“Phanatic Around Town” Review #2: Philadelphia Free Library


Let’s face some realities.  The Phillie Phanatic, while the single most fucking hilarious mascot to exist in the history of humanity, is a giant muppet from the Galapagos Islands with a lamp shade for a nose that is meant to represent a baseball team.  Now that the “Phanatic Around Town” art project has placed a bunch of identical, differently decorated Phanatic statues around Philadelphia, we’re going to like/dislike them.  Here’s the first one.

Walking by the Free Library can be a bit of a… thing.  There’s a smattering of crackheads usually not far from you, and while they may not ask for money, you can tell their brains could be oozing out their ears and they may not really notice until they start dripping onto their shoes.

There are sometimes school children, fresh off the bus, hanging out, screaming newly-learned obscenities, trying to smack each other, or looking for spare change to buy snacks.  Nearby, a food cart sits comfortably on the corner, where you can get scalding hot coffee which I can tell you from personal experience will take off at least three layers of skin upon contact.  Also you will probably drop the rest of the coffee on your sneakers while avoiding being struck by three cars and a garbage truck at the next intersection.

Happens to everybody.  I assume.

And then, your eyes will suddenly be snared by what you will think is a giant cheese curl trying to give you a huge, but in reality, is this:

So clearly, this is a departure from your every day lovable Phanatic, but he so viciously invades your peripheral vision that you have no choice but to turn and gaze at what seems to be the most colorfully contrasted piece of art in Philadelphia history.  Yeah, there’s the museum on South Street that’s made of like, glass and empty bottles and shit, but South Street’s a pretty colorful place.  The Philadelphia Free Library is not.  Until now.

At the very least, Free Library Phanatic all but forces you to look at him, so in that vein, he is a success.

Standard reaction to this statue:

“Oh my god!  What the hell is–Oh, okay.  It’s just the Phillie Phanatic wearing a yellow space suit at the Free Library.  Never mind.”


I was walking past one of these statues the other day and some girl walking by with some nonprofit’s logo on her free t-shirt said, “The Phillie Phanatic has to be one of the dumbest mascots–” and then she walked out of earshot.  Now, I get mad at strangers all the time.  Sometimes they know it; sometimes they don’t realize that I’ve been following them for six blocks with a plastic whiffle bat.

But you clearly don’t have an understanding of the concept of “fun” if you think the Phanatic is stupid.  He just wants to to give you a high five or dance with an umpire or possibly flash your daughter.  If you’re lucky, he’ll fire a high velocity hot dog into your face.  And you should be so lucky.

That said, this statue is stupid, and it makes the Phanatic look like a greasy idiot.  Why the hell is he going into space?  What’s up there?  Is he supposed to be originally from space?  I guess that’s possible, but I swear I read his hometown was in the Galapagos Islands in a program when I was a kid.

The things the Phanatic likes are the Phillies and being fanatical about the Phillies.  He likes them so much that he likes that he likes them.  I didn’t just repeat myself.  That’s a true statement.

And unless the Phillies are in outer space (Quick Google News search:  They’re not), then there’s no reason for him to go up there, too; especially not dressed as comically large snack foods from your childhood.