Kindness and Wit

IT WOULD MAKE SENSE that John Kindness has been working on a statue of Molly Malone, who, according to popular song, once sold cockles and mussels alive alive-o in the Dublin streets. Malone is something between a historical figure and fiction. The facts about her are few, and of little significance in themselves, for she is central to the construction of a certain Dublin character type—a working-class heroine who survives poverty to become her community’s pillar of strength. Though the real Molly may, in fact, have traded more potent goods than the shellfish recorded in the song, she has been made into a mother figure. A statue of her in Dublin’s city center plays to this sentimentality, cloning a standard Hollywood version of pre-Modern women’s dress: wide skirts, and a plunging neckline revealing breasts that defy resemblance to natural shape or size.

Molly Malone is a likely subject

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