another offensive sculpture that really bothers me and I don’t like it so I want it gone.
I’m talking about the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.
Erected in late 2011 as a monument to Dr. King and the struggles of the African American community, the memorial ostensibly served a valiant purpose. But, as soon as they unveiled it, my jaw dropped. I thought to myself, “wow, didn’t anyone think this might trigger people who have been sexually assaulted by black men?” Everyone agreed with me.
Now, two years later, the monument is still there, and people like me are still being victimized by it – every second, of every day. Because guess what guys, I was sexually assaulted by a black man several years ago. To this day it still replays in my mind, and every time I see that statue I have to think about it.
I get on the train. I sit down. He walks in. I look around, I’m all alone.
He sits across from me. I grab my purse.
We go another stop, no one gets on. I reach in my purse for my phone and my mace.
He starts, “Hey do you know if this train go-“
I panic. I grab for my mace, my purse falls and the contents fall everywhere.
I race towards the door, he starts stealing my stuff and putting it back into my purse.
“Hey, you dropped,” he grunts at me, in some kind of primal, fucked up way.
“RAPE! IM BEING RAPED HELP!” I yell, as I defensively spray my mace at just the right moment.
He screams as the train stops, a police officer boards.
BANG BANG. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.
The officer fires his weapon.
BANG. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.
Another officer enters the train.
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.
They both fire at my assailant. In a moment, he’s lying motionless on the floor in a pool of his own blood.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” asks the officer. “It’s okay, it’s over. He’s dead.”
Two more officers enter the train.
BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG BANG.
The rest is just a blur.
This is what I live with. This will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Is it so much to ask that we change the world so people like me don’t have to live in terror? Is it so much to ask that we make laws regarding language and expression to protect victims from further being victimized by art and artists? Is it so much to ask… to tear down the MLK Memorial and remove all references to it in the history books?
A couple of years ago, they removed every utterance of the n-word from Huckleberry Finn, I’m just asking that we remove one n-word in one city. Is that too much to ask? Thank you. Namaste.