Stuff We Don't Love

Give Me Liberty ... Or Merchandising

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The red carpet for the All-Star Game parade on Sixth Avenue is long gone, but 42 commemorative eight-and-a-half foot statues of liberty are still hanging around Manhattan.

I mistook the first one I saw for one of those street performers who paint themselves pale green and strike the pose for hours. Only this one was red. I thought it might be a political commentary — Liberty on fire, Liberty gone awry — but when I got closer, I noticed that this crowned lady really didn't budge at all. Plus, she was slightly larger than human scale. And made in China.That's one detail that Major League Baseball's site neglected to mention in its open letter to the people of France.

People of New York — or anywhere else — who like the statues can take home a nine-inch replica for $24.99.

Don't get me wrong. I like the idea of multicolored statuettes, a la Ivan Chermayeff's 1974 poster for the Museum of Immigration at the Statue of Liberty. The larger-than-life Statues of Liberty on Parade smack more of commercialism than freedom of expression. I can't help equating them with the "Cows on Parade" that grazed New York streets in 2000.

But maybe I'm just carrying a torch for the Lady of the Harbor.

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