Feathered Bastard

Cottonwood Rednecks Freak Over Korean Statue of Mother Earth Named "Mago"

To cop and alter a line from Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I, the rednecks are revolting! Yeah, man, they stink on ice.

Like you needed more proof that Arizona's chock full of backwards, toothless puddin'heads who freak at the mere suggestion of any culture other than their own, along comes the case of a beautiful, winsome 39 foot statue that symbolizes Mother Earth and world peace.

The Mago Earth Park statue (pronounced "Mah-goh") was erected by the Tao Fellowship, a retreat founded and led by South Korean businessman Ilchi Lee. Lee calls himself a "brain educator," whatever that is, and is the founder of a chain of yoga centers called Dahn Yoga. There are numerous articles on cult watchdog Rick Ross' Web site alleging that Dahn Yoga is a cult or engages in cult-like practices.

But the issue at hand has nothing to do with whether Dahn Yoga is a cult. In fact, this is rarely mentioned in any of the articles discussing the controversy. Nah, what's got the rednecks riled in Cottonwood -- almost lynchin' mad -- is that they've got this here foreign icon lording it over Arizona State Route 89A.

I'm guessing if, instead of a golden-haired, white-robed goddess, there was a 50 foot statute of John Wayne in the saddle, these Cottonwood sidewinders would let it slide. Ditto for a big ol' image of Jesus Christ on the cross. See, the 39 foot statue sits on a 10 foot pedestal, making it around the same height as a neighboring Catholic church.

But, hey, that's different. No, really, that's what the local yokels are saying through their wads of chewing tobacco.

"I believe in black and white," one dip told the Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Commission, according to a report in the Verde Independent. "I don't wan't no statue."

Some other tard at the meeting referred to the image as a "graven image." Yet another called the situation "a slap in the face to the church across the street."

No wonder the city commission voted to have the Tao Fellowship take down the statue. They're lucky the meeting didn't turn into a re-enactment of The Ox-Bow Incident.

Anyone talking tolerance or the Bill of Rights? Some, but such high-falutin' sentiments were (and are) the minority opinion.

Just another day in Sand Land, if you ask me. Reminds me of how the folks of Pine-Strawberry wigged out recently when they were greeted by the face of an African-American kid on the side of their elementary school. It was part of a mural civic boosters had commissioned. The argument for painting it over was similar to Cottonwood's rejection of Mago: It's not representative of the community.

In other words, "furriners" and non-whites are welcome as long as they keep moving and keep their yaps shut. Talk about being as dumb as dirt. Oddly, this Mago statue would be my only reason to stop in Cottonwood. And as soon as they yank it down, there goes that excuse.

Haven't these nudniks ever heard of "tourism"? Sheesh. Maybe they're all as rich as Crassus and don't need the dough. But I doubt it. 

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons