I guess there was no one around to watch cable television commentary about the presidential election this weekend, so Fox News decided to do something different for Independence Day, and air a completely inane debate about whether the Statue of Liberty is really female.
According to Raw Story, writer Elizabeth Mitchell is positing that the artist who made the Statue of Liberty actually modeled her look off of his brother, rather than his mother, as many people believe. Fox and Friends was so concerned about this state of affairs that they brought in a history professor from NYU to refute this.
The professor, Edward Berenson, first assures us that the artist, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was a “mama’s boy” and wrote to her every day while living in New York. If he decided to model the Statue of Liberty off his brother instead, he would’ve mentioned it in the correspondence (he didn’t).
The questions about this not-very-substantial topic get more and more silly, with one of the co-hosts seriously asking:
Are we supposed to think this French guy was pulling a fast one the U.S., “Hey, I’m going to say it’s a woman but it’s really going to be a guy. And they’re not going to figure it out for a really long time.”
Professor Berenson patiently assures us that no such joke was played:
This was not a tongue-in-cheek gift. This was a really serious business. He loved the United States, he loved American liberty. He conceived of the Statue of liberty when his government was a kind of a dictatorship.
And so the Statue of Liberty was going to be a gift to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the American Revolution. And he was going to do that by referring to really classical images of liberty, and those were always goddesses.
That’s right—the State of Liberty was progressive! Maybe she was so progressive that she “transcends” gender, as another co-host asks. Berenson quickly shuts down that line of thought, saying that “there’s no question she’s a woman.” So, stop panicking America and listen to the nice professor—Lady Liberty is not a man, nor is she beyond masculinity or femininity. She’s a woman, period. A strong woman. Important debate over. We can continue to enjoy our 4th of July hot dogs and fireworks in peace.
(via Raw Story)