Tuesday, September 22, 2009
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A few photos of one of the obscurer (is that a word?) statues around town, a statue of a Boy Scout outside local Boy Scout HQ, between 1st & Naito just south of Lincoln. I probably wouldn't mention it all -- I probably wouldn't even know it existed -- except that a.) it's in my neighborhood, so I see it now and then while walking to or from work; and b.) sometimes that happens after dark, and I see it out of the corner of my eye, loitering there in the streetlit gloom, and the primitive parts of my brain go on mugger alert. No other statue does that to me. Most real live people don't do that to me either. I can't really explain it. It's not like he's brandishing a hatchet or anything, even thought that would actually be a legitimate scout thing to do.
In any case, about the statue: It's called The Ideal Scout or sometimes just The Boy Scout, by the sculptor R. Tait McKenzie. Like a number of other statues around town (Umbrella Man, The Promised Land, Joan of Arc, etc.) it's just one of several copies scattered about the globe. The original statue dates to 1915, and the life-sized version shown here was created in 1937. Portland's copy only dates to 1972, though. Probably about the same vintage as the building it's next to. Which would also be the vintage of much of the surrounding area, come to think of it.
When I covered the Joan of Arc statue, I mentioned the notion of travelling the globe to visit all the copies. (I mentioned something similar re: the Willamette Stone as well, although that's not strictly art.) You could, in theory, do the same for this statue too, assuming you were possessed to do so for some reason. The Wikipedia page about McKenzie (linky is above) lists a bunch of locations of copies. If it's a complete list, you'd be spending an inordinate amount of time in Pennsylvania, which cannot be recommended. Trust me on this. And I'm not sure what the point of such an expedition would be, unless your kid's doing it as a project and will get a writeup in Boys' Life for his efforts, or at least score a merit badge or something. I was going to add "or one of those metal belt loop 'Skill Award' thingys", but apparently those were discontinued way back in 1989. Who knew?
Of course, back in my day going camping meant using our fins to slowly drag ourselves up onto dry land, and then we'd just sit there and watch the earth's crust cool. Ok, we'd also try to sing Kumbaya sometimes. What can I say, it was a dark and primitive time. You could get a merit badge for discussing what fire might be like if it existed. They added a badge for the wheel a few years after I quit, so I missed out on that one, which is too bad since I've always liked the wheel. The knot-tying stuff, though, is exactly the same all these years later. It's just that kids have it so much easier now with their opposable thumbs and all.