Monday, March 26, 2007

Herkys provoke parody, outrage over vandalism

Nicholas Bergin and Leslie Shafer - The Daily Iowan

Issue date: 5/7/04 Section: Metro

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The recently unveiled "Herky on Parade" statues have produced mixed reactions this week, as was evident Thursday. A group of UI students organized a parody of the Herkys, and outraged Iowa City residents have offered to pay for damages suffered by some of the statues.

Perched upon gray plastic platforms, wearing black sunglasses and large foam beaks, six UI freshmen who contend that the Herkys are not an accurate representation of university life sweated in the 80-plus-degree weather during their parody in front of the Old Capitol.

The six - part of a UI rhetoric class taught by graduate student Joshua Haringa - depicted, among others, "Walk of Shame Herky," dressed in frumpy clothing, missing an earring, and brandishing condoms, and "Fashion Conscious Herky," who talked on a cell phone while holding up a fist full of credit cards.

UI freshman Andrea Tuttle portrayed "Average College Student Herky" by grasping a highlighter, some pens, and a notebook. She likes the idea of the statues, she said, but added, "You don't have to be the Incredible Hulk to represent your college."

While the group of UI freshmen opposed the sculptures, other Iowa City residents considered the Herkys a great addition to the area and wanted to help repair four recently vandalized statues.

"I thought it was sad that people damaged the Herkys because I am a proud Iowa City citizen," said Fran Mohr, the first of several residents to offer money for repairs.

Mohr's donation was offered in memory of her husband, Merlin "Bud" Mohr, a "big Hawkeye fan" who retired in 1992 after working for the UI police for 30 years.

"HerkyMan," "Rhinestone Cowgirl" Herky, "We Can Do It" Herky, and "Cultural Herky" have had $800 to $900 worth of props and clothing stolen since they were unveiled on May 3, said Josh Schamberger, the executive director of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Business Bureau.

The "Herky on Parade" committee will repair the vandalism, he said, and, while appreciated, donations are not being accepted. He added that the abuse is a shame because the vandalized Herkys were created by Johnson County youth.

"Students could help us by keeping an eye out in the downtown area," he said. "The artists of these statues are from their community, and we don't want to see any future ones destroyed."

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