Monday, February 05, 2007
Of Zeros and Ones and Marble
He has his own statue so who the hell am I to rain on old Salvador Giner’s parade, besides, he has a fountain for that purpose. Just think of how few people in the history of human civilization have had a statue erected in their honor—and one that wasn’t later torn down by an angry mob. I would settle for my statue being razed by a mob; it’s the original thought that counts. I don’t think a statue counts if you have it built for yourself, that’s kind of what tombstones are for. I’m not a big fan of self-aggrandizement and I don’t know how one goes about self-promotion.
Then again, I guess building your own statue in your image is no worse than having some other organization do it for you, whether it be the Catholic Church, which is responsible for many of the statues in the European Christian era, or a political party which commissioned the rest. In the end, future generations will judge us more on our actions than marble statues carved in our likeness, if they judge us at all.
Take this Salvador Giner, dead now for almost 100 years. I’m sure that he accomplished a great deal in his lifetime, enough so that others thought him worthy of a fountain and a statue, yet I wouldn’t even know his name if I hadn’t taken this photo. When I looked at it on my computer I Googled his name and extracted my single sentence description from Wikipedia. Just about anyone nowadays has a Wikipedia entry and everyone can be found on Google.
The zeros and ones that honor individuals in the digital age are not as impressive as statues made of marble and bronze, but they may well turn out to be more durable. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, statues of the heroes of communism fell like trees in an Oregon forest. The U.S. invading forces orchestrated the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein. The anemic handful of Iraqi statue-topplers in the end required the assistance of an American tank to bring Hussein down and fulfill this clumsy propaganda stunt the Bush administration needed for this unpopular war. In the digital era all someone has to do is hit a delete key to erase all traces of your existence.
Labels: Valencia Spain