Public Comment

Berkeley Remembered

By Deborah Loreen Foster
Wednesday February 18, 2009 - 06:14:00 PM

History denotes sculptures from ancient times to present as having significant meaning to the peoples and cultures of that time, often commemorating heroes and capturing history. Centuries later, we still have a glimpse into their past. Chiseled into stone, metal, clay and wood, even into the sides of mountains, is the artistic equivalent to the historic written word, communicating to future generations of all languages a vision of the past. 

You don’t have to be educated in the arts or artistically gifted to understand the significance and define the purpose or meaning of what your eyes discern. We are approached by bigger than life moldings, statues and busts that call out to us from the corner of our eye, a bas-relief that tells a story and we take the time to contemplate another era, seeking enlightenment. 

It is true a picture is worth a thousand words. When you read a book, you can only imagine what comes to your mind through your own experiences. But a picture, and that is what sculpture is, in 3D, shows you how it was in the eyes and experiences of others/someone else. 

Now, knowing that, how do you think your future generations will remember you? 

You erected a statue called Berkeley Big People symbolizing the city, its people and the activities that reflect the times. A scientist, a person in a wheelchair, a kite flyer, bird watcher, and someone playing the violin. And below that you can see medallions that reflect in even more detail the everyday happenings of your lives. 

Berkeley, you keep that sculpture right where you have it. Let the future generations see what kind of people you were. That while you flew your kites, you let dogs take a shit at your feet. I want my grandkids to be embarrassed by your vulgarity. I want them to look away and shake their heads in disgust. I want them to see the perverted medallions that look like a nasty little boy drew them in the mud and wonder how that one town was part of a sophisticated society and yet remained so primitive. That your culture consisted of the science of butt-sniffing and forever symbolized the recreational art form of watching dogs in the act of copulating. Did you put violin music to that? 

Keep your statue up, Berkeley. Don’t you dare take it down. It is a good reflection of your people and its culture. Let the birds obligingly defecate on your memory. No other form of honor can be more fitting.  

Let history books tell of a people who threw truckloads of money at the feet of an artist who was known to have been scoffed at, whose history of art was laughed at by the majority and they will wonder how it came to be that a minority of people could spend the taxes of the financially strapped majority with such unaccountable carelessness. 

And let your sculpture tell of a people whose accolades were either sculpted through the eyes of a perverted, warped artist, hired by the people to remember them in effigy, or truly reflected the flea-infested lifestyle of a community in an ancient fabled town called Berkeley. 


Deborah Loreen Foster is a resident of Phelan, Calif.