It’s time to remove all statues because all statues are bad

(Washington Post illustration; photos by The Washington Post, AP, Getty Images and iStock)

Once we have gotten rid of all the Confederate monuments that are cluttering up American cities, devil’s advocates wonder, what will become of other statues? What about the ones that actually enhance their surroundings? Will they be the next to go? Look, maybe all statues are bad. If you start from the concept that all statues are bad and ought to be gotten rid of, what is there to object to in each particular statue? Let’s explore this concept together!

(Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Perpetuates unrealistic beauty standard that women have two wings and zero heads.



Beautiful and sad, but whoever they cast as Mary is obviously the same age as her son.


Manneken Pis

Art sends a message. This art says, “This fountain is full of urine.”

(Tiffany Clark for The Washington Post)

The Peanuts characters

No one looks like this, horrifying, harrowing to behold. These were two-dimensional cartoon drawings of what I presume were actual people-like people; to render them three-dimensionally transforms them into monsters. Terrifying, alarming, not to be stood.

(AP/The Post-Journal)

Creepy Lucille Ball statue

Lucille Ball made people laugh, and this statue makes people laugh that high-pitched nervous laugh of terror that you laugh while backing away, which is better, I guess, than not laughing.

(Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Outdoor Cat Tombili

Perpetuates unrealistic beauty standard for cats (has shoulders, made of metal).

(Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Alice in Wonderland


(Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images)

Enormous Reflective Bean

This is confusing and might attract an enormous squirrel or bird made of reflective metal who wanted it for a snack, and then where would the city of Chicago be?

(Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

The Awakening

Lacks realism; why would anyone voluntarily go to National Harbor?

(Caileigh Hynes/Getty Images)

Make Way for Ducklings

Where are the stakes? This should be moved into the middle of a busy intersection.

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Balloon Dog

This is neither a balloon nor a dog.

(Wallace Woon/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Botero Bird

Birds don’t look like this. Something is the matter with this bird.

(Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Colossus of Rhodes

I know it doesn’t exist anymore, but I hear bad things.

(Evegenii Iaroshevskii/Getty Images)


Shouldn’t be operating a slingshot while nude; could get hurt.

(David Zalubowski/AP)

Mount Rushmore

Nothing wrong with it in itself save that it implies the existence (as others have noted) of enormous stone genitalia somewhere deep in the rock.

(Neil Hall/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)


This is nice! How did they get the stones up there? Fascinated about those stones!

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Big Einstein Statue

This is bad because you can sit on its knee and ask it for science — but it doesn’t answer, and this gives Santa an underserved edge. Also, people who look at this statue will think, “Of course it was easy for Einstein to accomplish all that science; he was the size of a small building!” and this will discourage STEM.

(Joël Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

The Thinker

I am worried about this man. Any problem that can have been engaging him in thought has doubtless been resolved by now, and someone should tap him on the shoulder and let him go.

(Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

Great Sphinx

The risk that even one person might be asked what goes on four legs in the morning, two in the middle of the day, and three at night and then as a consequence have to marry his mother is TOO GREAT!

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Fearless Girl

I hate this. A bull symbolizes an upwardly trending market, whereas a bear symbolizes a downwardly trending market; the little girl staring down the bull represents, I guess, that women are not afraid to want stocks to do badly? But that is the opposite of what the company who put it there as a publicity stunt was trying to say! Wild! Confusing! Does not spark joy. Get that girl out of the way of that bull!

(Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Little Mermaid

Perpetuates unrealistic beauty standard for humans (half-fish) and fish (half-human).

(Mark Humphrey/AP)

Weird Melted Statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest

This is the only good statue.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Enormous Rio Jesus

Too big.


Rockefeller Center Atlas

Unconvincing. The Earth looks too light. Atlas appears to be malingering.

Russian Statue of a Lab Mouse in Spectacles Knitting Some DNA

The ASPCA commercial of statues. It is too sad and makes me want to hurl a shoe.

(Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Ronald McDonald

Is this really a statue? Just in case it is, I would like it removed.

(Angelika Warmuth/DPA/AFP/Getty Images)

Maman the Big Spider

Either remove it or put it in Statuary Hall over any other statue you would like to get out of there. Jefferson Davis is not a compelling statue on his own, but Jefferson Davis being devoured by an enormous spider is the next best thing to not having him there at all.

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Read a transcript of Petri’s June 16 live chat

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