She turned me into a newt!
June 17, 2005 1:04 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: yahoo news links to pop stories = not good



 
No, I think it happens elsewhere.
posted by rush at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2005


And on the same page, clickthroughs to Yahoo-hosted information on Bewitched: The Movie. What a coincidence.
posted by Rothko at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2005


Hey, if you can't have some fun with your history of burning people alive, what can you have fun with?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:13 PM on June 17, 2005


Yes, but that's not making a mockery of events where Americans killed Americans, solely for the purpose of advertising.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:13 PM on June 17, 2005


Er, the mockery is for advertising, not the witch-burnings.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:14 PM on June 17, 2005


I'm guessing this kinda link used to only appear on Fark...
posted by jonson at 1:14 PM on June 17, 2005


whatever, England and any other country that has received BBC tv for the past couple decades could do with a couple giant statues of Tom Baker dressed as the Doctor next to some police call boxes.

I'm gonna go ahead and call this a good thing.

I mean hell, we've got a statue of Jackie Gleason as Ralph Cramden outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal here in NY.
posted by shmegegge at 1:17 PM on June 17, 2005


I say it's Fantastic. People actually died there, were actually burned alive by their neighbors.

I don't see it as making a mockery of what happened, so much as trying to put a good hearted, modern spin on a tolerant view. Let's see, it's in Massachusetts. That may provide a clue as to how to understand what's up.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:17 PM on June 17, 2005


Arnold schw--?---gger's home town was going to put up a statue of him, but he requested that the funds be used to help the poor.

On the other hand, he's a real person rather then a TV show, and putting it in Salem does seem a little offensive (was the origional TV show set there as well?)
posted by delmoi at 1:19 PM on June 17, 2005


I'm pretty sure I recall seeing other fictional characters being made into statues in other countries... the Little Mermaid for one ... and what about the little pissing boy in Belgium?
posted by eatdonuts at 1:20 PM on June 17, 2005


Yes, but a statue of a real witch, in a place where thousands of people, who were not at all related to witch-craft, were burned to death? A memorial to those who died is great, but a memorial to disney-ish characters just makes a joke of it.
Or so I think.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:22 PM on June 17, 2005


Just a little historical fact that I should have mentioned earlier: No 'witches' were burned in Salem, merely hanged or pressed to death.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:23 PM on June 17, 2005


Nobody actually got burned in Salem. They were mostly hanged, or pressed to death under heavy stones. On the topic of ridiculous statues, there's the contretemps over financing a statue of Brian Jones, that was supposed to be paid for by the sale of tiles from the swimming pool in which the unfortunate ex-Rolling Stone drowned.
posted by Faze at 1:24 PM on June 17, 2005


I'll eagerly await a follow-up report of frenzied locals building scaffolds in an attempt to hang this new statue.
posted by clevershark at 1:25 PM on June 17, 2005


there's certainly something to be said for being offended at the issue. But I think there's also something to be said for trying to allow a community to move past it several hundred years later.

For example, in England: look up the history of the word "Guy." hint: Guy Fawkes.
posted by shmegegge at 1:26 PM on June 17, 2005


Does that statue weigh as much as a duck?
posted by psmealey at 1:26 PM on June 17, 2005


pressed to death under heavy stones

I stand corrected!
posted by nervousfritz at 1:27 PM on June 17, 2005


There was also the statue of Rocky Balboa that once stood in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

You could argue that that statue was pretty darn offensive to Philadelphians.

As it happens, you can now have that statue (or a lifesize duplicate thereof) for your very own: it was recently offered on eBay for a million bucks. (Nobody bid on it, oddly.)
posted by GrammarMoses at 1:30 PM on June 17, 2005


Why would this only happen in America? Interesting link, silly way to introduce it.

In any case, I don't think this is that big of a deal. Apart from the potential advertising angle, this isn't that different from a lot of the witchcraft-related tours and events already going on in Salem. Glorifying and exploiting tragedy is something that Salem does best.
posted by sellout at 1:30 PM on June 17, 2005


Rocky stood in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art until the cognitive dissonance grew too great and it was moved to its rightful place, outside the Spectrum. It was offensive, at least to this Philadelphian.

But Elizabeth Montgomery was teh hot.
posted by fixedgear at 1:35 PM on June 17, 2005


Art with hot chicks is better than art with saggy faced contendah's.

And yes, Americans are the only one's silly enough to make a statue depicting a character from a fictional show or book. Never happens anywhere else in the world. Can I claim my European heritage and point and mock America now?
posted by fenriq at 1:40 PM on June 17, 2005


Citizen-
This would have been a better post with some more information in the FPP, like a link to the history that you've since asserted or something.
posted by OmieWise at 1:40 PM on June 17, 2005


Thank you psmealey, I was waiting for that.
posted by santiagogo at 1:42 PM on June 17, 2005


Wow, that's a whole new level of tasteless insensitivity. Reminds me of when Acclaim tried to advertise a game about the undead on real tombstones about a year ago. It doesn't happen only in America, but it seems to happen with more depressing frequency then anywhere else.
posted by Vaska at 1:43 PM on June 17, 2005


To be even more pedantic, no 'wiches' were hanged or pressed to death in salem at all, it all happened in what is now the town of Danvers, right next door. Also, the one man who was pressed to death, Giles Corey, was killed for _not_ admitting that he was a witch. (because, if he had admitted it, the state would have gotten all his property, which included a very large farm, which he wanted to pass on to his sons)

Growing up in Mass, you learn this kind of thing early on.
posted by Davidicus at 1:49 PM on June 17, 2005


as someone already pointed out, the Little Mermaid has a statue. There's plenty of statues of fictional characters, and a good post would have a link to some, like this (which I found with 30 seconds of google). These are just English ones though.

I know a few witches, and while they'll sometimes get worked up about their depection in popular culture, I find it hard to believe they'll get worked up over this one.
posted by inthe80s at 1:50 PM on June 17, 2005


Is it really that offensive? I mean, I suppose the marketing aspect is a bit distasteful, but I love the idea that there's a monument mocking the past superstitions of that area. Nobody is going to forget the reality of Salem's past, especially not because of a statue of currently half-remembered sitcom star.
posted by Doug at 1:51 PM on June 17, 2005


This reminds me of the Mel Gibson as Braveheart statue in Stirling.
posted by missmerrymack at 1:55 PM on June 17, 2005


This is no different than the statues of the pied piper in Hamelin. Some scholars suspect that the real children of Hamelin were abandoned to starve when food supplies went scarce. Others believe that they were expelled because they carried disease. Yet that doesn't stop the town of Hamelin from commemorating the mythical pied piper.
posted by unreason at 2:00 PM on June 17, 2005


Not only in America: breaking news on a "Hogan's Heroes" statue coming soon...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:08 PM on June 17, 2005


Was that in poor taste?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:08 PM on June 17, 2005


This is tasteless and capitalizing on suffering, which means it will fit right in in Salem. For the visitor to Salem there are lovely old (and still lived-in) houses, a nice museum, some Hawthorne related sites, Wiccans, and cheesy witch tours next to stores with stuffed Cerberus dolls. A Bewitched statue doesn't really change the tenor of the place.
posted by nflorin at 2:08 PM on June 17, 2005


Only in America does Will Ferrell deserve a link but not Nicole Kidman. ;-(
posted by mischief at 2:26 PM on June 17, 2005


ZenMasterThis, it would be if they had Bob Crane dressed in some of his post-Hogan's Heroes outfits or not quite dressed as the case was.
posted by fenriq at 2:29 PM on June 17, 2005


'The connection to Salem is tenuous at best," said John Carr, a former member of the city's Historical Commission. 'They didn't live in Salem on that show. They came here 40 years ago to film three or four episodes, and now we're going to put up a 'Bewitched' statue at one of our most visible intersections."

A TV Land executive defended the selection of Salem for the statue. 'The idea behind our landmarks is to celebrate America's favorite TV characters in places where there is a connection to them," said Rob Pellizzi, senior vice president of TV Land. TV Land hopes to unveil the Montgomery statue June 15.

Although Ralph Kramden, of 'The Honeymooners" fame, was a Brooklyn bus driver, TV Land put his statue outside the New York City Port Authority bus terminal. Mayberry was a fictional town, so the network put a statue of Andy and Opie Taylor, from 'The Andy Griffith Show," in Raleigh, N.C.

By contract, TV Land's statue of Mary Richards, heroine of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show," was placed in downtown Minneapolis, where Moore tossed her tam-o'-shanter into the air before every episode. The statue of Dr. Robert Hartley, the psychologist of 'The Bob Newhart Show," sits in Chicago, where the comedy was set.

'Those landmarks all have been very well received," Pellizzi said. 'When it came to Samantha Stephens, we felt Salem would be a fun place to make a connection." [Boston Globe | April 28, 2005].
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on June 17, 2005


The statue was cast as a ``whimsical' and ``magical' tribute by TV Land executives and fans.

Supporters donned such witch garb as capes and pentacles, waved star wands and yelled "All hail queen Samantha' as the statue by StudioEIS in Brooklyn, N.Y., was unveiled.

"I think it's an inspiration to all the young little witches out there and it's wonderful that Samantha Stevens has come home,' said witch Leanne Gordon, 34, of Revere. [Boston Herald | June 16, 2005]
posted by ericb at 2:35 PM on June 17, 2005


Yes, but a statue of a real witch, in a place where thousands of people, who were not at all related to witch-craft, were burned to death?

Study, and then get indignant.

Not only were none of them burned, the actual number killed was 20.
posted by obfusciatrist at 2:38 PM on June 17, 2005


pressed to death under heavy stones

Moooooore weight!
posted by COBRA! at 2:39 PM on June 17, 2005


Salem Witch Trials Memorial.
posted by ericb at 2:41 PM on June 17, 2005


I seem to remember that London has Tower of London tours and Jack the Ripper tours...via bus or via walking. And the wax museum is a veritable cornucopia of icky remembrances.

So, no. It's not "only in America".

That said, I loved Bewitched. I was so disappointed as a child when I couldn't make my nose do that wiggle and have things magically happen. Come to think of it, I'm still pretty disappointed...I want my self-cleaning house.
posted by dejah420 at 2:59 PM on June 17, 2005


Keep it real. Let the Hysterical Commision do it's work. They'll issue a report in time. Nothing to see here. Move along please.
posted by ahimsakid at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2005


How long until it's defaced by the followers of Judge Roy Moore as a promotion of witchcraft? Afterall, witch statues are ok, but the 12 commandments aren't?

Oh wait, it's in the north half of the U.S. where brains aren't damaged by the heat.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:21 PM on June 17, 2005


Wait a minute, Kickstart70, are you saying that brains in the southern half of the country are pre-cooked? Damn, better not let the zombies hear about that. Or wait, maybe someone should slip them a note and a bus pass to Texas......
posted by fenriq at 3:26 PM on June 17, 2005


Historical Fact: No person suspected of witchcraft, in the united states, has ever been burned to death. Other forms of mortal torture, yes. But burning . . . no.
posted by johnj at 3:45 PM on June 17, 2005


Yes, but a statue of a real witch, in a place where thousands of people, who were not at all related to witch-craft, were burned to death?

Whoops, I really didn't mean thousands. It's just the word that came out. I think it was a little more than 20, though. And I was the first to mention that they weren't really burned. I have a tendency to say things I don't mean.
I try to say what I mean, and not mean what I say.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:59 PM on June 17, 2005


That Mel Gibson/Barveheart statue is the ugliest thing ever.
posted by breath at 4:14 PM on June 17, 2005


"By the time the hysteria had spent itself, 24 people had died. Nineteen were hanged on Gallows Hill in Salem Town, but some died in prison. Giles Corey at first pleaded not guilty to charges of witchcraft, but subsequently refused to stand trial. This refusal meant he could not be convicted legally. However, his examiners chose to subject him to interrogation by the placing of stone weights on his body. He survived this brutal torture for two days before dying. " [SalemWeb]
posted by ericb at 4:19 PM on June 17, 2005


Oh wait, it's in the north half of the U.S. where brains aren't damaged by the heat.

Or wait, maybe someone should slip them a note and a bus pass to Texas......

Hey! Shaddup!

(And I'll take heat exhaustion over frostbite any day.)
posted by Cyrano at 4:22 PM on June 17, 2005


Rye Ergot and Witches
posted by johnj at 4:33 PM on June 17, 2005


it is tasteless, but expected--and seeing Dr. Bombay, a Mrs. Kravitz (i think), and Tabitha is cool. (Where's Esmeralda tho?)

It's not like we didn't kill tons and tons of people back then, for all sorts of stupid reasons. And the show did do a good service in changing the images of witches.
posted by amberglow at 4:39 PM on June 17, 2005


I know a few witches, and while they'll sometimes get worked up about their depection in popular culture, I find it hard to believe they'll get worked up over this one.

You underestimate the capacity of religious people to get worked up about things.
posted by pterodactyler at 5:13 PM on June 17, 2005


"The network has placed similar statues of famous sitcom characters around the country..." It's like out-dated pop culture gone terribly wrong. These folks are unclear on the concept, I think.
posted by PuppyCat at 5:39 PM on June 17, 2005


Yes, but a statue of a real witch, in a place where thousands of people, who were not at all related to witch-craft, were burned to death?

A real witch?? Son, I hate to tell you this, but... No, I can't do it. Yes, Citizen, there is a Samantha! She exists as certainly as love and generosity and twitching noses exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Samantha! It would be as dreary as if there were no Citizens. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Samantha! You might as well not believe in BobTM.
posted by languagehat at 5:43 PM on June 17, 2005


Hey, if you can't have some fun with your history of burning people alive, what can you have fun with?

The Spanish Inquisition?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:47 PM on June 17, 2005


Rye Ergot and Witches

I recall an episode of "Secrets of the Dead" (PBS) - "The Witches Curse" on the case for rye ergot likely causing the delerium and hallucinations of the Salem accusers.

"Ergotism -- ergot poisoning -- had indeed been implicated in other outbreaks of bizarre behavior, such as the one that afflicted the small French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit in 1951."
posted by ericb at 5:56 PM on June 17, 2005


And I'll take heat exhaustion over frostbite any day

Even in this place I feel the cold burning fires of Hell within me.
posted by James I at 7:07 PM on June 17, 2005


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