Point/Counterpoint is a recurring feature on BDCwire which explores the pros and cons of various parts of life in Boston. These arguments may, or may not, break any new ground, but are meant as a starting point for you too to make an argument. This week’s debate involves the opening of a time capsule that Boston Magazine confirmed was inside the head of the lion on the Old State House. What do you think? Should the time capsule be opened, or should the legend live longer?
Christie Leist, arguing in favor of opening the time capsule:
We’ve been told that “curiosity killed the cat,” but in this case, curiosity just means we need to temporarily remove his head. The natural question for anyone in this situation: What’s in there? The lion may literally be gold, but anyone claiming that it’s wrong to cut into the statue should open their eyes to this golden opportunity. An astounding 112 years ago, an article went to press stirring up rumors about secret artifacts dwelling in the belly of this beast. Over a century later, with the help of a special fiber optics camera, we can finally confirm that there is in fact a time capsule inside of the lion. This is not based on speculation, and no one is charging the lion with a sledgehammer. Heather Leet, director for development at the Bostonian Society, told Boston Magazine in an email that Skylight Studios artist Bob Shure “is currently assessing the best way to extract the time capsule without damaging the lion sculpture.” This is not an episode of “Botched”; qualified art professionals will be responsible for the disassembly and reassembly of the lion. The artifacts that could be found within this time capsule could fill in numerous blanks in Boston history; the only way to finish this puzzle and answer everyone’s questions is to open up the lion. It would be twice as disrespectful to the lion, who is metallic and won’t feel a thing, to pretend like there is nothing left to learn from him.
Erica Maybaum, arguing against opening the time capsule:
Like anybody else with an ounce of curiosity, I want to know what the heck has been sitting in that cat’s golden noggin for the past 113 years. But I’m here to say that, despite this innate curiosity, Boston needs to hold its horses—or should I say felines. Inside the time capsule is expected to be some pretty nifty items—historic documents, maps, and who knows what else? And while cats may have nine lives, the artifacts sitting inside this one most likely don’t. Before we decide to crack this baby open, it’s important that we figure out a way to do it with the utmost precision. One wrong flick of the knife could slice through some of Boston’s best-kept secrets, or at the very least, could crumble a really expensive lion. And is anything really sacred anymore? It’s the Information Age, I get it. Any answer we want is right at the hands of Siri or Cortana or Google or whatever the hell you’re using. But remember in the ’80s when they cracked into Al Capone’s Vault only to find that there was basically nothing in there? I don’t, because I wasn’t alive yet, but it sure would be a bummer for our excitement and imagination to be squashed simply due to impatience. Also, in just 16 years, Boston will celebrate its 400th birthday—making the capsule a fitting birthday present and giving the professionals time to plan how to carefully remove it. What better way to celebrate centuries of this city’s resilience (and wicked awesomeness) than to have some patience and open the time capsule at that point?