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Behold, the 28-foot tall Afro-pick topped by a black power fist installed in New Orleans’ Lafayette Square by NOLA Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the result of a $7.2-million taxpayer grant to recognize black artists in honor of Juneteenth, the new national holiday (celebrated since its designation in 2021 on the Juneteenth of June every year). An earlier 8-foot high version executed by artist Hank Willis Thomas was installed opposite Philadelphia’s city hall in 2017. It was titled All Power to All People, to emphasize the spirit of inclusivity. With one of the highest per-capita murder rates among American cities, New Orleans might have considered a 28-foot-tall Glock G-29 model pistol would better represent the town’s current zeitgeist than a hair-pimping accessory that hasn’t been used much since the early 1970s. What one wonders: how exactly was that $7.2 million distributed among Mr. Thomas, the artist, and goodness knows how many hands in the city bureaucracy?  Thanks to Jeff Mack for the nomination.

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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.

10 Responses to “July 2022”

  1. 4014HAMPHEDGE July 5, 2022 at 4:53 pm #

    A 2-way approach to the lackluster reparations movement might be a public/private trust fund set up as basis for Famine Hedge & Disaster preparations. Never mind many Trillions for welfare and employment programs, This time all hands should see results and feel benefits. No Mau-Mauing Social Worker and Community Worker Presidential Aspirants. Analogous to Sputnik Era National project goals, this time needful engineering and jobs keyed to productive paths to racial healing. Existential need and rewarding effort. We have Black Engineers already in position to move forward engineering dedicated to water supply and enhanced food distribution. These core elements shall bring forth national opportunities on a scale sufficient to restore a neglected segment of our people to self confidence and high esteem.

    Famine Hedge is the name of the game boys & girls (no offense intended). There is needed water supply for food production; see North American Water And Power Alliance (Parsons Engineering circa 1960). Millions of jobs when full infrastructure details are spelled out, water delivery and Hydroelectric features across US from Canada to Mexico & Pacific Coast to Great Lakes. A California Governor and a Chicago Mayor can have their respective Public Works Directors explain NAWAPA… Bring these details into Grade school through Junior College and upstage dress-up day.

    To Food Distribution we must look very carefully at moves to make AI trucking the norm very soon. AI trucks means our food supply is reliant on satellites and EMP events promised by the current field of Dictators and their Generals. Trucks need lots more drivers than same tonnage on train haul, so Pandemic Games suggest getting substantial percentage of our food distribution back to rail. This reorients City Planners to reverse the rail track removal fetish…

    This writer has pages of sources, examples, methods and references. A very tight single page executive summary exists, including look at the military RR Battalions still seen at the Ft. Eustis VA template & rationale for dispersing container lift from hubs. All the pieces exist to achieve reliable food distribution and essential transport independence: “Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform”. We just need goal oriented leaders & willing personnel. Impossible without God.

    • EdD July 6, 2022 at 12:51 pm #

      I don’t agree that we “need leaders” at all. Even if we needed leaders, the current system for selecting them is a total failure at identifying them.

  2. Ann Oid July 5, 2022 at 4:57 pm #

    No worse than Richard Serra’s “Tilting Arc”. Or Claus Oldenburg (anything by him).

  3. tom clark July 5, 2022 at 11:35 pm #

    Hey, in this day and age, whatever turns your crank!

  4. Walter B July 6, 2022 at 8:03 am #

    How come the middle finger is not extended in the Sailor’s Salute?

  5. taijitu July 6, 2022 at 5:18 pm #

    The current system can identify leaders ’cause they make them.

    Think “safe and effective.” Then ask yourself for whom.

  6. tucsonspur July 7, 2022 at 8:35 pm #

    This sick afro pick really sets my hair on fire, along with the black fist into the face of a not much longer to be, mostly white nation. Happy he didn’t stick it onto a huge Kaepernick statue, where it could snugly hide out in the curly coils of Colin’s condor nest.

    The big Glock would be more apropos, although Mr. Thomas seems to at least subconsciously recognize the association between jail cell bars and the plight of blacks. Could the black power fist mean power over their own criminality, power over their inclination towards incarceration? In a word, no. It’s a knuckle sandwich, a looming left hook to the solar plexus of the pilloried, persecuted, and now almost pathetic American white.

    Much more than a hairbrush will be needed to go after these promoters of black edification and white denigration. Forget ok signs. We need white fists of power like those of Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano to KO these racial ‘referees’.

    Lafayette Square?

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  7. bymitch July 9, 2022 at 8:28 pm #

    I get the concept and I dig it, but It looks like something happened in the execution of this particular version.
    The 8 foot model was slim, like a comb, which I think is important to maintain purity of the symbol in itself.
    In architect babble, the slenderness contributes to its elegance, or in regular speak, it makes it less of an eyesore.
    Somehow the object has been transformed into a space, sitting on top of round columns, that are way out of proportion.
    Other symbols are added, as if the original idea wasn’t enough, the double torched peace sign stamped over the representation of the globe, and the extra girth signalling obese excess.
    Not being an art critic, I have no idea what this means, but has the air of design improvement by committee.
    The solid base ruins the effect, perhaps a nod to the stamp pad, in reference to the rubber stamp of officialdom, which in all likelihood sucked up most of the $7.2m. The author got recognised as his reward.
    My initial reading, was that of a hand-held iron maiden, I missed the comb bit entirely.
    Perhaps more in line with the concept of Glock mentality, mentioned on here, but arguably, less literal, and more brutal.

  8. Ishabaka July 12, 2022 at 8:07 am #

    They need a matching Jeri Curl statue.

  9. gusgus2021 July 15, 2022 at 4:05 pm #

    I never understand how you can spend what citys do ,its always such out in the open corruption ….in the mean time look at the average city ….the miles of homeless crazys ,potholes pollution crime, but lets spend it on a sculpture ….or lets tear down a perfect bridge to build another even if every bridge nearby has trees growing in it.