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LENIN LAMPOONED, FREMONT STYLE

“This is disgusting.”

 

“Those who find any excuse to like the statue of Lenin or any other tyrant/mass murderer are simply insane.”

 

“The statue is a gross domestic insult to the individuals and families of the individuals who have fought and/or died in wars fighting communism.”

 

“Sad misguided ignorance is what I see, and shame on the city council or Fremont or whomever agreed to this phallic erection.”

 

Those are a few of the public comments on the Lenin statue .

 

We’re not unsympathetic to people who find any statue of Vladimir Lenin offensive. But context is everything, as they say. Context provides meaning. The meaning of the statue of Lenin is in its “situatedness” in Fremont. How inappropriate would it be situated in Washington D.C. next to the Lincoln Memorial? But it isn’t, it’s in Fremont, Washington. Fremont, the place that invites “your inner sprite to come out in play”.  Fremont, a boldly creative Seattle neighborhood proud of its opened-minded embrace of people and the arts, unfazed by controversy, home of the Troll Under The Bridge, the free-wheeling, clothing optional Solstice Parade, and a “repurposed” cold war rocket that bears the Fremont crest and motto, “De Libertas Quirkas,” which means the “Freedom to be Peculiar.”

 

Lenin in Fremont has appeared with a clown nose, dressed as Uncle Sam, draped in Christmas lights, and more. Some citizen was inspired to give him a painted red hand, a tacit acknowledgment of Lenin’s murderous, bloody history. All of which feels appropriate in the cultural context of Fremont.

 

Humor weakens the power of monsters to frighten us. Lenin in Fremont is in the same spirit as Mel Brooks Broadway play, Hitler in Springtime

Facts:

 

  • Slavic artist Emil Venkov designed the 16 foot tall bronze sculpture, which weighs over 7 tons and took ten years to complete.

 

  • It was installed in Poprad, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) in 1988, only to be toppled a year later during the Velvet Revolution.

 

  • American veteran Lewis Carpenter was teaching in Poland when he found the statue lying face down in the mud, waiting to be scrapped for the metal.

 

  • A sculptor himself, Lewis recognized the skill of the artist and the boldness of his portrayal of Lenin as a violent revolutionary, not just an intellectual. He mortgaged his home to buy the statue for $ 41,000 and brought it home to Issaquah, Washington.

 

  • Lewis died in a car accident in 1994, leaving the fate of the statue in limbo. His family knew it would be hard to sell a home in Issaquah that came with a 16 foot tall, 7 ton statue of Lenin in the backyard. They arranged to move it to Fremont where it could be publicly displayed.

 

  • It’s “For Sale.” The asking price started at $150,000 and has risen to $300,000. Better hurry before the price goes up, or someone else snaps it up before you.