Does the absurdity of this mural tell us anything about our disturbed national zeitgeist?
In the shadow of our hallowed national temples, a collegiate chicken-jock—the mascot of the Cluck-U chain of fried chicken restaurants—dangles a chicken leg as an inducement to cross the finish line. (Cluck-U has dozens of outlets across the mid-Atlantic and, strangely, one in Lebanon. Yes, Lebanon. The country.)
The competitors—a wildly out-of-scale elephant and a donkey—are herbivores, yet they sprint like mad for the meat, kicking up political party-coded smoke as they go. True, the puffs of smoke are incorrectly colored. Blue for the G.O.P. and red for the Dems? This lapse is easily the least objectionable thing about the mural. (The most objectionable? You have to ask? Who put the chicken up to this? Does someone have dirt on him? Is this part of some insider politics, a little quid pro quo? Surely, the chicken didn't think of offering up a chicken leg to the winner.)
We are told by someone in a position to know that the mural was painted 1) on the side of a Cluck-U Chicken establishment and 2) with funds from the District of Columbia government. If true, this represents government waste—pork?—at its most inane.
We need to target funds where they can actually do some good. The Cluck-U chicken is too far gone, or too politically compromised, for government largess.
(Thanks to Dr. D.C. Vegan for the referral and photo.)
Addendum (5/17/10): Dr. Alan informs us that this mural was recently painted over. We don't know whether to mourn or celebrate. So we're opting for something in the middle: 30 quiet seconds of nonspecific thinking.