by Brick Walters, 12/31/99
Dc: This is DCR, a news program not to be believed. The new century
and millennium is being celebrated all over the world in ways large and small,
although the large ways get our attention. London has the Millennium dome. Seattle
is having a Fire Ceremony. There's a gigantic "Peace Bell" in Newport,
Kentucky. And in Sedentary Falls, Montana, Brick Walters discovered a monument
that speaks volumes.
(sfx: outdoor ambiance)
Mayor: It will be bolted right here, for all to see.
Brick: Right in front of city hall?
Mayor: Yup. It's going to be made of solid bronze. There'll be a plaque with an
inscription that says "We Watched the millennium begin in Sedentary Falls,
Montana, January 1, 2000."
Brick: (considering it) Huh. And it's going to be how tall?
Mayor: (brightly) Twenty Five feet tall! That's taller than the Abe Lincoln sculpture
in Washington DC! And my husband Ed will be the model for it.
Brick: Mayor Pat Toohey of Sedentary Falls is thrilled when she talks about the
town's millennial monument ... a giant bronze sculpture of a man watching TV.
Mayor: We watch a lot of TV here, and that's how we're going to experience the
change over to the new millennium. We're going to watch it start in New Zealand,
and move across the South Pacific and Asia, India, the Middle East, Africa and
Europe, the eastern United States and all those snotty people in Times Square,
and finally here. By the time it gets to Sedentary Falls ... we will have seen
plenty of it.
Brick: Maybe you'll have seen enough.
Mayor: Right. But like most everything else on TV, we'll still watch it anyway.
Brick: The sculpture, to be called "Window On The World," is thought
to be one of the first major works of it's kind depicting a human watching television.
It is a natural next step, says Chandra Burger, curator of Sculpture at the American
Museum of Unpopular Art.
Burger: We have sculptures of a lot of people who are long dead frolicking and
lifting heavy objects and staring wistfully into space ... in a lot of cases,
just standing there.
And for the human being, I'm sorry, but "just standing there" is not
a natural activity. Just look at Michelangelo's David.
I'm sorry, but when I see it I think "POSED!"
The great thing about a sculpture of a man watching TV is that ... that's what
a man does. At least the ones I know ... so it's going to look very natural.
Mayor: The thing I like about it is ... it speaks to who we are. Unpretentious,
not extravagant, straightforward, simple ... some would say boring ... folk.
Brick: Why not something more grand?
Mayor: We considered that. We talked about a tower ... a convention center, a
dome of some kind, an arch, an obelisk, a plaza, a park ... and there were problems
with all of them, mostly having to do with money. That's when we settled on a
statue. And the Spluttering Electronics Corporation is footing half the bill because
the set is going to be modeled after their popular model #4988, "The Distractor."
So it's like placing a product in a movie, but in this case, the movie never ends.
Brick: Why not something more traditional? Like citizens striding boldly into
the future with their arms linked or something like that?
Mayor: There were some people on the city council who wanted that. But that wouldn't
be a true work of art. It would be more like that Soviet style propaganda, you
know? Because that's not how we're going into the next century. The fact is, if
you look at us and who we are and what we're doing, we're going into the next
century sitting down.
Brick: Sheila Livingston is a former alderman.
Livingston: You're darn tootin' I wanted something heroic. That's what a statue
is all about. Heroism. What's heroic about plantin' your butt in front of the
tube? But they got the votes, so I guess they call the shots.
Brick: Don't you think it'll become something of a tourist attraction?
Livingston: That's what I'm worried about. We'll be a laughingstock! We'll be
famous for "the big couch potato." Honestly, I can't think of a single
good thing about that. Well ... it'll hide the front of city hall.
Brick: But in spite of the opposition of some people in town, the project is going
ahead, with the work beginning January 1. And the subject of the sculpture, Mayor
Toohey's husband Ed, is confident he can sit still through the six hour mold making
Ed: Oh, sure. What have we got that day? We've got the Gator Bowl, the Cotton
Bowl, and the Rose Bowl. There's eight - nine hours right there. As long as I've
got somebody to bring me my beer, and nobody steps on the catheter ... I should
be just fine.
Brick: The millennial sculpture, "Window on the World," should be completed
in time for the Sedentary Falls New Year's Celebration in the year 2001. Out in
the field, I'm Brick Walters.
Dale Connelly Reporting Home