The Reno Gazette-Journal broke the news (and thanks to tipster Robot Greg for flagging it) that a large bug made from a VW beetle in that city is in trouble. The bug stands atop a building that has been sold, and its buyer wants the bug removed. The city’s “redevelopment citizens advisory board chairman,” according to the story, called the sculpture “the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life” and declared, “Sell it for sheet metal” — but the person whose job it is to encourage throwing out the old and bringing in the new is probably not going to have a sympathetic opinion.
Urban antagonism toward big bugs is far from universal. “Nibbles Woodaway,” a giant termite atop a building in Providence, Rhode Island, is beloved by that city, while the huge bugs inside New Orleans’ Insectarium are a point of pride. Reno calls itself “the biggest little city in the world,” but its heart here seems pretty small. If the bug had slot machines in its legs, would Reno be so eager to exterminate it?
Reno’s bug-haters may have their work cut out for them. The Gazette-Journal notes that the sculpture is featured in the title credits to “Reno 911,” which makes it a famous bug. Local TV station KTVN calls the sculpture “iconic” and reports that city officials have said that the bug isn’t necessarily doomed, but that it can’t go anywhere “where people could climb on it or touch it, because people could get hurt.”
That could be phony concern from worried politicians, or it could simply mean that the bug will have to move to another rooftop. A public meeting of the city’s art committee will be held on October 6 to take suggestions. Perhaps someone will recommend bolting it to side of the house of the redevelopment citizens advisory board chairman.
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