Favorite

Flower power 

There used to be a huge mural of a flower on the side of a building near the corner of Main Street and Third in downtown Little Rock: a vast, lush bloom of some sort (we've heard it called a rose, but it looked to us like something else, maybe a camellia), easily two stories high and done up in Miami pastels, the flower sprouting from a ring big enough to be God's hula hoop.

We emphasize "used to be" because we noticed last week that it had been painted over, the whole building shellacked in a lifeless and muddy brown and accented now only by a sign advertising lofts. It shocked us a bit to see the mural was gone, mostly because we didn't know how long it had been gone. It felt like opening the newspaper and finding the obituary of a person we hadn't seen in years.

We've been looking at that mural most of our life, first from the rooftops of downtown back in our roofing days, and then for the past 10 years while walking out the door of the Arkansas Times heading to the Mobile Observatory every day. From the southern side of the building where The Observer works, there was a clear view of that mural, especially in the evening sun.

A memory: Back in elementary school, we found a stock photo in our Social Studies book of a hardhat running a tower crane from high above a generic city, but we were able to I.D. the streets below as Little Rock's, because we could see that mural, the great flower small enough from that high that it looked like it could be plucked and pinned to a man's lapel.

In recent years, the painting — faded, peeling and neglected — was still beautiful, but beautiful in a different way than when it was fresh. That's the way big outdoor artworks are for us: pretty in the beginning, but more lovely somehow in the end, after the shine is gone from the paint and the wind begins to pick at them. Old murals — old Grapette signs, old signs advertising cigars, old signs advertising insurance agencies — never fail to remind The Observer of time, the relentless march of it, always sweeping things out the back door so other things can come in the front. Things change. Nothing stays the same.

Once we saw that the flower was gone, we started poking around on the Internet, trying to find out something about it — who painted it and why — but that great electronic library yielded up nothing but a few artsy black and white shots of it, taken from afar. It's too late now, but can anybody out there tell us something about it? We need to know.

Last week, in the Michigan state legislature, a female representative had her speaking privileges removed for the day after she used the word "vagina" during a debate about a bill that would restrict access to abortion.

Rep. Lisa Brown had the figurative Scold's Bridle put on her after ending a speech with: "Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means no." House Speaker James Bolger said Brown's femme finale failed to maintain the decorum of that august legislative body. The same day — probably not coincidentally — another female legislator had the muzzle slapped on her due to a failed attempt to attach an amendment to the bill. Her proposed improvement: a man seeking a vasectomy would have to prove his life was in danger from a testicular cause in order to be approved for the sperm-stifling snip-snip. Would some men's fascination with turkey frying, assault rifles and/or 90-mile-per-hour, signal-free lane changes on the freeway qualify as testicle-based life endangerment, we wonder?

The Observer, long a fan of words and offending delicate sensibilities with them, talked all this over recently with a pal who happens to have two X-chromosomes. She was kind enough to pen the following response/biology lesson to the He-Man Woman-Haters of the Michigan legislature:

Vagina. Labia majora. Labia minora. Cervix. Clitoris. Uterus. Fallopian tube. Ovary. Pudenda. Pudendal cleft. Grafenberg Spot. Hymen. Mons pubis. Vulva.

What should Rep. Lisa Brown have said? "Va-jay-jay"? "Down there"? "Holiest of Holies?" "Yoni"? "Tuzzy-Muzzy," "Hoo-hah" or "Cooter"?

You've got to wonder, like Woof from the musical "Hair" did: "Father, why do these words sound so nasty?"

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in The Observer

  • Twenty

    Forgive The Observer a public love letter, Dear Reader. A gentleman never kisses and tells, but he is allowed to swoon a bit, and so we will. Last week made 20 years since we wed our beloved in her grandpa's little church way down in El Dorado, two dumb kids with nothing but our lives stretching out before us like an open road.
    • Jul 27, 2017
  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation