FDNY backs down
January 18, 2002 7:16 AM   Subscribe

FDNY backs down on plans to build a multi-ethnic representation of the WTC flag raising. They "will consider new options."
posted by Steven Den Beste (18 comments total)
How about a big amoeba or jellyfish or other spineless non-decisive organism.

And why don't we make it out of Nerf.
posted by dong_resin at 7:39 AM on January 18, 2002

You mean it's still too soon to start re-writing history? Sheesh.
posted by ratbastard at 7:50 AM on January 18, 2002

From the article: In the midst of the harangue about the color of the memorialized heroes are the city's black firefighters. New York City is 44.7 percent white, 27 percent Latino, 26.6 percent black, but those minority groups each represent about 2.7 percent of the city's 11,000 firefighters.

Underrepresentation of two white firefighters on a planned statue: A national outrage!

Underrepresentation of thousands of non-white firefighters in the department: No big deal.
posted by rcade at 7:51 AM on January 18, 2002

Nice thing about the Iwo Jima statue is that it represents the guys who in fact raised it. Including one Indian--aka, Native American. No complaints about this because American army at the time was segregated and so I guess that indian was passing--or acceptable as "white."
posted by Postroad at 8:18 AM on January 18, 2002

Maybe it's a good thing - maybe we're going to get beyond seeing skin color as the divider or as MEANING 'ethnic diversity". I mean, the "white" firefighters, knowing NYC, could be from Italian, Irish, and Polish backgrounds - all VERY diverse, but still just considered "white" if you only look at skin tones. Just making a point. :-)
posted by thunder at 8:21 AM on January 18, 2002

How many threads does this story require?
posted by Skot at 8:24 AM on January 18, 2002

How many different ways are there to be scandalized by the WTC monument hubbub?

Tim Cavanaugh, OJR
posted by y2karl at 8:51 AM on January 18, 2002

Aside from the racial issue, I've problems with notion of turning that particular image into a monument.

The photograph was posed and structured by the photographer, and wasn't really spontaneous (as Iwo Jima was). While I don't doubt it's sincerity, there was a conscious effort to mimic the WWII monument.

Seems like we can find something better to honor those who gave their lives at the WTC.
posted by aladfar at 8:57 AM on January 18, 2002

The issue: the picture was of three firefighters, all of whom happened to be white.

The department decided the picture was Iwo Jima-esque and decided to make the statue. But to up-front try and prevent any calls of racism, decided to not use the three firefighters actually in the picture but make up their own.

Then don't use the picture, dummies. I think this is the main issue. They are pointing to using a picture of an actual event, then changing it. If they want a racially diverse monument, fine. Just don't change reality.

(as for Iwo Jima being spontaneous.. the picture and statue we have and know was staged, not spontaneous.. but was a re-enactment of an earlier raising that used a flag that was too small)
posted by rich at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2002

How many threads does this story require?

posted by chrismc at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2002

If they had just copied the picture, the race issue would never have come up. Do any of you disagree with me on that?

Why do people make things so hard on themselves?
posted by schlaager at 9:34 AM on January 18, 2002

Underrepresentation of two white firefighters on a planned statue: A national outrage!
Underrepresentation of thousands of non-white firefighters in the department: No big deal.
— rcade

At least read the part of the article you quoted! There are fewer than 600 non-whites and more than 10,400 whites in the FDNY — that's the whole point. If the department is to be accurately represented by three figures, they should all be white — although I guess a little plaque on the base of the statue could claim that one of the three had a latino and a black great-grandparent...
posted by nicwolff at 10:58 AM on January 18, 2002

I think the FDNY made the right decision in this case. At this point, a memorial based on this picture would serve only as a point of contention rather than any tribute.

Back to the original issue, I think if the original photo was of three black men raising the flag, we would never hear of a memorial being made of it in the first place; if we had, for those who have taken sides on this issue, I bet most positions in this argument (on both sides) would be reversed: some whites would feel cheated if it were not changed, and some blacks would feel offended if it were.

I don't think we need a memorial statue based on a photograph that portrays the real thing any more than we need a movie based on the news coverage of the actual tragedy. Let a picture be just a picture (especially in a country where the general public has problems with the distinction between symbolism and reality).

So why not new ideas for a memorial for firefighters? My suggestion for a statue: a full-size fire truck with full crew (as diverse as you wanna be), engraved with the names of those lost.
posted by troybob at 11:10 AM on January 18, 2002

How many threads does this story require?

As many as it takes for the rest of you to admit that Steven Den Beste was right all along. As many as it takes.
posted by jjg at 11:16 AM on January 18, 2002 [1 favorite]

Well, most won't agree with me (besides trobob *high five*), but I'm relieved. This is a step in the right direction, somebody realized you shouldn't rewrite history for the sake of PC.
posted by tomorama at 2:16 PM on January 18, 2002

Why don't they just make them all representations of Rudy. He has been painted as the second coming of Jesus for quite some time now, so why not?
posted by adampsyche at 3:14 PM on January 18, 2002

rcade has pointed out to me that I misread his post above in which he points out that people are a lot more exercised over the diversity represented in the statue than over that of the department itself. I believe this is where I say "d'oh!".
posted by nicwolff at 10:55 AM on January 19, 2002

I vote for a big granite cube, painted blue. Who needs humanity?
posted by rushmc at 8:50 AM on January 20, 2002

« Older   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments