“Phanatic Around Town” Review #5: Love Park
By Justin Klugh
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 he is in Center City, at the Free Library, the Franklin Institute, and Rittenhouse Square.
The guardian of the night time stands tall in Central Philadelphia, donned in his signature solid gold t-shirt and casual declarations of love. You may stumble across him on a glorious afternoon while dozens of amateur skateboarders faceplant and taunt police officers behind him. You may almost cause a traffic accident driving by, wondering what in god’s name he is wearing. Or you may, as I did, cross paths with this magnanimous love monster on your way home from the bars, a PBR 40 in your hand, and demand to know why he isn’t instantly on your cell phone camera.
If you think I’m just saying that to excuse the fact that that picture is unprofessionally blurred, you are half right.
The other half of the problem was that everyone who was close enough to take my picture was either also fairly luck yto be on their feet or asleep on a manhole cover.
This Phanatic is my favorite so far. He’s got City Hall on his shoulders. He’s made a brash, bold fashion choice in his treasure chest-gold jersey, and the LOVE he’s decorated it with bounces nicely off the park around him. He’s just out of reach of where the preteen skaters pollute the area, and not deep enough inside the park itself to fall victim to those genius, totally outside-the-box thinking engaged couples who decide “Hey! Let’s get out engagement photos taken in LOVE park because we’re in LOVE! Do you get it? Ha, ha! Delightful.”
He’s not trying to be too much at once, he’s not exploding colors all over himself, and he’s not too bland, despite the stony urban environment surrounding him. Being ready to hug anybody who wants it, he is also a true advocate for love. Except that he is not a living thing, and is incapable of such an emotion.
A point made to me by a passing police car mere moments after that first photo was taken.
Hey, its Love Park. Anything goes.
AND IT IS CALLED THE “KEY TO GOLDEN LOVE.” I don’t even know what that means, but I love it.
In the end, isn’t that the very nature of love? Not understanding anything, but acting on it regardless?
Actually, yeah. Kind of. Wow. A rational conclusion. Not a lot of those on this blog. Enjoy it while you can, folks.