Celoron loves Lucy, but not her statue's face
Complaints about unappealing artwork honoring Lucille Ball erupts into unnecessary and overblown outrage
The recent furor over a far-from-picturesque statue of famed comedian Lucille Ball has made it beyond clear that the village of Celoron, the childhood home of the actress, still loves Lucy.
The uproar, which ultimately made it onto CNN and Fox News, started as many viral protests tend to do – with a Facebook page.
From Facebook to front pages, the community’s outrage has taken on a life of its own and blown a minor issue out of proportion.
It’s true that the statue, which was placed in Lucille Ball Memorial Park in 2009, is undeniably unattractive.
Depicting Lucy in one of the more famous scenes from her television show, as she holds up a spoonful of “vitameatavegamin,” all appears well with the statue – until her face comes into view.
Compared to Steve Buscemi, a zombie from “The Walking Dead” and Yoda, among other unsavory comparisons online, Lucy’s face is admittedly an unflattering and even unrecognizable depiction.
So community members are right to complain about the besmirching of their town’s claim to fame.
But now, because of the unbridled outrage that community members took to the web, the town is recognized nationwide for its unappealing artwork, rather than the legacy of the comedian who grew up there.
And despite the discontent of Celoron’s citizens, the statue still attracts tourists and stars in photo ops – visitors, apparently, are more forgiving than residents who have to see the artwork on a regular basis.
The entire debacle has generated far more negative attention than Celoron ever needed – or the well-meaning artist who sculpted the statue in the first place.
The outraged complaints and exaggerated comparisons online may have gotten the town into the Los Angeles Times, but they also insulted the work of an artist who was simply doing his best.
Even if the results of Dave Poulin, the artist who is responsible for the statue, are far from ideal – as he acknowledges – a more restrained protest on the part of Celoron residents would have been more considerate.
Poulin has offered to redo the statue, saying he’s willing to put his time and money into a facelift, a classy move that hopefully quiets residents’ critiques of his work.
But since going viral, the story has picked up enough momentum that Celoron now has more ambitious plans.
Fortunately, the mayor has made it clear that taxpayers’ money will not be going towards improving the statue – replacing the head could cost up to $10,000 – but the town has started a fundraising campaign.
For a story that never should have made headlines in the first place, it appears that a happy ending is in store.
And fittingly, the whole debacle is pretty funny – it’s supposed to be the statue that’s honoring Lucy, but really it’s the comedic elements of this saga that are doing justice to the comedian’s legacy.