Apparently, we got what we deserved. After months of hype, the world's largest rubber duck, in town for the Tall Ships Festival at the Delaware River waterfront, was quietly carted away on Sunday in a sea of tears and puns. And according to Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, whose pattern was...appropriated... to create the ill-fated fowl, it's our own fault. "That's what you get when you're using an unauthorized work," he recently said to Billy Penn. "You don't get the technical information from the artist and his production team."
The artist's original sculpture was inspired by the Rene Magritte painting of a pipe (Ceci N'est Pas une Pipe). And so while Philly's 61 foot-tall nylon creature may have resembled a giant rubber ducky, per the artist, it was so much more. Said Hofman, with heavy overtones of schadenfreude, it wasn't supposed to be a "rubber duckie or something funny," but rather an image for people to see so they can disassociate from the stresses of their lives and be "free again as (they) were in youth."
The price for misappropriating and misinterpreting his art? Grown men yelling, and children crying. Like, the whole weekend.
Let's take a look at how Duckgate unfolded across the Internet. And then let's never, ever talk about it again.
The hype was fierce. Unless you lived under a rock, you knew a huge duck, THE HUGEST RUBBER DUCK IN THE WORLD, was about to make its way into port for Philadelphia's Tall Ships Festival. Local businesses and residents alike joined in the countdown. It was an exciting time! Kind of like waiting seeing an eclipse, or a comet!
THE BIGGEST RUBBER DUCK IN THE WORLD IS COMING TO PHILLY TMRW AND U BET IMMA BE THERE pic.twitter.com/w44zAT3Gf2— Allison Donahue (@allisoncdonahue) June 24, 2015
Ooooh yeah. It's happening. You guys. It's really happening.
Duck inflation...underway.#PennsLanding #TallShips pic.twitter.com/OY4qjTqPYd— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) June 25, 2015
The rubber duck was inflated, and began her ill-fated maiden voyage on the Delaware, where she suffered a fatal blow. But, for a moment - just a moment - my, she was yar.
That's one big cat toy! #tallships pic.twitter.com/QLcoPc5slb— Mike DeNardo (@DeNardoKYW) June 25, 2015
I peep you #rubberducky #tallshipspc pic.twitter.com/fzinKueebN— Ind Seaport Museum (@phillyseaport) June 25, 2015
PHOTOS/@TheSJTimes World's Largest Rubber Duck, Tall Ships in Parade of Sails http://t.co/ZSENs5Kphb @TallShipsPC pic.twitter.com/w4pPWtlJPb— Tim Hawk (@photogthawk) June 26, 2015
Uh-oh. Mama Duck? You ok? You OK.
Just keep swimming, Mama Duck. Just keep swimming.
Giant Rubber Duck in the Delaware River. #TallShipsParade pic.twitter.com/NPNwkBDIVb— Joe Kaczmarek (@joekaczmarek) June 25, 2015
Photos: the giant #rubberduck paddles up the Delaware River as @TallShipsPC begins http://t.co/fV9M8wmSid pic.twitter.com/3GY3Ow4yat— MetroPhilly (@MetroPhilly) June 25, 2015
People begin to notice. Something is not right with "Mama Duck."
@pamoushk and I came to see the giant duck and he has sprung a leak!!! #TallShips #giantduck #struggler pic.twitter.com/fcVKNW52A1— Alison (@Simply_A_) June 26, 2015
People are sad.
#Rubberduck needs a barge to float, a tug to pull it...and has to pull into Camden in high winds. People are sad pic.twitter.com/KRk0hEnCQB— Pen & Lens (@PenandLens) June 25, 2015
Look at it, just teasing me #giantduck #rip pic.twitter.com/7Uct1oM9dL— Matt Hiser (@matt_hiser) June 27, 2015
Don't even ask.
Sooo...anyone know if the giant rubber duck is inflated today at Tall Ships Philadelphia? #tallships #giantduck— Fiera Temptation (@ftempt) June 28, 2015
We know something's up.
We are unsure if Mama Duck will make it out today, but we are hopeful.— Tall Ships PC (@TallShipsPC) June 28, 2015
Looks like #RubberDuck has done the walk of shame at sunrise #TallShips pic.twitter.com/HJfap7gTbF— Tony Bruno (@TonyBrunoShow) June 27, 2015
And now we're supposed to make do with selfies with some lame knock-off? See these smiles? Totally fake.
Don't even try. No amount of duct tape could ever make this right again.
Good news! if you planning on heading over to @TallShipsPC today. The Rubber Duck inflation is underway. pic.twitter.com/jycLnQGMpz— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) June 27, 2015
But we made do, because there were some ships too, or whatever.
#visitphilly @TallShipsPC #DelawareRiver pic.twitter.com/lmyUbX3UhT— Julie Slavet (@JulieSlavet) June 28, 2015
Please. Now you're making it worse.
It's still awfully windy down on the waterfront, but our crews are working hard to help Mama Duck up.— Tall Ships PC (@TallShipsPC) June 28, 2015
Philadelphia: "Oh we can't have nice things!!!"
Two top Philly annoyances today. Rain delaying #Phillies game and the oversize #RubberDuck mucking up the Delaware.— Nick M Broadcast (@SportsDirectTV) June 27, 2015
Massive #RubberDuck fail today! @BigDuckUS Where will you appear next? pic.twitter.com/rI5jDp1pEt— Loretta Kuo (@lorettakuo) June 28, 2015
#philly, this is why we can't have nice things. Giant #rubberduck comes in from out of town and this is the result. pic.twitter.com/3P0VcFijqK— 3dprintingdog (@3dprintingdog) June 26, 2015
Looks like the #RubberDuck was steamrolled. And the Patriot @harbor_lines just passed by 4 a closer look! pic.twitter.com/TaUPCBCsEC— Miss Robin (@MissRobinAustin) June 27, 2015
IT DIDNT HAVE TO END THIS WAY!!! #RubberDucky pic.twitter.com/0HaAGy69DY— Nicholas Gerard (@LetsDoThisLive) June 26, 2015
Ladies and gentleman, #DeflateGate. Ducky-style.
Hey @CBSPhilly - we heard they put Tom Brady in charge of the duck! An all new #DeflateGate pic.twitter.com/cOafk1P7zc— Patriot Harbor Lines (@harbor_lines) June 30, 2015
And then the artist was, all like: y'all brought this on yourselves.
Dutch artist on Tall Ships' rubber duck fail: 'I hope the festival got taught their lesson.' http://t.co/kRnXdNdPFt pic.twitter.com/eTuumgd0WY— Billy Penn (@billy_penn) June 30, 2015
Philadelphia got a counterfeit giant rubber duck and it was a total failure :( http://t.co/fGeWnoajbV pic.twitter.com/GZ9Ak2Ez8Y— Andrew Beaujon (@abeaujon) June 30, 2015
Completely rips off the artist, Hofman. Not cool. "Giant Philly Rubber Duck Erupts In Controversy http://t.co/qxlCFVEoa1 @phillymag" #Philly— Ashley Lippolis (@ashlippolis) June 25, 2015
At least we had our duck-embellished cocktails to take away the sting of the COMPLETE FAILURE that was the World's Largest Rubber Duck.
Promise us: never again.
· Dutch Rubber Duck Artist Cries Foul Over Giant Philly Rubber Duck [Philly Mag]
· Dutch artist on Tall Ships' giant rubber duck fail: 'I hope the festival got taught their lesson' [Billy Penn]