Jason Cochran

Stuff you never knew you never knew

Jason Cochran at Mount RushmoreGirl, you know it’s true.

Mount Rushmore is empty-calorie patriotism, but it’s pretty.

Local concerns overbuilt the amenities so much in the 1990s so that they’re still paying them off. Merely parking a car costs $11. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum took extreme care in rendering his four subjects accurately, but the piles of tourist junk hawked by Xanterra at its several gift shop concessions? Not so much.

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like, in all its placebo-patriotic attractiveness:

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

But most of the tourist tat sold in the gift shops mangles the angles and fudges the faces.

Thomas Jefferson is usually made to look the most ridiculous.

Bad Mount Rushmore souvenir

Here, the boys appear to be beaten up

Bad Mount Rushmore souvenir

This Thomas Jefferson looks like Shelley Winters. I think Abe's in drag.

Bad Mount Rushmore souvenir

Abe looks like he just let one loose, and TR is giving him the stinkeye. Tommy's mascara is dripping. George is trying to ignore their shenanigans.

On this votive holder, it's Abe who's pissed off, and Tommy now resembles Bea Arthur...

Bad Mount Rushmore souvenir

...but if you light it, they look like the Beatles. George is John Lennon (of course), in shades.

Mount Rushmore model

Then again, even Gutzon Borglum's own model, on view in the old workshop, makes it look like George Washington is muscling in front of Thomas Jefferson, and Lincoln looks eerily like he's watching a play from the box at Ford's Theatre. (Obviously, our familiar, disembodied Mount Rushmore looks nothing like this model, either. He died in 1941, 14 years into it, and it's technically unfinished.)

East of the Black Hills, in front of a steak house on 79 in Hermosa, South Dakota, thought to be three castoffs from the now-closed Presidents Park sculpture garden, provide a counterpoint to Mount Rushmore with someone’s modern favorites: JFK, Reagan, and George W. Bush.

President Heads in Hermosa, SD

It's not the first time Dubya cast a dark shadow on the land

Then again, Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t really belong up on that mountain, either, does he? He’d only been dead for less than a decade when Rushmore was begun. But no one could talk Borglum, bullheaded man, out of carving TR on the rock.

There was a reason: Turns out they were good friends.

Jason Cochran at Mount Rushmore

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