Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why We Don't Have a Marianne

Marianne, the allegorical symbol of the French Republic, has been around from the start of that republic. Most famously, she has been depicted in Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. Several years ago, the French government moved from a allegorical yet generic representation to using actual, famous French women as models for her inspiration.

The first one was Brigitte Bardot; her bust was quite décollété, but not like the one in Delacroix's painting. It was, to say the least, startling but very popular and likely to stir French pride.

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot
While that was a tough act to follow, others replaced her with changing tastes and times. There was Mirielle Mathieu, Catherine Deneuve, Laetitia Casta, and others.

Catherine Deneuve
Laetitia Casta

The present representation of Marianne is Evelyne Thomas; but not without criticism from the French elite, who have the necessity to have an opinion about everything.

Evelyne Thomas, the latest one.

While, courtesy of the French over 125 years ago, we have Lady Liberty in New York harbor, we have not yet moved in the actual direction of casting some real woman in that idealistic, allegorical role. Our depiction of her on coinage is decidedly unimaginative, for example.

A while back I suggested using Britney Spears as a model in allegorical representations of liberty. (Or liberté, if you prefer.) That, given our National Temperament and our political inability to agree on anything, would go over like a lead balloon. Or why not Snooki as Lady Liberty, for God's sake? She effectively represents the underdog, which Americans side with.

Or any other choice. If we personified Lady Liberty, naming her Jennifer (for example), there would be someone immediately taking exception of her race, her ethnicity, her name, her age, where she came from, her body, how she's dressed, and her politics (if known). It would become another political issue, of which we have enough. One more reason to tie up the government, and nothing gets done.

In short, I think that the problem we have is that we've become a nation of petty crabs and scolds! We might consider changing our national motto from "E pluribus unum" to "I bitch, therefore I am."*

This is our national malaise. No, it's not because we don't have a Marianne; it's because we've become too darned intolerant. We ridicule people because of what they eat, how they talk**, what flags they display, what recreational pursuits they choose, or so forth. This is nothing less than cultural imperialism on some peoples' parts! 

We have to be mired in a national hyperseriousness as a result. A little whimsy, or humor, is automatically viewed with suspicion.

Remember: Cinco de Mayo is a recently accepted American tradition, and others are likely to be adopted. Especially if it provides and excuse to drink!

*An apology to M. Descartes.
**Bugs Bunny talks with a New York accent, and I think that's cool.


Mariette said...

You left out another reason: If we had a Lady Liberty based on an actress or model, people would fondle the statue's breasts!

Juliette said...

Seriously, who would be likely to be chosen as the embodiment of Lady Liberty? Lady Gaga?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Laetitia Casta was the best one.

John A Hill said...

How to choose a model to represent all of the cultures of our land?
Perhaps, no color, no facial features ...
... just breasts.
And to keep people from rubbing them, you could have them already cupped by hands as a part of the sculpture!

(I'd volunteer as the hand model...)

Anemone said...

Just so the model has Hollywood boobs!

Cherdo said...

One of the most irksome things about our country (of late) is the intolerance - you're exactly right. What happened to "everybody do your own thing?" And the people shouting about liberties are the most intolerant of all! Freedom of speech has turned into, "you're free to think like me."

Mike said...

I think we should put "E pluribus unum" back on our money. Just to stir the pot.

bakku-shan said...

We have become a nation of fussbudgets.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

She had a nice pair of tits, didn't she?