Passage #385: 11 January 2017

Public Figures

We can choose any numbers of barometers to judge the relative value our society places upon the groups of which it is composed. To whom are resources allocated? To whom opportunities? To whose voices do we listen? Whose do we trust? How discerning are our eyes of individuals, or do we only see a group's members as members of a group? Who do we celebrate? Who do we condemn?

If one is going to go out into the city in pursuit of signs of these appraisals — say, on a bike ride, for instance — one might choose the most literal route possible: to see which bodies we value, look at which bodies we have chosen to represent. Cast in metal and carved in stone, one can find values made manifest. One might not, however, like what one finds. Indeed, while we might fancy ourselves egalitarian in our hearts, our public spaces are, in form, all too often anything but. Our ideals far outpace our environment.

And yet, with a little effort, it is possible to navigate amongst these bodies in space in a manner that creates somewhat of a counter narrative. Explorers and politicians and athletes are all possibly fine and good (though also quite possibly not) but they are certainly not the whole story. In other figures we can find other values. This week on the ride we will try to do just that.

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