Council to Install Stocks on Mall

In response to Matthew Farrell’s recent letter declaring himself to be “Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Intellectual,” reader Valerie L’Herrou has provided an article on City Council’s controversial new plan to install stocks and pillories on the Downtown Mall in an effort to curb “Downtown Charlottesville’s Leading Public Nuisance.” (Remember, folks, Jefferson with a moustache means satire.)

City Council to place stocks and pillories on downtown mall

Denies “leading public nuisance” a factor in decision

In a surprise announcement which stunned much of the city today, Charlottesville Mayor Maurice Cox announced that a federal law-enforcement grant would be used to purchase stocks and pillories, to be placed on the downtown mall for the punishment and deterrence of “public nuisances.”

Cox denied that recent antics by self-proclaimed “leading public nuisance” Matthew Farrell had anything to do with the decision. “The city applied for this grant two years ago. We need to use the funds now or we will lose them. The decision had already been made.”

Others were not so sure. “I think the mayor is being disingenuous,” said one downtown coffee drinker, who asked not be identified. “The word on the street is that Farrell is the reason they’re getting those stocks. After all, look at what they’re defining as a nuisance–mannered behavior and over-dressing. And I, for one, will be among the first to throw a rotten tomato at that cream-colored suit.”

Charlottesville’s social-justice community was outraged by the decision. Demonstrators gathered on the corner of Main Street in front of the Federal building, carrying signs reading “Just Say No to Stocks (and bonds)” and “City Council: selling out lock, stock and barrel.” One demonstrator explained, “see, it’s like the stock market, their stocks aren’t worth anything on the world market, so they’re like, dumping them here in small-town America. It’s part of the evil spread of global capitalism.”

Informed of the criticism, City Councilors took it in stride. “It’s about time we had some sense of law and order in this city,” said Republican Councilor Rob Schilling. “Now maybe we’ll see less graffiti. And I’m glad that council was able to agree that linen suits and bowties are grounds for the pillory. Over the next year, the ordinance will be expanded to require anyone wearing Hawaiian shirts, designer clothes, or any item of clothing or hairstyle costing over $100 to be placed in the stocks.” Asked about length of hair, Schilling replied, “come on, I may be a Republican, but I’m not unreasonable. Naturally, any hairstyle popular after 1964 and before 1975 will be exempt from the ordinance.”

Downtown merchants and stylists expressed displeasure with the ordinance. “We don’t have a single item of clothing that costs less than $120,” complained one retailer. “This will really dampen the economy of the mall.”

“Matthew Farrell’s hairstyle was on the verge of becoming really popular,” complained a salon owner. “And it needs to be trimmed every few days to look right. Even women were coming in to ask for that cut. I predict several salons will close down.”

Professional commentators were quick to add their two cents. “Charlottesville likes to consider itself a progressive city,” pontificated perennial pundit Larry Sabato. “So naturally this seems shocking to many. However, we must remember that Charlottesville is a colonial-era city, and it retains its colonial character in many ways. The ubiquitous use of bricks for building material, for instance. And we can see in this decision some of the tension between the revolutionary colonists, who favored the ‘natural look’ in fashions, and the loyalists, who preferred the ‘dandy’ look of powdered wigs and lace cuffs.”

Others contended that the “Farrell nuisance” was likely to be a short-lived fad. “Hey, another summer like this one, and he’s going to trade those suits for shorts and flip-flops,” one flippant observer remarked. “That, or he’ll die of heat stroke. Either way, we’ll be rid of him — and there won’t be any need of the pillory.”

2 Responses to “Council to Install Stocks on Mall”

Comments are currently closed.