Sunday, July 03, 2005

When Harry Met Sally

Amidst all the controversy over the Patriot Act, individual rights, censorship and the imposition of moral values, the Attorney General of the US, Alberto Gonzales, has struck a blow for freedom. It seems that the AG has been misjudged. He may want the FBI to keep track of how many times Dr Seuss’ Cat In The Hat is checked out of American libraries by ‘children of interest’; but his underlying liberal instincts have been revealed by his treatment of Harry and Sally.

This epic march of liberalism started in 1936, when Harry met Sally. Harry’s more formal name is Majesty of Justice. Sally’s actual name is Spirit of Justice. They were installed in 1936 in the shiny new Department of Justice building and they fit right in because they were pretty shiny and new as well. Harry and Sally are 12 foot 6 inch aluminium statues sculpted by German-born American artist Paul Jennewein. Harry is a bare-chested Hollywood type and is wearing a discreet bit of cloth around his midsection. Of course, at 12 foot 6, and with a chest like Arnold Schwarzenegger, people don’t need much imagination to picture what’s under the bit of cloth. At the same time, Sally has been standing there, with her arms over her head, dressed in a revealing toga. In miraculous anticipation of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, Sally’s right breast has been on display for about 70 years. Harry should get the Justice Department merit badge for self control.

Although Harry and Sally may have had a few prurient thoughts and even imagined the odd bonk when the guards weren’t looking, there is no evidence that they actually ever did the dirty over all those years. However attitudes changed after 9/11. John Ashcroft, then the Attorney General, formulated several new policies. The first was a strategy to defend American liberties by whittling them down to a manageable number. The second was a strategy to include Christian Righteousness in the people’s business. The third was a strategy to assure the honest, law-abiding Americans of the Muslim faith that they had nothing to fear from the government – even if they were eventually all going to hell. Harry and Sally didn’t have a chance. Shortly after AG Ashcroft’s arrival, large blue curtains were installed to hide Harry and Sally from the public. Harry and Sally were taken into isolation without being allowed to contact family or legal counsel. Fundamentalist Christian tourists were spared the temptation of glancing at Sally’s 73DD hooter or fantasizing about Harry’s amazing plumbing. Fundamentalist Muslims could tell their friends about the 100% veiling of Sally and say ‘at least the infidels have made a start’. It all seemed like a good idea at the time.

Of course the curtains also hid the public from Harry and Sally; so in a way they did have a chance. Who knows what they got up to in the three years they were given a bit of privacy. It’s also not completely clear what the Justice Department got up to in those three years but they obviously cornered the market on blue curtains.

Times change and strategies change as well. Mr Gonzales, the new Attorney General, has had the curtains removed. Sally is back to being a tease and Harry is back to gritting his teeth. Harry and Sally have learned what a lot of Americans already know: getting your hands on a bit of justice can be very frustrating.


Blogger Whymrhymer said...


Great post -- Harry and Sally really came to life (as did AG Ashcroft).

On the subject of AG Gonzales, do you suppose it will soon be "SCOTUS Justice Gonzales?"

7:56 AM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Beautiful. Of course, Harry and Sally have been pulling the wool over all our eyes for years, After all, the doors do lock at night and the lights do go out. Just because a tightwad AG moves in doesn't mean Harry and Sally have foregone all of their Common Sense and spirit of freedom and fun.

1:50 AM  
Blogger The Human Quilt said...

Hello, my name is JJ. I was looking through some blogs and I think you might like a blog I am starting up. It’s called The Human Quilt. The Human Quilt has a goal of sharing the lives, expressions, emotions, memories, secrets, and desires of people across the globe. Share your story in a square. Each square tells the story of a life. I would greatly appreciate it if you take a look and give me some input. Thanks a lot.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Great post!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Sparkling said...

My list of places to go, people to see just get's longer and longer... Hopefully Harry and Sally will still be there when I get that far on my list... probably sometime after the 2012 Olympics in London!?

5:08 AM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

There is a wonderful piece that complements this essay at:

10:18 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

I think that the picture of the two boobs in the snopes link is priceless.


1:38 PM  

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