Late last week, a statue of Lucille Ball in her hometown of Celoron, New York started getting attention for being terrifyingly ugly.
Now, this is one of those internet things where the statue actually went up in 2009, but now, six years later, is suddenly getting nationwide attention, leading the townspeople to have to struggle to keep up with their newfound viralness. Here’s the town’s mayor— who, from his low mustache-adorned grumble, I can only assume is the real-life inspiration for Ron Swanson— talking about how “unbelievable” all the attention is.
And here’s Mayor Ron Swanson talking about the plans for the statue. The sound quality is low (to distract from the gravity-defying picture, I assume), but he says that if they can raise the funds, they’re looking to replace the statue “from the shoulders on up.”
To his credit, the artist who created the statue, Dave Poulin, knows it’s total shit. He’s also struggling with all the attention suddenly thrust at what he calls “by far my most unsettling sculpture, not befitting of Lucy’s beauty or my ability as a sculptor.” He also freely admits “Yes, in retrospect, it should have never been cast in bronze and made public, and I take complete ownership of that poor decision.” Though as he describes it in a letter to the Hollywood Reporter, the work started out as a gift to a couple who was supportive of him early in his career. The couple then donated the statue to the city (worst regifting ever), which happily accepted it. It wasn’t until years later that people started getting upset, and that, Poulin says, is pretty shitty on the town’s part.
It puzzles me when an art work is donated to a community, they accept it, and then get angry and insist you redo the art work at your own expense.
Especially considering Poulin first offered to redo the statue at his own expense years ago, but was turned down by Mayor Swanson.
Mayor: "We kept it up in remembrance of Lucy-ugly or not." @WKBW— Hannah Buehler (@HannahBuehler) April 7, 2015
Now, the mayor says he absolutely will not let Poulin anywhere near Lucy.
Mayor says he has a new artist. He is NOT interested in using the old artist. @WKBW— Hannah Buehler (@HannahBuehler) April 7, 2015
As for the internet, well… the internet got all internetty over this one pretty quick. (As in people crammed the full six years of jerkdom into the last few days.) There’s a Facebook group called We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue that had such an overwhelming barrage of half-hilarious, half-hurtful attention that the person who created the page ended up basically apologizing for its existence.
But as we all know, the internet is content to simply let this rest with memes. No, the internet is not done until death threats have been made.
He also tells me the attention with this is unbelievable. He's received death threats @WKBW— Hannah Buehler (@HannahBuehler) April 7, 2015
Okay internet, can we maybe cool our shit on this one. We dug up a six-year old story, upset a small town’s mayor, maybe cost an artist $8-10,000, definitely at least brought him a whole bunch of embarrassment, and have now threatened his life. We’re done here.