The Washington Post

Washington Monument breaks — and other metaphors

This isn’t even subtle! (Matt McClain for the Washington Post) (Matt McClain/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

If this were fiction, this is the part that my editor would circle angrily and write, "This is overkill."

“The Washington Monument is cracked, proving even Mother Nature can't resist a good metaphor,” comedian Aparna Nancherla joked on Twitter after the earthquake.

Not only is it cracked, it might be broken.

Even the elevator! And now it’s closed indefinitely! 

There goes the nation’s if not largest, then certainly most historic and beloved phallic symbol. The Washington Monument used to be like your aging uncle: that thing you never visited even though you lived in the area and felt vaguely that you ought to. And now it’s broken. I’d better call him!

Now it's just another DC feature that looks less good in pictures than Anthony Weiner thinks it will.

"But the FDR and MLK memorials are all about jagged hunks of fallen masonry," the Washington Monument suggests, trying for damage control. "We hear the rugged, cracked, unfinished look is in for monuments this year.” But coming in these tough political times, it seems a bit thick.

What’ll happen next? Will the Grand Canyon mysteriously rename itself the Used To Be Grand But Won’t Be As Grand For The Next Generation Canyon? Will the Golden Gate Bridge suddenly reorient itself so that it leads to Nowhere? Will a strange accident happen to Mount Rushmore that leaves everyone on it looking not only constipated, as usual, but also chastened? Maybe when we achieve a perfectly just society, the Martin Luther King memorial will assemble itself. At this point, who knows.

It’s almost too much. It’s not even subtle at this point. Maybe it’ll refuse all repair efforts until the Historic Realigment that we hear is about to happen in Congress finally occurs, all in-fighting ceases, and peace and prosperity come to reign. And then I hear the Leaning Tower of Pisa plans on straightening out as well.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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