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Surprise Surprise! Everybody and his/her/zhe’s uncle sent this in nomination, and seeing as February is Black History Month…

Behold: the new monument to Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The sculpture, called “Embrace,” was installed weeks ago on the Boston Common at the spot where Dr. King gave a speech in 1965. It depicts the hug that husband and wife enjoyed at the announcement he had won the Nobel Peace Prize — minus heads and bodies. The artist is Hank Willis Thomas, who said: “This work is a reminder that each of us has in us the capacity to be either of those two people or actually something inspired by and more influential.” Uh-huh, well, okay….

Alas, the unveiling provoked a furor, largely over the illegibility of the thing. What’s going there? Kinda looks like Mrs. King is wrasseling with a giant moray eel. I’m unaware that deep-sea diving was one of Dr. King’s enthusiasms. Personally, I like it for the abiding mystery it will induce in passers-by. Thousands every year will mutter to themselves, WTF?

A Bostonian complained:  “I know the design came from a photo of MLK and Coretta hugging each other. But why not have a sculpture of their faces instead? We see Paul Revere’s face in 2 locations. Yet for MLK, we get arms? I live here, and I’m honestly disappointed, Boston.”

Another said: “I’m sorry but this new MLK sculpture in Boston is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Coretta Scott King’s cousin, Seneca Scott, 43, of Oakland, CA, averred that the statue seemed to depict an heroically large male generative organ. “If you had showed that statute to anyone in the ‘hood, they’d have been like, ‘No, absolutely not’,” Mr. Scott said.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

30 Responses to “February 2023”

  1. happiface February 2, 2023 at 3:06 pm #

    mr king cheated on his wife many times–he was a total womanizer –ok so was JFK–both total arses

    • Zoltar February 2, 2023 at 4:08 pm #

      Thank you for that enlightening and edifying observation, happiface.

      You might want to reflect on the fact that most of the prominent figures in history, by your criterion, were all total arses.

      I guess we should disregard the accomplishments and cancel the memory of every damned one of them.

      Would that please you?

    • canuk February 3, 2023 at 12:57 pm #

      Doesn’t mean he didn’t love his wife; American are very prudish sometimes.

      Although the ‘sculpture is a real eyesore”

  2. AlD666 February 2, 2023 at 3:17 pm #

    Not a good look. The great Dr. King deserves better. That’s for damned sure.

    • AZJJ February 2, 2023 at 7:33 pm #

      I would agree… IF he was ever “great”. He was a sexual predator and communist. IF you consider that “great”… you must be a Biden fan.

      BTW: The statue looks like King’s colon.

      • canuk February 3, 2023 at 1:03 pm #

        You have clearly illustrated the paucity of your intellect with that myopic comment.

  3. MetalsGuy February 2, 2023 at 3:25 pm #

    UG LEE

  4. peter m February 2, 2023 at 7:15 pm #

    Three words… W T F. Can’t make out head or tail of this monstrosity.
    Maybe it was meant as an insult? What do n.g.ers need a head for?

  5. Dr. Coyote February 2, 2023 at 10:06 pm #

    Yeah, whatever you think of MLK, pretty much this piece of alleged art had to win this month’s EotM award. Slam dunk.

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  6. Chris at Fernglade Farm February 3, 2023 at 7:01 am #

    Hi Jim,

    Shouldn’t art convey meaning to an observer? I’m not sure exactly what this sculpture is attempting to say, or who it is even about. A couple of disembodied hands holding what looks to me like a sausage conveys the idea of confusion. It seems disrespectful to the individuals, no matter what their flaws or achievements.


    • RobRhodes February 17, 2023 at 11:21 pm #

      What this sculpture says is that some day when Bostonians really need some bronze there will be no question about which statue to melt down.

  7. John K February 3, 2023 at 9:26 am #

    Considering that its color scheme almost exactly matches that of the famous Wall Street bull sculpture, maybe they should relocate this to stand opposite that. Might make for some even more entertaining interpretations.

  8. Disaffected February 3, 2023 at 9:31 am #

    From this angle I see either a giant turd or a giant phallus. Maybe that was what they were going for?

  9. holdfastspike February 3, 2023 at 12:56 pm #

    i think this truly captures black aspirations and struggle within the american experience. their every desire, hope and dreams encapsulated forever in writhing phallic fetid feces.

  10. Vegan Shark February 3, 2023 at 4:35 pm #

    The spirit of MLK eating a Salvador Dalí-esque ear of corn on the cob.

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  11. Vegan Shark February 3, 2023 at 5:04 pm #

    Which is more disturbing — the final wheeze and death of civilization, or aesthetic farts like this sculpture?

    Come to think of it, they may be one and the same.

  12. tucsonspur February 3, 2023 at 6:19 pm #

    It’s a disgusting display of black belligerence in bronze, much more appropriate for someplace like Harlem or some other inner city hell hole, rather than Boston Common, although recent anti-white supremacy events give it a place. Don’t embrace the disgrace but disgrace the ‘Embrace’.

    Let’s be frank and call a spade a spade. It’s not art nouveau or even abstract expressionism, that’s for sure. I call it veiled black brutalism, unlike Smee, who calls it ‘figurative realism’.

    “I saw a sculpture that was done in the language of what you might call realism, or figurative realism,” Smee said. “It’s a realistic depiction of human bodies — enlarged, obviously. But I think for me, it runs into trouble because it’s leaving out parts of those bodies. It’s just sort of trying to turn one language into another language in a fairly awkward kind of way. And I think that’s part of why some people are finding it a bit ugly, or distorted in a way that makes them uncomfortable.” Art critic Smee is being generous. Here’s more:

    Coretta King’s cousin Seneca Scott said in a piece for Compact Mag that the statue “looks more like a pair of hands hugging a beefy penis than a special moment shared by the iconic couple”.

    “Ten million dollars were wasted to create a masturbatory metal homage to my legendary family members — one of the all-time greatest American families,” Mr. Scott wrote. Scott is more on the money.

    The sculptor’s intent is clear, to slap whites in the face with the black man’s phallus while supposedly paying homage to MLK and his wife. In a similar fashion, rappers have been doing this for decades, grabbing their gyrating crotches, saying, I’ve got the beat and I’ve got the meat, eff you.

    This all goes hand in hand with the media’s dedication to black ascendancy and the diminution of whites. Obama’s agenda of radical transformation is well under way, and sadly enough there hasn’t been enough white kickback to counter it, this lack of kickback reaching all the way to the Southern border. Whites will certainly not be embraced by the invading black and brown hordes pouring in.

    To be blunt, “Embrace” is simply racially charged, sculpted black bravado, by an ‘artist’ who cast his desire to mock and shock right into the molten metal, into the minds of an already confused and angry public, and into a weary world of art craving honesty and beauty, both abundantly lacking in this wretched work.

    • BackRowHeckler February 6, 2023 at 6:43 pm #

      The monument does suck, but at least its edgy. That’s what matters.

      Who knows, in 30-40 years the zeitgeist may change, and this monument too will be torn down, like Frederick Douglas, Ulysses Grant, and Lincoln were vandalized & destroyed in 2020?

      • tucsonspur February 15, 2023 at 3:15 am #

        Edgy is right. Like the edge of a knife into white culture. 30-40 years of this ugliness? Say it won’t be so!

  13. oojai February 4, 2023 at 5:09 pm #

    Heh heh, you said “spade.” -Beavis

  14. wokethis February 4, 2023 at 7:46 pm #


  15. your uncool niece February 5, 2023 at 7:12 pm #

    It’s objectively terrifying.
    I initially thought it was by Giger.

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  16. KappaJoe February 7, 2023 at 4:05 pm #

    Definitely thought-provoking, but mostly thoughts of insult, obscenity, and reductionist despair along with yer customary modern “art” confusion. The forearms/hands are very nice, realistic, the rest an abstraction. The titling, “Embrace,” saves the effort, though embracing exactly what? One wonders if there will be a plaque or something nearby.

  17. JackStraw February 10, 2023 at 2:39 pm #

    Maybe the artist sees MLK for his massive stature and reflected that by creating a giant shlong being held up to awe the masses.

  18. diggy February 16, 2023 at 2:07 pm #

    Should be renamed ‘Two hands holding a penis’ – now it makes sense.

    • AKlein February 17, 2023 at 10:09 am #

      Possibly. But, then again, it does seem quite flaccid. Is there a message in that?

  19. Merkwurdiglieb February 17, 2023 at 12:08 pm #

    First MLK day (Jan 15) was merely a “day of recognition.” Then it became a federal Holiday. Then Black History month migrated from January to February and now I’m bombarded with constant propaganda about the virtues and appeal of the Black Culture. Were it not for the deliberate but subversive indoctrination and inculcation I might actually have respect for the whole effort. But as it is I am saturated with it, the (good?) and the garbage. It’s inescapable unless of course I move to a country where such feeble pathetic nonsense doesn’t exist. Is there such a place? Maybe not. But anywhere has got to be better than present day America because at least I could shrug off any similar condition. Without a stake in another nation’s history and ethnic/tribal conflicts I could simply observe in curiosity and wonder. But here, as a white man, I’m being fucking bled dry and shit upon.

    • BackRowHeckler February 19, 2023 at 1:49 pm #

      And to think you have ‘Juneteenth’ to look forward to, not only The Big Day, but the run-up to The Big Day, which will begin after the Memorial Day weekend, and continue on right thru the 4th of July.

  20. badberries February 22, 2023 at 12:04 am #

    Lessee, the hand on the left (our left) is right handed, the hand on the right (our right) is left handed.

    Sumthin funny here.

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  21. docmartin February 28, 2023 at 2:17 pm #

    Tear the mother down! It’s aesthetically dog poop