Yesterday's outrage becomes today's accepted norm... It is a phrase you could use in countless situations, but in one Westcountry port the words seem to loom large and loud.
No doubt some people still feel that Verity – with her stomach and other parts peeled back to reveal an unborn baby and other interior bits and bobs – is an outrage. But a great many do not.
The Western Morning News spent two hours talking to people on Ilfracombe harbour-side this week – and not one of some 50 folk gazing at the statue thought she was in any way offensive.
Here are some quotes typical of the comments we heard...
"The womb applies to safety – and a harbour applies to safety – so I think it is quite appropriate she is shown like this at the side of a harbour," said Lynn Bloom, a holidaymaker Cambridgeshire.
"She's a hell of a lot better than the Angel of the North," said another elderly female visitor. "You can see what she is – you can see she's a woman – but the Angel of the North just looks like an aeroplane stuck on its tail."
"I think she is very beautiful and she is carrying a newborn and that represents the new generations to be." said June Squibb of Shaftesbury.
Sue Gilbert from Esher commented: "We hadn't heard of her, but when we saw her from the other part of town we thought she was stunning. She adds to the look of the place. I don't mind her being all peeled back – I think it's very natural and quite appropriate."
Tony McIntyre added: "Having not seen it before – I think it is amazing. I was thinking – where's this come from? And I came down specially to take photos of it."
If such comments are the norm – and various local folk we spoke with believe that they are – then the North Devon councillors and others who thought Verity would ruin Ilfracombe's reputation and tourist trade might be having second thoughts...
Just over 12 months ago I watched North Devon District Council's executive committee make the final decision to accept Damien Hirst's offer to loan the statue. It was a heated meeting in which members of the public had their say and councillors aired passionate arguments for and against the massive work of art. Few municipal meetings in history can have witnessed such post-modernist thinking, such strange arguments or such colourful language.
"It's reasonable to say that the design has divided opinion – and that is an understatement," was the wry comment made by council planning manager Mike Kelly.
Councillor Julie Hunt declared: "It is very immoral, demeaning, disrespectful and tasteless towards women."
Councillor Jasmine Chester reported that she'd heard the following comment during a site visit: "Does Ilfracombe want to be the town with 'grotty bits?' I think that's wrong. I find this offensive. I don't think young mums will be able to explain it to their children."
Another member said: "The design is outrageous, immoral, obscene, offensive, disgusting and so on."
Today the spokesmen are speaking in more benign terms about Verity – and not surprisingly...
Visitor numbers have gone up at The Pier car park, next to where Verity stands. Figures show from October 2011 to September 2012, 74,975 visitors bought tickets – but from October 2012 to September this year, that rose to 81,756.
Executive member for development at Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds, commented: "There is no denying there has been a buzz around the town for the last year. More visitors mean more business in the town and that can only be a good thing. I know many people were dubious about Verity's arrival. Love her or hate though, I hope everyone can see how she has benefited Ilfracombe and will hopefully continue to do so in the future."
Local ward member Paul Yabsley added: "I have asked many businesses in Ilfracombe how this summer has been compared to recent ones and many are reporting a significant increase in trade. One hotelier reported a 53 per cent increase. Many objectors have come around and are also now embracing the unique visitor to our town."
The only vaguely negative comment the WMN could find in town this week was from an elderly London visitor who said: "I don't know what it is, but for some reason she reminds me of Corporal Jones in Dad's Army. Maybe it's the way she's holding that sword – there ought to be a cartoon bubble coming out of her mouth saying: 'They don't like it up 'em!'"