Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Little-known Fact of History

The original plans for the Washington Monument included a giant statue of an elephant impaled on the obelisk. A scale model was constructed, but the funds ran out before the elephant could be constructed. This is a great pity when you think about the possibilities for souvenirs in the form of bongs (not to mention chocolate dispensers that are worked by pressing down the trunk).

UPDATE: In comments, Another Kiwi wonders whether the enlarged trunk orifant on the left elephice is another aspect of elephant evolution. I think it is more a matter of changing artistic conventions. Renaissance elephants are typically shown as well-upholstered, even obese, reflecting Rubenesque standards of pachydermal pulchritude.
Standards changed around completely over the centuries as slimness took the place of robust diet as a marker of social status, and these days elephants are more likely to be shown as slender. Some say these unrealistic depictions are responsible for the growing problem of elephantine eating disorders.

11 comments:

Another Kiwi said...

The left hand line drawing has the same type of enlarged trunk opening that the Fishnet Elephants had. I assume it is a later evolution of the species.
Glenn Beck tells me that the Elefunk is a facist.

Smut Clyde said...

You peer into the enlarged trunk opening and you can see anywhere in the universe, as in Borges' story The Aleph-ant. Then it squirts cold water in your face to the amusement of onlookers.

ckc (not kc) said...

...what did they stick through the donkey?

Smut Clyde said...

On account of the architect speaking indistinctly, the donkey was impaled upon an odalisque.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

it's merely an artful rendering of twig and berries.

MY POINT.

mikey said...

Actually, it makes a great deal of sense. Where you're going wrong is to try to put it in a European, or antipodean, or otherwise non-american context.

Critters. Huh? We KILL them. We have guns, with large bores and complex, extended magazines full of lovingly described high velocity lead slugs that rip through animals and indians and pakistanis without a moments hesitation.

And you think for one minute we're going to put some kind of animal, from which we most certainly did not "evolve", in the monument to one of our greatest leaders.

Context, my hemispherically challenged friends, CONTEXT...

Substance McGravitas said...

Washington MONUMENT.

MUNCHA!

Smut Clyde said...

The post reads "Washington MONUMENT".
It has always read "Washington Monument".

merc said...

Washington needs that penie skewerd neliphant more than we care to know.

ankshar, only half anxious.

Another Kiwi said...

The photo of the plumper Pachyderm killing the last of the Yangtze River dragons is poignant in the extreme. Said pachyderm would have attracted the River Dragon by mellifluous underwater hooting through it's trunk and then beaten the Dragon to death, only to take the penis bone to trade for salt.
Curse the explained salt trade

fish said...

Curse the explained salt trade

LOL