They have started appearing on the streets of Washington, the gaily painted, smaller-than-life-sized effigies of elephants and donkeys collectively known as “Party Animals” that are the latest incarnations of the kind of public art pioneered by Chicago’s cows three years ago. Actually, Zürich first came up with the idea (if it is not to dignify such a gesture to call it an idea) but, as in so many other cases, Americans have taken the lead in marketing a European concept. Since then, for instance, there have been pigs in Cincinnati and Seattle, horses in Lexington, Kentucky, buffalo in Buffalo, moose in Toronto, and stylized beagles—or “Snoopies”—in St. Paul, which is the birthplace of Charles Schultz, creator of the cartoon strip “Peanuts”—to name just a few examples of that good old American can-do spirit.

But while such kitsch was merely annoying in the City of Big...


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