Uncle Herky

Uncle Herky is dressed in the vibrant red, white and blue ensemble of the icon of American patriotism, Uncle Sam. He wears red striped pants, a star-patterned button-up shirt, and a navy blue jacket with a red bow tie. He has a stars and stripes patterned hat, as well as white feather-like hair and a white goatee.

Uncle Herky was created by Anne Johnson, a multi-media artist and alum of the University of Iowa from Cedar Rapids. He was created to represent the legendary American figure, Uncle Sam; interestingly, he is not yet on display and his location is yet to be determined.

Ethos: Uncle Herky is very much a representation of American values. The symbolism of Uncle Sam, who many people associate with wartime and sacrifice, is being tied metaphorically to an emblem of a public university through this artwork. The ethical appeal is clear: the University of Iowa believes in those same American ideals that Uncle Sam represents, such as liberty and freedom. Imagery of Uncle Sam carries a credibility of its own, building the ethos of this statue as a recognizable, trusted symbol.

Pathos: Uncle Herky, in many ways, is attempting to instill a sense of pride in the viewer. He stands with his chest puffed out, in a powerful and prideful stance. He is dressed in clear emblems of the United States, towards which many people feel a deep sense of patriotism. He links the pride of being part of the University of Iowa to pride in being American, represented in his vibrant appearance and strong stance.

Kairos: It is interesting to me that this Herky is not on display. I wonder if the artist, or those in charge of placing Herky statues, are waiting for the correct moment in which they consider patriotism to to be a necessary reminder.

Logos: Given that the University of Iowa is a public university, it makes logical sense to tie it to the United States and its values as a whole, as we are supported by the government and the taxes of American citizens.

Uncle Herky communicates values that relate to American ideals; namely, liberty, freedom, justice. It highlights the value of having public institutions built for the good of the general public, and how having institutions like the University of Iowa meant for generating knowledge and providing education can help to realize those American ideals. I would imagine if one was particularly patriotic this image would be encouragement to support public universities, because they in turn support the goals of the US as a whole.


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