Happy In Bag

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Ornery Defiance of Kansan M.T. Liggett

The flat plains of western Kansas were just beginning to give way to rolling hills as I sleepily motored east toward Wichita earlier this month.

Then I saw it.

It was just as startling as the jump from black and white to color in The Wizard of Oz.

Just inside the fence along the north side of Highway 154 are hundreds of metallic signs and sculptures. Most of the works are profane, vulgar and angry, like the portrait of our governor pictured here. While politicians are the most common targets, other totems lampoon biblical and mythological figures.

What kind of brilliant crank would do such a thing? His name is M.T. Liggett. Details about the Mullinville, Kansas, artist and social critic are at this site. Don’t miss the incredible documentary film available there.

The defiant individualism of Kansans like Liggett are the reason the state, for better or worse, will always be in the national spotlight. (The Hutchinson News reported today that Liggett is "entering the race for the Kansas Board of Education seat now taken by Ken Willard.")


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