The Satanic Statue Being Made for Oklahoma’s Statehouse Is Coming Along Nicely
Two weeks ago I found myself in the backwoods of rural Florida standing in front of a bronzed bust of the pagan idol Baphomet. A few days later it would be attached to its eight-and-a-half-foot cloven-hoofed body and put to rest on a throne flanked on either side by a small metallic child. Eventually, its creators hope, it will be whisked away to Oklahoma, where it will be placed next to a Ten Commandments monument on the front lawn of the state capitol.
Photos courtesy of Mark Porter
I had come to this foundry in the middle of the sticks with Lucien Greaves, the spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, the group behind the monument. The last time I saw it was in a small Brooklyn studio in April, when it was still being formed out of clay by Mark Porter, an artist trained in classical sculpture. Now, seven months later, it’s almost finished.
Photos by Jonathan Smith
Before this trip I had been under the impression that bronze sculptures were created with a giant crane that dipped the work whole into a vat of molten bronze like a piece of bread into a fondue bowl. That’s not the case. The work is cut into many pieces, each of which is bronzed separately before being welded back together. When we arrived, different parts of the sculpture lay scattered across the property. The bust sat on a wooden table inside a sort of open-air shed, while the torso rested nearby on a smaller table. The hooves and arms were splayed out on the ground nearby. The following day, Porter, along with two other men, would begin the arduous process of welding the disparate pieces together to create a smooth, fluid sculpture meant to serve as a testament to the equal representation of all religions under United States law.
While it’s not yet finished, the below images should give you an idea of what these guys are working with:
Photos courtesy of Mark Porter
Oklahoma is far from the only state with a religious monument—or even a Ten Commandments monument—on government property. In fact, there’s even a handy website that maps them all out for you. So why did the Satanic Temple choose Oklahoma?
"They specifically made statements that this location was to be a monument park," Greaves told me. "They didn’t put it in exactly those words, but that was the legal rhetoric that they instituted to justify it and pretend there was constitutional standing for it, and that was just a breach of the [First Amendment’s] establishment clause. They set the perfect groundwork for us."
Darth Revan is an unusual selection for this list I guess because Revan isn’t canonically female - whatever that means though. Because lbr Star Wars canon also includes shit like midicholorians and the Yuuzhan Vong.
But really Darth Revan is what this list is all about: Meaningful representation.
KOTOR SPOILERS IN THIS BIT HERE LOOK AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT THEM~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The first time I played KOTOR I didn’t actually realize the big spoiler until it got there. Silly of me I guess but playing as a female character made all the difference - I didn’t expect to see this powerful, rebellious Jedi war hero-turned-Sith Lord be anything but a man under the mask. Revan is a leader, a firebrand, and quite possibly a monster. I never considered that my player character could be Revan, because Revan was a number of things that are typically coded as male, and I was playing a woman.
That’s what this list is about, honestly. It’s about the fact that as a woman, I want to play video games that give me the same thing men get from games. I want heroes and villains and everything in between, I want strong and weak and dangerous and wrong and right and beautiful and noble and flawed characters and I want them to be someone I can see myself in. As a gamer, you aren’t simply watching a story take place, you are enforcing and creating the story with every action you take. Given this, how can representation ever be construed as something inessential or petty? Empathy and agency are at the core of gaming as a medium, and forgetting this or failing to apply it to half of gamers is just dumb as hell.