The Wall Street Journal examines how a statue of Lincoln is soon to displace a monument to the discoverer of a very special set of glands in Brooklyn.
A statue of the 16th president — the nation's first monument to him — once stood at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, at the edge of Prospect Park. But it has since been moved several times, and is now stranded forlornly, deep in the park. But soon, the Lincoln statue will resume (nearly) its rightful place.
And that means displacing the bust of Dr. Alexander Skene, a 19th-century gynecologist who discovered Skene's glands. Those obscure items, The Journal reports, are now thought by some researchers to be "vital to the functioning of the elusive G spot."
Skene was an important medical figure, and some fans of his don't want to see his staute moved to make way for Lincoln, who, let's face it, enjoys an already healthy degree of renown.
"Our strong stance was that Dr. Skene should stay where he is," says Kathleen Powderly, an ethicist at Downstate Medical Center, east of the park. Downstate's roots are in the hospital Dr. Skene once headed. Dr. Powderly wrote her doctoral thesis about him. She has a T-shirt with his face on it draped over her office chair.
"Monuments shouldn't all be for generals and politicians," she says. "Skene was a champion for women's health. Those glands weren't prominent. You didn't even notice them unless they were inflamed."
Some students of the Civil War see things her way. Tony Horwitz, whose new book, "Midnight Rising," carves a warts-and-all Lincoln figure, puts it like this: "He's on the penny, he's on the Mall. Enough Lincoln, already. It's time gynecologists get their due."
The story is gripping. Robert Moses even makes an appearance, to do something extremely Robert Moses-y. (Spoiler: he fills in a lake.) And those with the deepest convictions about statute placement in the plaza persevere in efforts to make the public understand the importance of these issues.
One living park fixture, Richard Kessler, is convinced Olmsted had Lincoln face north to defy proslavery tycoons in Manhattan. Mr. Kessler, 65, hands out tracts to that effect in the plaza.
"People nod their heads until I'm done talking and walk away," he said while crusading there one autumn day.
Anyway, we are pretty sure this is the first time Lincoln and the G spot have appeared together in a piece of journalism (even fiction, for that matter). But there is one more book we should check first...
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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