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Coin Contest Winners--Rowhouses and Scandal

There's a stench of inevitability around the Washington Monument and the Capitol. In the competition to see what image will appear on the back of the District's own quarter--as usual, an afterthought, tacked on to the end of the U.S. Mint's highly popular 50-state quarters program--you just know in your bones that some big pile of federal marble is going to win the day.

Even this here web site's reader survey came up with George's obelisk as the big winner.

That's why we had to run our own Raw Fisher contest to see what really ought to be on the D.C. quarter. Many of you had similar ideas--Marion Barry truly is mayor for life, Duke Ellington is our greatest contribution to American culture, people really do love those cherry trees, and Taxation Without Representation is the slogan we have seared into our souls--but your entries cleaved rather neatly into two piles: The serious ones that the feds might actually consider as they make their choice, and the spoofs that aren't going to win any government contests, but darn well ought to be rewarded right here where we live.

Therefore, two winners: One serious and one not. Both get prizes. The serious one gets the promised artist's rendition of his proposal. The not-so-serious one gets something special from the Vast Vault of Values in the back of my Official Washington Post Windowless Cell.

The serious winner is ArtC, who posted his entry on the blog's comment board (shoot me an email, ArtC, with your full contact info and we'll get your prize to you ASAP):

"For once I'll be non-cynical," ArtC wrote, "A block of classic DC rowhouses, kids on the street, the Washington Monument back in the distance, with 'Taxation Without Representation' somewhere to get across the idea that DC is just a normal city except for its lack of a vote."

I like ArtC's combination of a classic D.C. scene with the use of kids on the street rather than the bust of an Important Person, and having a touch of federal presence in the distance is a nice reminder of the contrasts that we live with daily. Add our rambunctious slogan and you've got a good recipe for an elegant image that also sends a message.

Here's the illustration ArtC wins, as rendered by washingtonpost.com artist Paul Compton:


D.C. Quarter Winner
Illustration by Paul Compton / washingtonpost.com

Runners-up: Duke Ellington, though a few of you noted that it's not quite right to give the honor to someone who indeed was born and raised here, but achieved his greatest stature while based up the road in New York; Frederick Douglass sitting under a scarlet oak (the city's official tree), with the D.C. map as backdrop (a lot of you love the totemic shape of our map and wanted it to be part of the coin); the Smithsonian Tower; the C&O Canal and towpath; and any of our great Potomac bridges.

Now, on the lighter side. The winner is Darren Luke of Chicago, who wrote this:

"In light of the recent tax scandal, the District's never-ending revenue shortfalls, and as a way to get people outside of the the District to help pay for their Representative's social experiments (thanks for the school voucher program Ms. Pelosi!), I recommend the following text be printed on the back of the quarter...

If found, please return to:

District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue
941 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

I love the concept, and it should of course be in an official government font, perhaps with the little D.C. flag logo that adorns city bureaucrats' letterheads.

Runners-up: Lots of calls for the slogan to be not Taxation Without Representation, but rather--you guessed it--Bitch Set Me Up. These were accompanied variously by profiles of Mayor Barry, or the iconic shot of him taking a hit on a crack pipe. We had various ideas around tourists--being held up at gunpoint, clogging a Metro escalator by standing on the left, wearing FBI shirts. One of the entries posted on the comment board, by Athea, would have challenged even the most creative of draftsmen:

"Mayor Barry astride a panda galloping along the National Mall with a half-smoke in one hand and a TEC-9 in the other."

Do we love our city, or what?

Thanks to all for playing along. And if you're in a contest-entering mood, please consider testing out your musical skills. My new streaming audio/podcast show on washingtonpost.com--a weekly conversation with newsmakers on a hot issue making headlines in these parts--is in need of theme music and you're invited to record something and send it on in as an mp3 file. The winner gets the pleasure of having us use your creation on the weekly cast, with credit, of course. Sorry, no truck full of cash will drive up to your door. If you'd like to give it a go, you have until Feb. 4 to put it together--the music should be at least one minute long and no longer than three minutes, but should be composed in such a way that the first 10 to 15 seconds of the piece (or a separate 10-15 second version) can stand alone as an introductory segment-- and email the results to fishertheme@washpost.com

The radio show starts this coming Tuesday at noon right here on the big site.


By Marc Fisher |  January 18, 2008; 9:46 AM ET
Previous: D.C. School Closings: The Hearings | Next: The Crushing Burden of Paying for Payday

Comments

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marc,

so where the heck are the rowhouses in that rendition?

Posted by: IMGoph | January 18, 2008 11:11 AM

Artistic license.

Posted by: Fisher | January 18, 2008 11:29 AM

The rowhouses were bulldozed to make way for the large monuments. And the kids playing on the street were replaced by tourists.

I hope that washingtonpost.com artist Paul Compton doesn't do police sketches.

Posted by: Simon | January 18, 2008 11:36 AM

That coin looks nothing like the rendition proposed by ArtC.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | January 18, 2008 11:41 AM

"Mayor Barry astride a panda galloping along the National Mall with a half-smoke in one hand and a TEC-9 in the other."

That was the best one!

Posted by: johng | January 18, 2008 12:15 PM

Yeah, where are the rowhouses?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2008 12:23 PM

The illustration looks like some sort of a concentration camp, and is full of gloom and doom. The artist has a so familiar Washington DC pedigree of a federal 'artist'.

A happy panda with the former mayor should have been the winner..running on the Rockcreek trail where Chandra's bones were found...

Posted by: W4 | January 18, 2008 12:57 PM

I cannot believe some folks actually submitted sincere designs. Raw Fisher is a Snark-a-Thon, and gallow's humor about being shafted is a DC rite.

In that sense, I worry about what would happen if DC did ever get treated fairly. What would be left to complain about?

Remember how annoying Red Sox fans became after they won the World Series?

I agree that Mayor Barry riding the panda was fantastic--I especially loved the half-smoke flourish.

Posted by: Darren the Winner | January 18, 2008 1:52 PM

where are the row houses?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 7:43 PM

The WP artist's rendering is exactly what could ruin this great idea. It's too heavy on the federal presence (are any of the silhouettes identifiable as residences, let alone rowhomes?) and a little light on the residential (stylized silhouettes of an anonymous, generic, stereotyped family?).

But I love the concept on paper. It's money.

Posted by: Downtownn Rez | January 20, 2008 2:06 PM

The WP artist's rendering is exactly what could ruin this great idea. It's too heavy on the federal presence (are any of the silhouettes identifiable as residences, let alone rowhomes?) and a little light on the residential (stylized silhouettes of an anonymous, generic, stereotyped family?).

But I love the concept on paper. It's money.

Posted by: Downtown Rez | January 20, 2008 2:08 PM

The Redskins' logo, with the legend "What, we're racist?"

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2008 10:55 AM

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