Sixty-foot faces

22 July 2008

Sixty-foot faces

Being so close to Mount Rushmore and continuing to grab sneaky peeks at it as we explore The Black Hills of South Dakota has kept it on my mind. Today, as we explored Custer State Park I wondered whose faces I would carve on a similar British monument.

As I wrote yesterday, the four Presidents whose faces stare down from Mount Rushmore were chosen for the part they played in the United States' independence and expansion across a continent.

The four American Presidents carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore were chosen by the sculptor to commemorate the founding, growth, preservation and development of the United States. They symbolize the principles of liberty and freedom on which the nation was founded. George Washington signifies the struggle for independence and the birth of the Republic; Thomas Jefferson the territorial expansion of the country; Abraham Lincoln the permanent union of the States, and equality for all citizens, and Theodore Rooseevelt, the 20th century role of the United States in world affairs and the rights of the common man.

Frankly I'm surprised that nobody has thought of it before: A British Mount Rushmore, perhaps somewhere deep in the Derbyshire Peak District. But whose faces to carve?

Maybe the BBC could conduct a Great Britons style telephone vote? Of course you could go the obvious route and plump for great British figures from history. I bet millions of Brits would vote for Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Lord Nelson. If you asked our British versions of in-bred rednecks, they might also add Margaret Thatcher to that list.

I'm not sure that there are too many modern people of power who deserve their faces carved into the Derbyshire hills for the rest of eternity, certainly not Tony Blair. So who? It's a tricky one.

Now if you asked me, I would choose figures from popular culture, particularly those with interesting faces to carve. Keith Richards' craggy visage would be a good choice. Perhaps Rowan Atkinson too? So my line up? Well here goes:

Let's make it happen Brits. Let's set our nation's characters in stone. The people of Derbyshire and the world are looking on expectantly.

By Andy Clarke

Your messages

Did you get to Crazy Horse while you were in the area? I went to see both in 2004 and Crazy Horse was the dog’s [censored] compared to those little heads on Rushmore!

(Andy says: Yes, we did get to crazy horse. See My lands are where my dead lie buried)

What - no women?  What about Dame Judi Dench or Julie Walters? Fabulous women with great faces for carving.  There’s always the Queen, but if you have Helen Mirren then she’s pretty much covered.

So what about Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson? No? Err…

John Peel! Nuff said ...

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