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France Takes Back Statue of Liberty

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (SP) — The government of France, fed up with escalating anti-French rhetoric emanating from the United States, has repossessed the Statue of Liberty.

The enormous copper statue had been a fixture on the New York skyline since 1876, when France gave it to the U.S. in recognition of the centennial anniversary of America’s declaration of independence.

For years, the statue represented not only America’s sovereign status, but also the close diplomatic ties it had with France. “In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson spent six months in Paris taking part in negotiations which ultimately led to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles,” noted Oscar-winning documentarian Michael Moore. “George W. Bush, on the other hand, had never even been to France prior to last week’s G8 summit. He wouldn’t know the difference between the French Riviera and French Lick, Indiana!”

There was a serious breakdown in the relationship between the two countries when France vetoed a U.N. resolution brought by the U.S. which would have authorized the use of force in Iraq. As a means of protesting France’s opposition to the war, cafeterias and restaurants across America began referring to French Fries as “Freedom Fries”. In response, McDonald’s restaurants in France changed the name of “le Big Mac” to “le Big Fat American”. The ill will between the countries continued to escalate until late last week, when the French military announced that it would be dispatching an aircraft carrier to New York Harbor in order to repossess Lady Liberty.

The continuing hostilities between the U.S. and France have shown no signs of ending with the repatriation of the Statue of Liberty, despite the fact that Presidents Bush and Chirac appeared to greet each over warmly at the G8 summit. For example, the organizers of the Tour de France have just announced that no Americans will be allowed to participate in this year’s race. As a result, Texas native Lance Armstrong will be denied the opportunity to capture a record-tying fifth consecutive Yellow Jersey.

Armstrong will instead be riding in the Tour Des Moines, winding his way through the cornfields of Iowa. “Though it may not be quite as prestigious an event, as difficult a course, or as deep a field as the Tour de France, I look forward to finally having the opportunity to take part in a race on my home turf,” he said.

The City of New York, still reeling from the destruction of the World Trade Center’s twin towers by terrorists, now has to deal with the loss of another defining element of its architectural landscape. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is currently investigating the feasibility of acquiring and relocating another existing structure to Liberty Island, with potential candidates said to include Canada’s CN Tower and Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa. “We thought about building something from scratch,” said Bloomberg, “but then we decided that if we’re even going to try to replace a landmark as well-known as the Statue of Liberty, we’d have to do so with something that already has a comparable amount of name-brand recognition.”

The statue is certainly a very high-profile and celebrated piece of American popular culture, having been featured prominently in such films as Splash, Ghostbusters II and Planet of the Apes, as well as serving as the face of Columbia Pictures.

Dan Ackroyd, co-writer and co-star of Ghostbusters II, explained that he chose to incorporate the Statue of Liberty into the film because it was one of the few landmarks in New York that had the stature, both literally and figuratively, to match the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man who appeared in the climax of the first Ghostbusters film.

Charlton Heston, the star of Planet of the Apes as well as President for life of the N.R.A., when asked what he would say to the people of France regarding the repossession of the Statue of Liberty, responded, “You madmen, you finally did it! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!!!”

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