Thanks to Darren for sending this. His thoughts:
So does the fact that the statue is of Lenin mean anything here, or is it just a too-large ugly statue that could be of anyone? (Like Alice wanting a stone fountain for the backyard)
Seems odd that he would want a statue of Lenin or that his wife is only mildly annoyed with the purchase.
Or is this a name thing? Len likes a statue of someone named Len(in)? I don’t get it.
When I got Darren’s email, I almost immediately recognized his allusion to “Alice wanting a stone fountain for the backyard” as referencing a multi-strip story in Cul de Sac, which I had recently seen. But I couldn’t find it in recent GoComics reprints of the CdS archive. Anyhow, the CIDU advisers crew responded to my inquiry in our Random Comments thread, and identified the early appearance of the story starting around https://www.gocomics.com/culdesac/2009/12/02 and including for example this one:
Further, commenter jajizi identified an earlier similar storyline, starting around https://www.gocomics.com/culdesac/2008/09/02 and including for example:
“Seems odd that he would want a statue of Lenin or that his wife is only mildly annoyed with the purchase.”
YES, that’s the joke.
Plus the fact that a statue of Lenin was available at an architectural surplus lot in the first place.
And should the statue base have said ЛЕНИН?
Just kidding. There were admirers in many other places.
Which leads me to ask about Len’s politics, or maybe I mean the strip’s politics. There are some in the west who still like to say, Yes Stalin was a monster and USSR Communism was a monster totalitarian system – but the seeds of a good socialism were there with Lenin (or Trotsky for some) and didn’t have a chance to show how it could work. Or with some variations but still trying to rehab Lenin
“YES, that’s the joke.”
It isn’t particularly helpful to just yell at someone that the items they have identified are what is the joke — clearly they disagree, they didn’t get it, so just mobbing them with peer pressure, mild disgust, scorn, whatever, isn’t really going to resolve the issue — yes, it is traditional school ground behavior to bully non-conformists into line this way, but at a site called “Comics I Don’t Understand”, one would hope for more helpful feedback. If you can’t explain something, then there is an argument to be made that you don’t really understand it.
(Yes, there is an aspect of de gustibus non est disputandum to humor, you could argue that it is idiosyncratic, and either you think something is funny, or you don’t; but if that’s your philosophy, then you should merely point out that you thought something funny, and you can’t explain it, and don’t try to shame the other person for not sharing your sense of humor.)
There was a very striking scene in a superb post-unification movie called “Goodbye Lenin”, in which the mother (who was in a coma during the unification process) witnesses a helicopter flying off with a huge statue of Lenin. From a western perspective, it appears equivalent to “taking out the trash”†, but in the context of the movie (and in real life), it was a fantastic way to symbolize the way that many East Germans thought that unification had “upset the apple cart”, and in many ways actually had “thrown out the baby with the bath water”‡.
P.S. † – Precisely the reason why the guy in this strip would have been able to get that statue for next to nothing.
P.P.S. ‡ – I am (emphatically) not saying that German unification should not have happened: the East German regime was completely out of touch with reality and desperately needed reform and/or replacement. However, the way that Kohl and his cronies in the West German establishment tacitly assumed that they could simply supersede anything “eastern” with a “western” replacement meant that there wasn’t much “unifying” in the process. In reality, it was an adsorption.
Guys, guys, guys… please make sure to continue to stay inside the lines of “amicable disagreement”.
Video of the 2014 toppling of Lenin statue(s) in Ukraine made one of them one of the most famous “architectural remnants” in the world.
The statue in the strip is an original configuration, as the scroll of papers, if depicted, is always being held in Lenin’s right hand. His right hand is also the one that is often open-palmed and projected either forward or to the right. He can’t do both. : – ) His left hand, if in use, is usually gripping his jacket lapel.
Notice that the base of the statue has cracks, which supports the it’s cheap because it was taken down hypothesis.
I went to the Museum of the Occupation in Tallinn, Estonia. They put the busts of the old Communist leaders in the dingy basement near the rest rooms. Just kind of strewn about the corridor. It seemed quite fitting.
Some thought it would have been better for reunification to proceed at a slower pace, but I understand their thinking. No one knew how long that Russian thing would last, and the quicker any distinction was wiped out the better. If a different sort of person rose to the top quickly in the New Russia, then the tanks might have rolled back in.
We don’t know the educational background of the man who purchased the statue. He might be a Lenin grad.
The strip’s politics are fairly center-left for the 00s (this originally ran in 2007). Len’s politics are probably about the same. He’s an aging punker, but also owns his own business. His mother is a left-wing activist who constantly gets involved in causes. Abby’s politics are probably about the same as Len’s, though she’s also more conventional than he is. Her mother’s an ardent Democrat and her father is a rock-ribbed Republican (again 00s version).
But I don’t think politics really have anything to do with the choice. It’s just something big and absurd. Maybe the Lebans saw something like it and wondered who would buy such a thing.
Bill had this term he always used when referring to Abby in this strip. “Neurotic something Abby Ardin” or “something neurotic Abby Ardin”: Anybody remember what it was?
The Comics Curmudgeon refers to her as “obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin”. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking of.
Is it Josh? I don’t remember him covering Edge City, so I figured it was Bill.
It would be more precise to say that it was (but not “is”) Josh: a Google search for “Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin site:joshreads.com” turns up a couple dozen references, but they are all dated from 2012 to 2014. Given that “Edge City” ceased production in 2016, that’s perfectly understandable. Here is just one example.