14 May 2008

it's not just me

it turns out that i may not have imagined the not-so-subtle homoerotic nature of the statues in Lafayette Park, formerly Presidential Park, just outside the White House across Pennsylvania Avenue. even given the one with the naked boy standing next to the seated, muscular soldier, hunky torso bared, i was open to the possibility of a gay-free explanation for the assembly of monuments.

then i found out about friedrich wilhelm von steuben (who stands at the very top of the monument in the first photo from the top). according to wikipedia, baron von steuben began his career as a prussian military officer at a young age and ended up on this side of the american revolutionary war, eventually drafting the first training manual for the continental army. aaand according to ushistory.org, "at the age of 33, in 1763, Steuben was discharged as a captain from the army, for reasons that are only speculative."

do you see where i'm going with this?

*squeal*! the father of our military got kicked out of his first army for being The GAY. i can't begin to scrape the irony off the bottom of my clunky, comfy lace-up shoe. wikipedia says he was also kicked out of his next job (as some sort of lawyerly type) in southwestern germany for similarly anti-social behavior. he left his estate in utica, ny to two of his aides-de-camp, with whom he had an "extraordinarily intense emotional relationship." i wonder if they got freidrich's fire island beachfront property, too.

i haven't researched the other memorialized historical figures... there's a polish guy, a french general, and a couple of navy guys. be sure that i'll dish if i find exciting things. but for your enjoyment, below are a few more of the lafayette park statues that may or may not be gayish. as sculptures go, i think they're quite nice.

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