Would Stonehenge Be Built Today?

By Yoni Brenner, a screenwriter (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 04/06/08):

At least part of the mystery of Stonehenge may have now been solved: It was from the beginning a monument to the dead.

— The Times, May 30

Greetings. It good to see such big crowd.

Many here know Og personally. Others know Og by reputation and prowess with weighted thighbone. Some of you not know Og at all, but just attracted by big pile of viscera over at buffet. That O.K. too. If we not want to attract you, we not arrange for so much viscera.

Regardless: there no question that before untimely mauling, Og touched many people. Even more people, he bludgeoned. As person both touched and bludgeoned by Og — often during same dinner party — I can say that Og was truly one of kind. I will miss most his sense of humor. I will miss least his bludgeoning.

Now, me well aware of controversy surrounding new Og Memorial Complex, also known as Massive-Rocks-Arranged-in-Mysterious-Circle. Some say it eyesore. Some say it waste of massive rocks. Some like concept of mysterious circle but find execution pedestrian. On behalf of Memorial Committee for Remembering of Og, me want to take opportunity to address concerns directly, and unpack some of artistic decisions involved in approving project like Massive-Rocks-Arranged-in-Mysterious-Circle.

First: many complain that monument not look anything like Og. This true. When committee first conceive of memorial, we consider finding massive rock that resemble Og. But then we realize: Og really not a handsome man. In fact, Og sufficiently creepy-looking that convincing Og-rock pose health risk to pregnant women and elderly. So while on the one hand we committed to memory of Og, on the other hand there’s the pregnant women.

So liability first reason we go abstract — but not only reason!

After all, Og mean different things to different people. For instance: some think of Og as ruthless tyrant, splattered with the blood of his enemies. But me remember a gentler Og: modest and soft-spoken, splattered with the blood of a few close friends. With non-representational installation like Massive-Rocks-Arranged-in-Mysterious-Circle, we invite viewer to construct personal interpretation of monument, thus making powerful statement on subjective nature of memory. Besides, we not forget Great Bog War Memorial? When Shiny-Black-Slab first unveiled, it too condemned as pretentious and impersonal, and now it celebrated for quiet majesty.

There is also symbolism. Just as Og crush many enemies, massive rocks crush many day laborers. Just as Og hate small talk, so are massive rocks difficult to engage in conversation. Just as Og, with weighted thighbone, protect men from death by wolves, so massive rocks protect men from death by wolves, by crushing them preemptively.

Look, me realist. Me know that there is no memorial to Og that make everyone happy. As Og himself say: “You can please all of people some of time, and some of people all of time, but bludgeoning — bludgeoning is magic.” And if one day future civilization devise system of written language, me fervently hope they will inscribe this insight on massive rock.

But although we may never see eye to eye on legacy of Og or Massive-Rocks-Arranged-in-Mysterious-Circle, me believe this debate is valuable in itself; and me think we can all agree that when public work of art generate this sort of spirited dialogue, it can only be good thing.