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The 9 Most Baffling Monuments to Great People

#4. Pope John Paul II -- Rome, Italy

KVAL.com

Someone decided that the best way to honor Pope John Paul II, the man whose testicular fortitude helped take down communism, was to construct a statue that looks nothing like him. Or anybody else. Hell, some of you didn't even know that was a statue of a person until we told you. It looks like a chunk of fuselage fell off an airplane and landed there.

It's not just you -- the Vatican itself has said the statue is "hardly able to be recognized" and has even called it "a permanent and sacrilegious mud stain" on the memory of the late pope.

Sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi defended the design, saying it was meant to showcase the late pope's desire to welcome humanity. That's right -- with all the sex scandals that have mired the Catholic church in recent years, he thought it was a good idea to depict the pope welcoming humanity into his robe.

aporrea.org
No way that'll get misinterpreted.

The good news is that the city of Rome is planning to refurbish the statue into something more presentable. Our advice? Don't go for abstract symbolism this time -- that always ends in disaster. Just see this next memorial to ...

#3. 9/11 Victims -- Bayonne, New Jersey

Getty
NWS.

To the Struggle Against World Terrorism (also known as the Tear of Grief and the Tear Drop Memorial) was conceived by controversial artist Zurab Tsereteli as a gift from his country to the U.S. in honor of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was originally supposed to go to Jersey City, but the city council took one look at it and punted it across the room like that sweater your grandma gave you last Christmas. When it got regifted to nearby Bayonne, they agreed to take it and stuck it at the end of a pier. Its reception has been less than enthusiastic -- one 9/11 survivor described it as "a cross between a scar and a female sexual organ."

And did we mention it continuously drips water?

SmugMug
From here it looks like a certain type of, uh, piercing.

So to summarize: In order to honor the victims of 9/11, another country gave us a giant, sopping vagina. Who might have done such a thing?

9/11 Monument
"I would cry for your country, were my face capable of anything but scowls."

Oh. It was a gift from the people of Russia and Vladimir Putin himself. Well, that explains it, then -- to Vladimir Putin, everything's a pussy.

#2. Khalil Gibran -- Washington, D.C.

Khalil Gibran Memorial

The vast majority of you are staring blankly at your screen right now, but the three poetry fans who read Cracked just peed a little at the mention of this guy's name. Khalil Gibran was a Lebanese-American poet who became a big deal in the '60s counterculture.

How big? Well, for starters, he was quoted by the freaking Beatles in the song "Julia" on the White Album. He also sold quite a few poems, so many that he's the third best-selling poet of all time, after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. He's about as close to a badass as you can get, for a poet. So, as one of history's most influential Arab-Americans, it's no surprise that he has a memorial in Washington, D.C.

Gyrofrog
So few memorials attempt to depict their subject projectile vomiting. Probably for a reason.

But in order to describe it, Gordon Kray, sculptor of the memorial, is about to force us to type a sentence that we've only previously typed once, in our strangest nightmare: The poet's dismembered head is coming out of a snake made of leaves, and there are birds feeding on it. Or maybe those aren't leaves, but the ragged remains of his torso after the man was eaten by the flock of ravenous birds. Wait, is that how the poet really died? Don't tell us, we don't want to know.

#1. Mister Rogers -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Northside Chronicle

Having perhaps the most unfortunate middle name that someone who dedicated his life to interacting with children could possibly have, it's no surprise that Fred McFeely Rogers was known to all of us by his more formal title: Mister Rogers.

So how do you memorialize this childhood icon in his own hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? If you're sculptor Robert Berks, the answer's easy -- you depict him as some kind of strange amalgam of the rock biter from The NeverEnding Story and a leprosy victim:

Uptake
He smiles, but the eyes ... SO. EMPTY.

And since we've already done such a thorough job of destroying your mental image of this childhood hero with that one close-up, we're not even going to post this picture of the statue at night. Go there if you want, but for the sake of all the childhood memories you hold dear, we'd really prefer you didn't.

You looked, didn't you? Well, we can't just leave you with that unholy image burned into your corneas, so how about we try to make it up to you by telling you that this also exists in Pittsburgh (don't say we never gave you nothin'):

Two Happy, Crazy Mormons

Now that's how Mister Rogers deserves to be remembered: as a puppet-wielding T. rex. Pittsburgh, you've redeemed yourselves. Almost.

Chris Zeigler blogs about superheroes and ethics here. He'd like to thank Dawn Morrow for connecting the MLK statue to the Necromongers and his brother Ben for editing.

For more disturbing ways to honor people, check out The 12 Most God Awful Tribute Albums Ever Recorded. Or learn about 5 Villains That Were Thinly Veiled Versions of Real People.

And stop by LinkSTORM to see Cody's unusual shrine to John Cheese.

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