Free speech ends with a noodly appendage.

From http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=56826&provider=gnews
Every Wednesday afternoon for two years now, a group of about eight Cumberland County residents put on a display of free speech right in front of Cumberland County's courthouse in Crossville.Advertisement

"This is what American citizenship is. We're patriotic when we come out here," Herb Muenstermann said. "We just think there should be peace, rather than war."

But every day, 24 hours, seven days a week, free speech shines through the lawn monuments in the courthouse's yard.

War messages, a miniature Statue of Liberty, and even the now-famous flying spaghetti monster grace the landscape.

Ariel Safdie, the artist who put the spaghetti monster on the courthouse lawn, says she originally put it up as an expression of freedom of speech.

Since a 10 News story a few weeks ago, the story has gotten national exposure, even hitting the pages of Rolling Stone magazine.

You can read Safdie's blog about the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" here.

For locals who want to check it out, it's best to eat it up while you can. All the monuments won't be around much longer.

"At the end of this month, all displays have to come down," said Joe Gittings, a Crossville resident who joined in the anti-war demonstration.

The displays to be removed include one that Gittings helped build. It's a memorial honoring the casualties of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Model dog-tags represent each American life lost.

It stands just a few yards from the spaghetti monster.

"I don't want to hurt any artist's feelings, but I don't think it (the spaghetti monster) did anything for anybody," Muenstermann said. "But, when I see those dog tags, I fight tears."

Thursday, the commission voted to eliminate all permanent displays. They say they'd like to keep the green space green and not detract from the courthouse.

Safdie says she has no problem with the commission's decision.

"As long as the county gives equal opportunity, it has to be everything up or nothing up," she said.

If you don't know who the Flying Spahetti Monster is, you need to read up on this gracious and delicious diety. May you be touched by his noodly appendage.

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