The Washington City Paper is certainly paying attention to the Party Animals. Your apparently regular column on the subject tells us, on the one hand, that they are criticized on the grounds of aesthetics, politics, and anatomy; on the other, that some folks actually want more of them in their neighborhoods (Party Animals Watch, 7/12, 7/19). I suppose next you will report about people claiming to have experienced their mystical inner messages, like Zippy the Pinhead communing with all that ’50s-era storefront statuary.
Fine, but some people are also fascinated by a hunter/gatherer culture’s myths explaining its institutions. All we actually need to know is that Elephant and Donkey are totems to the Republicans and Democrats, respectively, no more and no less than, say, Bear and Fish to two clans of an aboriginal people.
That is to say, the decision to give these totems the palpable form of statues placed around the City of the Two Parties must stem from a newly perceived need to shore up a sense of the importance of the latter entities. (Thus their newspaper, the Washington Post, has published a map of the items to make sure we know where they are.) The elephants and donkeys are separated in space, unlike the representations on a totem “pole,” which are placed one above the other, because these particular clans like to claim that they are really different. End of story.