UPDATE: I suppose I should be more specific.
It’s a statue of Albert Einstein in Washington, D.C., and what’s striking about it is that it’s so casual.
I mentioned earlier John McWhorter’s book on the dearth of formal speech. Well, this is an informal statue. In another time, we’d have had a dignified bust of the great scientist; more recently, we’d have had an inscrutable mishmash that no one could have recognized without the brass plate identifying the sculpture. Now he’s recognizable, and he looks like a grandpa — or like a child — and he seems to be watching in indulgence and wonder the people who come to the circle and gaze at the stars. He also seems to be looking inward, as if he’s comparing the map of his own soul to the notebook on his lap (if you click through the picture, you’ll come to a larger one).
In no other time would the statue of the great scientist seem to invite passing children to be photographed on his lap. McWhorter laments the loss of formal speech, and I think he’s right. I also think this statue is beautiful.