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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 19, May 9, 2010, Article 27

SHADES OF STANDING LIBERTY: VIRGINIA'S BARE BREAST COVERED

1916 Standing Liberty Quarter obverse Dick Johnson forwarded this article about a kerfuffle over the Virginia Attorney General's choice of design for a pin based on the state's official seal, which brings to mind the (apocryphal) dust-up over Miss Liberty's exposed breast on the 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter. -Editor

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli apparently isn't fond of wardrobe malfunctions, even when Virginia's state seal is involved.

The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, or virtue, wearing a blue tunic draped over one shoulder, her left breast exposed. But on the new lapel pins Cuccinelli recently handed out to his staff, Virtus' bosom is covered by an armored breastplate.

Virginia bare Virginia covered

When the new design came up at a staff meeting, workers in attendance said Cuccinelli joked that it converts a risque image into a PG one.

The joke might be on him, said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

"When you ask to be ridiculed, it usually happens. And it will happen here, nationally," he said. "This is classical art, for goodness' sake."

Cuccinelli's spokesperson said the pins depicting the version preferred by the state AG were paid for by his political action committee, not taxpayers. That's nice, I suppose, but it's not really the point of what makes this interesting.

If this seems strangely familiar, I should note that then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft did something similar a few months after 9/11, when he covered up bare-breasted statues in the main hall at the Department of Justice with blue drapes.

To read the complete article, see: THE CUCCINELLI CRUSADE CONTINUES.... (www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_05/023605.php)

Cuccinelli issued a statement about his decision:

The seal on my pin is one of many seal variations that were used before a uniform version was created in 1930. I felt it was historic and would be something unique for my staff. My joke about Virtue being a little more virtuous in her more modest clothing was intended to get laughs from my employees which it did! Just because we've always done something a certain way doesn't mean we always have to continue doing it that way. Now seriously, can we get on with real news?

To read the complete article, see: Attorney General Saves Virginia from Breasts (gawker.com/5529962/attorney-general-saves-virginia-from-breasts)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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