a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Friday, August 24, 2007

Washington and Johnson

A new bronze statue of U.S. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at a college bearing their names has students laughing because, from all angles, it looks as if there is a serious man crush between the country’s founding fathers. Students and alumni at Washington and Jefferson College have been posting comments on an Internet group at Facebook that one of the school’s mascots appears to be involved in some self-gratification, too.
The self-taught sculptor responsible for the design, Alan Cottrill of Zanesville, Ohio, included a rolled up version of the U.S. Constitution in Jefferson’s hand and made the two presidents appear to be strolling arm-in-arm at the corner of Beau and Lincoln streets in Washington, Pa. But many people in the small city have also been sharing in the joke that the placement of the scroll, when seen from points east and west, looks a bit like an giant baby-maker held comfortably in Washington’s hand.
Cottrill said it was not his intention to craft something that would make the esteemed presidents appear as if they were gay. “No, no, no,” he said, adding that anyone who sees something erotic in his work is “stretching it.” It’s not the first time that Cottrill received wide attention over the nature of his figures. About 10 years ago, students were aghast because his rendition of Cro-Magnon man at nearby California University of Pennsylvania had an exposed dart of love, the size of which was grossly exaggerated. Before that work was completed, Cro-Magnon’s private parts were covered with a vine.
What really makes the touchy-feely George and Tom statue odd is the fact that history tells us that the men were not even friends in life to begin with.
Washington and Jefferson College spokesman Bob Reid said he was aware that people were whispering about the 10-foot-tall statue shortly after it was unveiled May 18. The school, however, had not received any complaints about its appearance, he said.

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