Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Pope Francis Scarecrow Wins First Prize

This is a straw man.

I don't think it's an anti-Francis (or pro-Francis) thing, nor necessarily an anti-Catholic thing. People at the Durrow Scarecrow Festival simply like making scarecrows, often with topical themes. I actually think the Francis scarecrow is pretty good, largely because it is, well, large. And the fact that it waves when a button is pressed is a nice touch.

Let me take some of that back. It probably is a somewhat anti-Catholic thing. Poking unfriendly fun at popes in pope mobiles goes back a generation or more. I suppose this shows how, despite the love that much of the secular world has for Francis, the fact that he is still allegedly a Catholic pope is a bit of a negative. Mocking the papacy itself is always fair game, now more than ever in Ireland, of course.

To be honest, I found many of the scarecrows to be a bit disappointing (see here, and also pictures, below). The Trump scarecrow just looks like a mannequin with bit of straw added to its head. Its childishly drawn face recalls that horrible Spanish fresco restoration. The Lady Gaga scarecrow (from a past festival) resembles a bedraggled muppet.

There's only so much you can do with straw.

The "Scarecrow of Liberty" is creepy, which I guess is sort of the point.

The trick, I think, is to make your scarecrow giant, which, among other things, is sure to get the judges' attention. This is why the King Kong scarecrow works.

Francis will be visiting Ireland later this month.

Unless they erect a giant crucifix at the airport. That would scare him off.      

From The Irish Times, August 6, 2018:

Giant scarecrow in image of Pope triumphs at Durrow festival 
Straw creation of Pontiff in his popemobile is star of the annual show in Co Laois 
A giant scarecrow version of Pope Francis has won joint-first prize in a competition at the Durrow Scarecrow Festival. 
The pontiff is due to visit the Republic later this month. 
The massive model of Pope Francis in his popemobile was created by a group of men in Durrow, Co Laois, for the popular annual festival. 
Chairwoman of the Durrow Development Forum, Evelyn Clancy, said there had been a huge amount of interest from across Ireland. 
The festival is known for its topical depictions, from Donald Trump to King Kong. 
“People expect it, King Kong was higher than a two-storey house, people have that expectation from this group of men,” said Ms Clancy. 
The talented and creative group behind the creation includes engineers and carpenters who have put many evenings of work into their scarecrow. 
Chairman of the Conahy Vintage Club, Michael Bergin, told the Leinster Express they enjoyed the camaraderie. 
“We always think that big is beautiful. There was work for everybody in it from steel to straw, overalls, shoes down to making tea and having a chat. You make it up as you go along.” 
The group added lights to the popemobile and when a button is pressed, the scarecrow Pope waves. 
Money raised from visitors to the festival is reinvested in the community, Ms Clancy said.


  1. Before I looked closely, I thought Pope Scarecrow was flipping the bird with both hands. Which, let's be honest, would have actually been quite appropriate.

  2. Actually the King Kong and the pope scarecrow look like they come from the same "troop" (the name of a group of gorillas). Just sayin'.

  3. Hi. Glad you took that post down about the fox. The fox was following his true nature and though the little girl was traumatized, she would likely not suffer the deep, enduring psychological scars with a ruined life the poor victims of predatory, sexual violence inflicted by depraved clerics and their enablers would. You missed the mark on that one, Maho.