Free Minds & Free Markets

Environmentalists Flip Out Over San Diego's Plans To Erect an 80-Foot-Tall, $975,000 Straw Statue

A giant straw would actually pose fewer environmental risks than standard-sized varieties.

City of San DiegoCity of San DiegoGiven the ferocity with which environmentalists have demonized normal-sized, plastic drinking straws, it comes as little surprise that they have lost their minds over a giant, taxpayer-funded straw slated to be installed at a water treatment facility in San Diego.

On Tuesday, San Diego Voice reported that some 600 people have signed a petition against the design for a public art installation at the city's North City Pure Water Facility.

The initial concept, developed by Los Angeles-based artist Christian Moeller, would have featured an 80-foot structure resembling two tangled, single-use plastic straws, which the Voice reports would cost some $975,000.

San Diego, like many localities around the country, has a requirement that a fixed percentage of public infrastructure costs (in this case, two percent) be spent on beautification. That requirement has led to any number of questionable designs around the country.

But few have proven as controversial as Moeller's straw statue.

"Don't let the city memorialize a monument to a product that endangers our natural world. Erecting two intertwining, 78 ft. straws is wrong," reads an online petition against the proposed design at, which stressed that the straw statue was not just immoral but also "just plain BAD ART."

While I sympathize with San Diego taxpayers who don't want to fund monuments to something they find abhorrent (a position libertarians find themselves in quite often), the anti-straw fanaticism behind this campaign is plain bizarre. It's also misplaced. The immense size of Moeller's design would prevent it from being ingested by any sea creatures, save perhaps for the mighty Gamera. And, while brittle plastic straws are quick to degrade into dangerous microplastics that can then filter into the flesh of sea creatures, Moeller's straw should be easy to spot and remove from any body of water it might fall into.

But the merits of Moeller's design—as art and kaiju utensil—are now moot: the City of San Diego has decided to scrap plans for the giant straw after the outcry. A spokesperson for the city says Moeller is currently "re-evaluating his conceptual approach" to the structure at the North City facility.

Photo Credit: City of San Diego

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  • Juice||

    "Don't let the city memorialize a monument to a product that endangers our natural world."

    Forget the fact that it's wasting nearly a million dollars that were forcibly wrenched from people's paychecks.

  • Just Say'n||

    Your money and greed is endangering our natural world. Do you even progressive, brah?

  • Eddy||

    How about a replica of the Washington Monument? That wouldn't be offensive, would it?

  • CE||

    How about a statue of Saint Diego with a glass of beer?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Associating Catholic monks with beer is...perfectly normal.

  • Alcibiades||

    What are those straws doing to each other?

  • CE||

    Whatever it is, it's twisted.

  • Eddy||

    I know - General Robert E. Lee eating a Big Mac while holding a large soda with a straw in it?

    Christopher Columbus planting a flag where the staff is a giant straw?

    A fountain shaped like the Washington Monument with a giant straw in the middle, gushing water?

  • Just Say'n||

    I literally can't stop shaking while reading your comment. I think I'm going to burst a blood vessel

  • CE||

    Saint Junipero Serra giving e-cigs to native children?

  • JWatts||

    "I know - General Robert E. Lee eating a Big Mac while holding a large soda with a straw in it?"

    And sitting in a replica of the General Lee from Dukes of Hazards.

  • Don't look at me!||

    A giant nose snorting cocaine through the straws?

    How about the straws sticking out from a styrofoam cup?

    Or a giant hand casually tossing the straws onto beach sand?

  • Longtobefree||

    When you pass dumb-ass laws requiring "beautification" at public expense, don't be surprised when the art looks like a giant middle finger - - - -

  • Jerryskids||

    It is highly problematic that one of those straws appears to be a "straight" straw and the other appears to be what is commonly referred to as a "crazy" straw. In this day and age, to privilege the straight straws over the LGBQT straws while simultaneously making light of straws with mental health issues is simply appalling.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Even worse, none of the straws are black.

  • Rat on a train||

    It's a bad design. The longest usable verticle straw is about 35ft long. Beyond that you aren't going to be able to create a strong enough vacuum.

  • Just Say'n||

    Check it out, this guy is upset that his straw doesn't measure up.

  • Rat on a train||

    It also bends. At least it isn't curly.

  • Just Say'n||

    You dissing my curly straw?

  • Tony||

    You haven't met my friend, nicknamed "Hoover."

  • Anomalous||

    Stay classy, San Diego.

  • Echospinner||

    A whale's vagina would be perfect.

  • Dillinger||

    80-foot plastic bottle more representative. extra bpa

  • John||

    How is this any different than Muslims feaking out over a big statue of Muhammad?

    Yeah, environmentalism is all about "science" and not a particularly stupid form of paganism.

  • sarcasmic||

    Can't spell environmentalism without "mental."

  • Just Say'n||


  • sarcasmic||


  • Just Say'n||

    Probably one of the best insults ever created. Who said libertarians aren't clever?

  • CDRSchafer||

    Who in the fresh hell approved this? Who would be stupid enough to pay $800K for this crap? They should be dragged out and flogged in the public square then placed in stocks so people can throw rotten vegetables at their head.

  • John||

    It is God awful public art. If that were the reason people were objecting to this rather than because it is an evil tailsman that will bring the wrath of Gaia, I would be right with them in hating it.

  • CE||

    It's not bad actually. But who drinks city water through a straw?
    THis should be at a drive-in.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    Nope, not gonna happen in these parts. They can ban straws, Styrofoam containers and plastic forks without a second thought. Until they bring back literal tar and feathers, there's no hope.

    They sad thing is, until today, I naively though SD didn't suffer the full-on, bat shit crazy that permeates California. Wow, was I wrong.

  • Rich||

    San Diego, like many localities around the country, has a requirement that a fixed percentage of public infrastructure costs (in this case, two percent) be spent on beautification.

    Yep, nothing like spiffying up the ol' water treatment plant! That is money *well* spent.

  • CE||

    More like money down the *drain*.

  • Rich||

    But hope *springs* eternal.

  • Don't look at me!||

    They are *soaking* the taxpayers.

  • ||

    A fountain of puns this thread is.

  • Just Say'n||

    Where is Reverend Pretentious to tell us that we don't understand art and that this isn't art or something just as ridiculous?

  • Just Say'n||

    Carry on, clingers!

  • John||

    Media matters only pays him for trolling threads that have a direct Democratic partisan interest. Public art threads don't cut it.

  • Hank Phillips||

    See? First the Lenin statues in emancipated Soviet Socialist satrapies, then the revenge attacks on low-tariff Confederate castings... and now this!

  • The Last American Hero||

    Seattle is must still be a Soviet Socialist satrap.

  • Tony||

    I like it.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Most Marxist cheerleading assholes would.

  • Tony||

    Communist public art is not known for its whimsy.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    A straw that big wouldn't suck

  • CE||

    Just keep those suckers away from my camels.

  • Just Say'n||


  • CE||

    When I read the headline, I assumed it was a statue made of straw, not a statue of a straw.
    Then I figured the San Diego government was going to burn it, a la Burning Man.
    I guess the statue (whatever form is finally chosen) will be permanent,
    and it will just be taxpayer money they burn.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Environmentalists should see the amount of trash the US Navy throws overboard during ocean deployments.

  • ||

    Any post that uses Gamera in a proper context wins the Internet.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    I refuse to support this art project unless the base is made out of polystyrene.

  • lap83||

    If the artist had any sense he/she would've made the sculpture in the shape of a man. The resulting protests would be the best thing ever.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    They could just cut the infrastructure budget by 2%.

  • NoVaNick||

    I showed this to my wife last night and she thought it was The Onion-shows you the world we are living in now.
    I bet if they put up a giant sculpture of a dildo or tampon shell, the progtards would have had no problem with that.

  • cheapmcmbelt||

    I agree!!! You can discuss with other side. That's how you learn and expand your view points.


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