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Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:16 PM

We Need to Move, Not Destroy, Confederate Monuments

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/20/arts/design/we-need-to-move-not-destroy-confederate-monuments.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170821&nlid=73531149&tntemail0=y&_r=0

The destruction of images for social, political or religious reasons is an old story. In dynastic Egypt, pharaohs defaced or repurposed images of predecessors. In northern Europe, Roman Catholic churches were stripped of art during the Protestant Reformation. Nazis purged Germany of “degenerate” modernist painting. Mao Zedong, in his “Four Olds” campaign, tore classical landscapes to shreds.

More recently, videos of the Taliban’s destruction of the colossal Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan became an internet sensation in 2001. So did others, which documented the toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad two years later. Earlier this year, during the Whitney Biennial, a British artist, Hannah Black, called for the destruction of a painting by a white artist, Dana Schutz, of the martyred Emmett Till.

Basically, I take the move to isolate and banish Confederate nationalist images as a healthy one. The citizen in me — daily witness, like every other American, to viral racism, the national disease — embraces the possibility of unloading traces of its history. The art critic in me welcomes the unloading, too, though for different reasons. Unlike President Trump, I see no beauty in the Robert E. Lee monument, with its bland neo-Classical suavity. And I see in Lee a traitor who waged war against the United States in defense of the indefensible, slavery.

-snip-

As I say, my reasons are pragmatic. When you find yourself at a crime scene, you don’t destroy evidence. You preserve it for the prosecution. In the case of images like this, the prosecutor is history, and the trial may be a long one, stretching far into the future, with many witnesses called. Rush to judgment and drastic action should be resisted.

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As an Art Historian, I agree with this article.

Flame away, I have my kevlar undies on.....

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Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply We Need to Move, Not Destroy, Confederate Monuments (Original post)
Coventina Aug 2017 OP
DURHAM D Aug 2017 #1
Spider Jerusalem Aug 2017 #2
Throck Aug 2017 #6
Spider Jerusalem Aug 2017 #8
cyclonefence Aug 2017 #3
trof Aug 2017 #33
cyclonefence Aug 2017 #34
Kaleva Aug 2017 #4
The_Casual_Observer Aug 2017 #5
Jim Beard Aug 2017 #7
muntrv Aug 2017 #9
The Velveteen Ocelot Aug 2017 #10
kwassa Aug 2017 #11
malaise Aug 2017 #12
Coventina Aug 2017 #15
malaise Aug 2017 #18
Coventina Aug 2017 #20
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #30
spicysista Aug 2017 #13
Coventina Aug 2017 #17
spicysista Aug 2017 #22
Coventina Aug 2017 #26
sagesnow Aug 2017 #28
Calista241 Aug 2017 #14
LeftInTX Aug 2017 #23
gratuitous Aug 2017 #16
The River Aug 2017 #19
kerry-is-my-prez Aug 2017 #35
diva77 Aug 2017 #21
Johonny Aug 2017 #24
NCDem777 Aug 2017 #25
diva77 Aug 2017 #27
Warpy Aug 2017 #29
drray23 Aug 2017 #31
pnwmom Aug 2017 #32

Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:21 PM

1. Keep the statues of the soldiers.

Destroy the Generals.

The majority of the soldiers were conscripted and didn't have a dog in that fight.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:30 PM

2. Most of 'em aren't "art", they're cheap, mass-produced junk (n/t)

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:38 PM

6. Were they WalMart-Chinese imports?

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Response to Throck (Reply #6)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:43 PM

8. Close, anyway

they were made cheaply in foundries, and sold for around $450-800 vs the cost of some thousands or tens of thousands for sculpting a statue from marble; see here: https://qz.com/1054062/statues-of-confederate-soldiers-across-the-south-were-cheaply-mass-produced-in-the-north/

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:34 PM

3. Can you point me to a photo of one

of these statues that has some artistic merit, that isn't the same tired old man on a horse? Do any of them evince any imagination on the part of the sculptor? Are any of them the creations of artists we know of?

Or are they mass-produced kitsch, churned out in "classical" style to make the losers feel good about the "nobility" of their fucking cause?

Destroy them all. Unless someone can show me a reason to preserve them, based purely on artistic merit.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 05:03 PM

33. I think in Wedowee, Alabama there's a nude statue of Stonewall Jackson.

They say he is surprisingly well hung.

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Response to trof (Reply #33)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 05:53 PM

34. Well, let's save that one

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:35 PM

4. Statues of a generic Confederate soldier at a cemetary is fine by me.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:36 PM

5. Yes move them into the Atlantic Ocean.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:42 PM

7. Move them but kick them off those very tall pedistals.

 

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:48 PM

9. Move them to a war museum

in the "losers" section.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 01:59 PM

10. Those that have artistic value and/or historical significance

should be placed in museums. But some of them were just mass-produced junk ordered up by organizations like Daughters of the Confederacy during the early years of the 20th century, and they might not be worth preserving. In general, though, I don't like the idea of just destroying them all - it feels a little too much like book-burning.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:06 PM

11. at one point the confederate and union statues were identical ....

?t=20170517

then they altered a couple of things for the confederate one. Slouch hat, bed roll.





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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:14 PM

12. What about the American destruction of statues in Iraq?

What about the US government and US media encouraging tearing down Lenin's statues.
A little objectivity would have been nice.

Same knife stick sheep stick goat

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Response to malaise (Reply #12)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:26 PM

15. I am against the destruction of all art. I was especially disturbed by Americans

destroying art in Iraq.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #15)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:35 PM

18. It wasn't merely destruction - there was massive

theft - it was no different from the English thieves or the theft of our historical stuff from other parts of Europe.

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Response to malaise (Reply #18)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:40 PM

20. Agreed. N/T

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Response to malaise (Reply #18)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 04:21 PM

30. The Eglin Marbles are still in London.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:15 PM

13. I do think...

That this topic needs to be discussed in an open and frank manner. I can certainly appreciate the perspective of an art historian. You traffic in education and the preservation of history through cultural artifacts.
I think it may be also valuable to look at these symbols in the context of their original purpose. These statues were meant to celebrate and commemorate. I'm not sure I see the value in celebrating the people that lead a civil war aimed at spreading and preserving the enslavement of my people. According to many secession papers, these people were also trying to enshrine the white man's superiority to the african. These are not things to be celebrated.
Robert E. Lee, a "hero" of the confederate, did not think that there should be monuments (https://books.google.com/books?id=x7OOraQWi5wC&pg=PA299&dq=%22i+think+it+wiser+moreover%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAGoVChMIxZSVnqTyxgIVw9SACh39bQbx#v=onepage&q=%22i%20think%20it%20wiser%20moreover%22&f=false). So, why did the "sons and daughters" of the confederate erect them? What were they celebrating, exactly?
Some of these monuments were raised to commemorate anniversaries...of what exactly? A treasonous failed state? 50 years since gramps lost his arm fighting to maintain slavery?

After the american revolutionary war, we removed all king George statues and all monuments to the monarchy. The reason was simple. Why on earth would we celebrate the leaders of a foreign (hostile at the time) country in our public spaces? Similarly, why should we honor leaders of a foreign hostile nation that no longer exists?

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Response to spicysista (Reply #13)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:27 PM

17. Agreed. That's why I agree with moving them from public monuments.

And putting them in museums or even museum basements.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #17)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 03:08 PM

22. oh...

I guess that I was still a bit too subtle. I think that there's an ample amount of evidence, culturally and socially, left behind by the confederacy. Destroying the " proud" monuments of its leaders (in any space outside of a private residence, or church if you're going to hell) will not in anyway change this history.
I think that the statues do more harm than good. Of course, this is all from my own very small perspective. I live in this country, hoping that my humanity will one day mean just as much as everyone else's....one day. Statues venerating these southern "heroes" do harm. Consider this: a Jewish person has to pass a statue of Hitler on their way to teach at Einsatzgruppen Elementary School, all while facing systemic challenges that 2/3 of the country doesn't even acknowledge exists. And for what? A statue?
Again, I respect your opinion and appreciate you offering your perspective. We need to do more of this. More dialogue, not less.

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Response to spicysista (Reply #22)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 03:57 PM

26. I totally agree with what you are saying. I think the monuments need to be removed

from the parks, public squares, government buildings, etc.

They need to be shown in a context that exposes them for the evil that they are.

Simply destroying them leaves the danger that hundreds of years from now, records that such things existed will no longer be available, and a complete history of the racist South will be incomplete.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #17)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 04:04 PM

28. Something like the Holocaust Museum would be appropriate.

Museums whose purpose is to educate and not allow the Jim Crow Era to be forgotten. Not sure that Jim Crow would be the correct title for the museum, The National Civil War Museum perhaps.
Am I out of line here?

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:23 PM

14. Statues at cemeteries, museums and historical sites, I'm cool with.

And if they're remembering the fallen, and they're presented in the same context as WW2, Vietnam or other war memorials, I'm cool with them being on capitol grounds and such.

But statues of Roger Taney, Jefferson Davis, George Wallace, and other such ingrates need to go.

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E Lee were the preeminent military geniuses of their time. Their tactics are widely studied today by military academies so that future military officers can learn from the past and implement successful strategies that save lives. I wouldn't mind statues and remembrances of these men next to George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, John Pershing or "Chesty" Puller.

But these statues have their place. If they're placed in a manner meant to oppress and offend, then they should be removed.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #14)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 03:38 PM

23. I think the one here in town wasn't installed with the intention to oppress and offend, but it does

I think people who put it up were ignorant. 50 years after a war will often bring remembrance and memorials. Our local statue is of a lone Confederate soldier. It says, "In memory of our confederate dead". However, it is in a very public area. So in that respect, it is offensive and should be moved to the Confederate cemetery.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:26 PM

16. A lot of these statues are cheap castings

Did you see how the statue in North Carolina broke apart and crumpled when it was toppled? These are not enduring works of fine art. They were hastily cast and put up on public ground during times of racial animosity (early in the 20th Century with the return of the KKK, and during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s), designed to keep black people from feeling too much a part of the American system.

I think public land in the United States should be given over to honoring its outstanding citizens, not people who took up arms and fought a war to preserve slavery. Aficionados should put their statuary on the public lands of the Confederate States of America, if any can be found.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 02:37 PM

19. Put them All

on a 100 acre Kudzu infested field somewhere in the deep South.

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Response to The River (Reply #19)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 07:13 PM

35. In Nevada where they dispose of nuclear waste was my idea. But it would not be fair to Nevadans.

The Everglades does have a lot of humungous pythons and boas that had been discarded by a bunch of knuckleheads

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 03:04 PM

21. Having visited museums that are dedicated to educating visitors as to the atrocities that have

taken place in world history, I think in the proper setting, the relics of the horror of slavery, including confederate statues, could become powerful ways to teach people about the ugly history of our past.

Two of the most moving museums I have visited are:

The Kura Hulanda Museum
http://www.kurahulanda.com/slavery
SNIP Museum Kurá Hulanda is an anthropological museum that focuses on the predominant cultures of Curacao. It offers a world-class chronicle of the Origin of Man, the African slave trade, West African Empires, Pre-Colombian gold, Mesopotamian relics and Antillean art.SNIP
---------
Curacao was the hub of the slave trade beginning as early as the 1400's and lasting for over 400 years. The museum displays objects such as the chains and shackles used on slaves, and robes of the KKK. It is a sobering experience and a way to make the horrors of history more palpable and indelible.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Palace of the Inquisition Museum
http://www.cartagenadeindias.travel/institucional.php?la=en&/conoce_palace-of-the-inquisition-and-historical-museum-171
SNIP Located on Plaza de Bolivar, this is a fascinating place. Over the course of 200 years, the inquisition burned five or six accused heretics and witches. The fiendish instruments that persuaded them to confess are displayed in a small museum. Built towards 1770 for the inquisition tribunal see, this house is one of most significant constructions of civil architecture in Cartagena. It was second see for the tribunal that from its beginning in 1610 operated in another house in front of the existent Bolivar Square, at the Actuary?s Portico. SNIP
---------
I had been unaware of the inquisitions that took place in the Americas prior to visiting this museum...once again, a powerful experience seeing relics and explanations of this horrible history.



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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 03:44 PM

24. Just go buy yourself a Franklin Mint Civil War chess set and let it go...

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 03:52 PM

25. I disagree. Statues have to be destroyed

 

These aren't ordinary statues designed for artistic or historical reasons. They aren't designed to teach history but erase it. Erase the fact that the war was about slavery (and not a damn thing else). Erase the fact that the various atrocities committed during Reconstruction were because elections weren't going the Klan's way not because the North was oppressing the South (as much of the South will rise again crowd believes). Erase the fact that slavery was a brutal and genocidal institution. Erase the fact that the CSA was a brutal kleptocracy that screwed over poor people of every color in favor of the romanticized Gone with the Wind narrative.

Hell, North Carolina, the state that shed the MOST blood during the Civil War wanted NOTHING to do with the clusterfuck. They were dragged in kicking and screaming. As a result they had the most desertions and a separate group, the Red Strings, who hounded the Confederates at every turn. But we're too busy romanticizing the Confederates to teach about that.

Statuary is a funny thing. Humans are, for whatever reason, hardwired to think that the people who have statues of them are the good guys. That's why every lunatic dictator has commissioned statues of himself since dictators became a thing.

Why do you think so many Southerners can look at the words and speeches of the Confederates, that say point blank "This war is about slavery" and rationalize it into some noble cause? The monuments play a role.

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Response to NCDem777 (Reply #25)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 04:00 PM

27. You just did an excellent job of giving context to what these statues represent - I think it would

be beneficial to round up some of these statues and create an exhibit that informs people of what you just discussed.

p.s. see my post #21 above
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029496861#post21

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 04:05 PM

29. It's what the Hungarians did with all their Soviet era memorials

They created a sculpture park just for the Communist era statues and plaques. That way, historians and the nostalgic can visit them all in once place while the majority, who view the era less positively, won't have to pass by them every day.

I find it a good compromise, honestly, as long as the park is called "Civil War Park," not the "war of northern aggression" park.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 05:00 PM

31. i dont think removing the statues will make ppls forget.

There are no statues commemorating hitler, himler, mengele, etc.. in germany. Yet, I can assure you they are very well aware of the history of their country.

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Response to Coventina (Original post)

Mon Aug 21, 2017, 05:03 PM

32. That's what University of Texas just did. They took their Confederate statues

and moved them to a history museum on campus.

Secretly. At night. This week.

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