Thorne Smith: Make statues of war’s wholesale butchers before they strike
From Night Life of the Gods (1931)
“…I have succeeded in achieving complete cellular petrification through atomic disintegration…”
“It’s all very interesting,” said Alfred, “but I can’t see any commercial possibilities for the thing – no practical application.”
“Oh, you can’t,” exclaimed the scientist. “How about putting an end to the activities of objectionable individuals? Think of what it could do for humanity. If I had made this discovery previous to the World War I could have turned a flock of statesmen to stone, and then there wouldn’t have been any war. And the economic as well as artistic waste entailed by eventually making statues of those self-same wholesale butchers would have been eliminated. The majority of statesmen should be born statues, anyway.”
Alfred’s face began to glow avariciously.
“Got it!” he cried. “Got it! The United States government would give you millions in cold cash for the use of your discovery. We could play up the bloodless side of the thing. That sort of drip is popular right now. Victory without death, you know. Do you want me to get in touch with the right parties and arrange for a demonstration?”
“We haven’t quite finished with our own little demonstration here,” Mr. Hawk replied darkly. “But why don’t you sell it to Mussolini first? He’d put his country in hock to see himself as a statue and to experience while still alive something approaching the adulation of posterity.”