Some people believe you can’t have too much of a good thing. This is the reason we have 40 different bowl games and “Star Wars” is on its seventh sequel.
Let’s consider “Fearless Girl,” a now-famous statue that popped up near Wall Street last month, standing in front of the iconic “Charging Bull.” It was great.
The bull has been around since the 1980s, large and formidable. He’s part of the financial district vibe, and when the little girl suddenly appeared in his path, looking less like a toreador than a four-foot-tall immovable force, it created a sensation.
Visitors love her. There she is, hands on her hips, proud and invincible.
All day long, parents urge their daughters to go and link arms for pictures. Meanwhile, an equally large group of tourists is posing in the back, stroking the bull’s private parts. It’s not easy to be a naked male statue.
The sponsor of “Fearless Girl” is State Street Global Advisors, a Boston financial firm that said it wanted to promote “greater gender diversity on corporate boards.”
There were other interpretations as well. Mayor Bill de Blasio said, in an interview with public radio host Brian Lehrer, that the girl was standing up to a figure representing “unfettered capitalism.” We will stop now to contemplate whether that was what State Street Global had in mind.
“Fearless Girl” was originally supposed to be on display for a few days. But her stay was extended, and now there are calls to keep her forever. Meanwhile, the bull’s creator is going nuts. “It’s really bad,” said an emotional Arturo Di Modica, 76, at a press conference.
Di Modica began working on the bull in 1987, when the markets had a terrible crash and were desperately in need of some bullishness. He spent his own money on the project and hauled his 7,000-pound creation to the front of the New York Stock Exchange, where he deposited it in the middle of the night.
Exchange officials, unmoved, had it carted away. But Mayor Ed Koch and his parks commissioner liked “Charging Bull,” and placed in a nearby park, where it’s been ever since.
Now, “Fearless Girl.” Her appearance made for a wonderful moment. But if you want to get literal, we’ve got a spunky child standing up against rising stock prices.
Most people, of course, prefer to see a call for gender diversity. “I like it because Wall Street is a male bastion, and it’s good to look at a future where women are determined to lead,” said Kathryn Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City. “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl,” twittered Mayor de Blasio.
Her stay has now been extended to a year. The wounded Di Modica says he’ll sue.
We ought to be able to make this an extremely rare example of amicable compromise in the Trump era. Next February, “Fearless Girl” should move on. There are plenty of places that can use her.
It would also be a triumph against the tendency to insist that everything good should be allowed to last forever. This is how New York came to have more than 1,000 permanent public statues and monuments, from Miss Liberty to Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen to Alexander Lyman Holley.
There’d be plenty of room for “Fearless Girl” in Central Park if the city didn’t abide by a theory that anything ever given a designated space had to be stuck in it forever.
The little piece of turf where she’s currently located is called Evacuation Day Plaza, honoring the moment in 1783 when George Washington marched back into Manhattan as the Revolutionary War ended.
Unmentioned is the fact that Washington’s army would not have existed then if it hadn’t been for the Great Fire of 1776, which came between the desperate, retreating American army and the British. In London, an official blamed it on a woman who had been found in the ruins after the rebels got away, covered with “every mark of rage, despair, resolution and the most exalted heroism.”We don’t know her name, but we can celebrate her moment. And thank God she didn’t try for a repeat performance.
“Fearless Girl” looks like she’s capable of multitasking. And she doesn’t need to stay in the city. A kind benefactor could acquire her, and let her roam the country.
How many of you out there can think of something in your state that deserves to be set back in its tracks by an extremely determined-looking young lady?Environmentalists could buy her and set her down on Florida’s coastline at flood time, pushing back on global warming. Maybe she’d like to take another crack at stopping the Keystone pipeline. The next time protesters come to Occupy Wall Street, they could bring their girl along.
Personally, I vote for Lafayette Park, across from the White House. Can you imagine her standing there, facing down Donald Trump every day?