Claim: Claire Braz-Valentine wrote and read “An Open Letter to John Ashcroft” at Cabrillo College.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2005]
This poem was written and read at the Santa Cruz Celebration of The Muse at Cabrillo College in 2002. The evening is a benefit for survivors of breast cancer.
AN OPEN LETTER TO JOHN ASCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
On January 28, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft, announced that he spent $8000 of taxpayer’s money for drapes to cover up the exposed breast of The Spirit of Justice, an 18ft aluminum statue of a woman that stands in the Hall of Justice.
John, John, John,
It’s not that we aren’t grateful
So, in your office every morning,
While you look at that breast John,
It’s not the money it cost.
Origins: The issue at the heart of this piece is two Art Deco sculptures which have stood in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice since that headquarters building opened in 1936. Commissioned from German sculptor
latter is a male figure with a draped cloth covering his midsection. Press photographers over the years had sometimes taken advantage of the positioning of the statues to snap “boob in front of the boob” shots (such as a notorious photo of Edwin Meese, Attorney General during President Reagan’s second term, holding a report on pornography aloft with the partially nude female statue visible behind him).
After John Ashcroft, the Attorney General during President George W. Bush’s first term, was captured by press cameramen in similar shots, the media reported in
Whatever the truth of the “Drapegate” incident, poet, playwright, and journalist
A QuickTime video of Ms. Braz-Valentine reading her poem at Cabrillo College can be viewed at the link below.
Update: John Ashcroft stepped down as Attorney General after the 2004 elections, and President Bush selected
| An Open Letter to John Ashcroft (Claire Braz-Valentine)|
Last updated: 25 June 2005