Sunday, May 25, 2008

Parc Monceau Vandalized

Paris has several large gardens for nature-lovers, strollers, students of sculpture, and those who, for some reason, enjoy reading a book on a bench in the open air, sometimes even in the sun. I cannot stand reading in the sun; I must be in artificial light, without a view of nature, except perhaps for a noisy street. But I used to spend a great deal of time just walking through the Paris gardens and watching the swans, if they made an appearance.

Now the Parc Monceau on the Right Bank has been vandalized, its historic sculptures destroyed, possibly irretrievably. Le Conservateur has the bad news (and more photos):

A few days ago most of the monuments, both old and recent, in the Parc Monceau, were damaged by imbeciles whom we cannot identify with greater precision in the absence of information. The monument to the composer Gounod, covered with graffiti, is probably not restorable since marble soaks up any ink, rust or paint.

This is beyond commentary, but calls for a few observations. This destruction raises the question of the future of cultural urban property that is damaged with regularity, either from vice or from ignorance. How many times have I seen children, or those less young, in sneakers, climb up on statues or monuments? The municipal workers will murder you if you dare take a few petals from a faded flower, but display an almost total passiveness towards behavior that endangers our monuments, as I have often observed in the Tuileries Gardens.

A comment on graffiti cannot be avoided, and I will try not to fall into a facile ideological rejection, but it is not the graffiti in itself that is harmful, but the exercise of this "pictorial technique" on the property of others, or on public property. A whole microcosm of art gallery owners and officials advocate the freedom to "invade" any available surface. In the minds of idiots, what is the meaning of this message, if not a green light to commit vandalism? For modern relativistic man, a wall in a vacant lot or a marble statue - what's the difference?

Finally we note that the media, even the local media, made no mention of these acts of vandalism. In a sense, it's just as well: all we need is for the vandals to gloat over their acts.

As for Parc Monceau, it's not what it once was. It has become a den for scumbags who come to chase after an easy white girl, and for dealers of all sorts. Casting pearls to swine, as we used to say.

It looks like the cultural relativism we see at the Louvre has spilled out into the gardens of Paris. (Or maybe it spilled into the Louvre from the street?)

Charles Gounod
(1818-1893) composed religious music and several operas. He is known for Faust, one of the world's most popular operas, based on Goethe's poem, and for Roméo et Juliette, after Shakespeare. But even if you don't know his operas you surely know his exquisite rendition of the Ave Maria set to the first prelude of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. You hear it all the time around the holidays. He also composed the hymn O Divine Redeemer.

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At May 25, 2008 2:07 PM, Anonymous dauphin_b612 said...

@ tiberge

You must have just read my mind, as I just commented at le Conservateur on this! It is sickening, but already for many years it has been a blight on the city. I remember before the Queen of England's visit in '92 they were hurriedly trying to get the graffiti off the Pont Alexandre III and other places, but you could still see the traces of the graffiti--heartbreaking. But Delanoë, the most popular man in France, is doing a wonderful job! We will have to put up 24 surveillance everywhere like London, then re-open Devil's Island for the perpetrators. This cultural crime cannot be tolerated!


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