Monday, April 04, 2005

If the Shriners come, does William Penn have to wear a Fez?

This is a little ridiculous and over the top:
Who's the big green guy in the white jacket?

Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce chief Mark Schweiker wants to see the City Hall statue of William Penn dressed in a "giant lab coat" on June 19 to greet the expected throng of visitors to Bio 2005, the convention of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The city has given similar honors to the playoff-bound (but ill-fated) 76ers and Phillies in recent years, the former governor figures. So why not dress up for the docs and their corporate business partners for the show?
First of all, as the little article mentions, it has not exactly been good luck to dress up William Penn. And, come on, can we keep a little dignity please? Making conventioneers welcome? Good. Selling out our local icons in the process? Bad.

And, there is a huge difference in putting a Phillies hat, which was a Philadelphia-centric, shared symbol of how much the town loved the 93 Phils and united around them, vs. putting a lab coat on William Penn. And, why would we stop there? What if the NEA comes for their convention? Shouldn't City Hall have a stack of books? How about the NRA? They have had their convention here, too. Should we give ol' Billy Penn an AK-47? And, if we start doing this, would that become a standard part of the convention contract? I hope not.


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