Thursday, August 24, 2017

As If Things Aren't Stupid Enough...Hold My Beer! UPDATED

So as if things aren't stupid enough, well, as they say "hold my beer". Even in New York City, the center of diversity and civility [Stop laughing!!!], we have jumped on the "Let's Destroy Historical Monuments To Make Us Feel Better" train. If you have been paying attention for the last week (or months or years) or so, you will know that Robert E. Lee, is now the most hated figure in the US.

It has gotten so stupid that ESPN removed a sport commentator from a college football game broadcast because his name was Robert Lee so as not to cause offense.

This is the ESPN Robert Lee they removed:

Well, like many other place in the US, Mayor DeBlasio announced a few days ago that there would be a 90 day "review" of which statues in New York City should possibly be removed because they may be offensive now that we are just so much more enlightened. [Also, our mayoral election is in November, so he has to pander] Some suggested Ulysses S. Grant because as General of the Union Army, he issued an order removing all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. [The good news is that maybe that age old question of "who is buried in Grant's tomb" will finally be answered!] And, of course, there is the ubiquitous cry to remove the stain of that great Italian icon Christopher Columbus. As a matter of fact, most of New York's greatest statued men in our fair city are up for destruction because we have come to understand in hindsight that they were not perfect. I know, hard to believe, isn't it?

Here a link to a story published by the New York Post of a list of statues of some of New York's greatest who could potential meet the chopping block - Chopping Block List

And yes, even in New York City, there are also a few places where even Robert E. Lee, the son of Revolutionary War General and Virginia Governor Henry "Harry Lighthorse" Lee, has been honored. In the last week, West Point Military Academy where Lee graduated at the top of his class, has requested at the behest of NY Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and NY Rep. Sean Patrick Mahoney [UPDATED] to remove his name from all of the halls and barracks that bore his name. And St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, removed a plaque from a tree in the churchyard commemmorating Lee's service when stationed as a military engineer from 1842 to 1847. The sad part is most likely no one actually knew any of these commemorations were there.

All of this stupidity is because studying history has become in and of itself a trigger for some "-ist" or another. Too many just do not understand that humans are complicated and complex. Great people have done bad things and bad people have done great things. Therefore historical events and people get complicated when viewed through the lense of a modern eye. It is important to remember that we can only judge these people from a lens focused clearly within their individual historical context and circumstances and never from our own modern context or circumstances. No person could possibly be perfect enough to survive that level of scrutiny. We cannot change history, we can only learn from it, but destroying all signs of our history does not erase it either.

This isn't new. This particular idea of destruction has happened over and over throughout human history, though most wouldn't know it because it would trigger their triggers. But, if we learn nothing else, it must be that we must study history and learn from it, otherwise it has a nasty way of repeating itself over and over and over.


Critch said...

ESPN execs probably called Robert Lee in and said, "This is what we're gonna do and you're going to agree to it." The silliness of this whole thing is amazing...they're making decisions based on coincidence...? Then they say that they were worried about memes? Really? As to the removal of Robert E. Lee's name from barracks stupid can they get? Pretty damn stupid from what I can see.

BevfromNYC said...

Critch - I am sure that is exactly what happened at ESPN. Funny thing when I saw the first tweet of the Lee issue, I didn't make the connection until about the 4th tweet. Just madness!

Also, I forgot this other madness in NYC. In lower Manhattan we have what is called "The Canyon Of Heroes" on Broadway. This is the long-standing traditional route of our famous ticker-tape parades. In the last 15 years, they have been embedding plaques all along the route of all of the people honored with parades over th years. Hey, guess what? Some of those people turned out to not be so nice. Some French Marshal Henri Philippe P├ętain who got a parade in 1931 turned out to be a Nazi collaborator, and Charles Lindbergh who may have been a Nazi sypmpathizer. Yep, these may be banished along with some of the other unsavory characters that litter our city sidewalks and parks.

Anonymous said...

Did West Point really remove his name from statues and baracks? WEST POINT?!?!? He graduated first in his class there. He was the Superintendent there! He is part of it's historical lineage! What the hell.

BevfromNYC said...

Actually, Gypsy, I was wrong and have updated my post. Our Sen. Gillibrand and a NY House Rep have demanded and West Point has requested on their behalf to remove the name.

And that other stuff doesn't matter 'cause he was a Confederate who was asked by Lincoln to lead the Union Army, but refused because he could not fight against Virginia.

tryanmax said...

Lincoln knew it was better to allow the South to retain its dignity. Unfortunately, there are still those to this day who want to see Dixie humiliated.

After WWI, the Allies wanted Germany humiliated, which established conditions that gave rise to Nazism.

Following the Cold War, too many Western nations wanted to rub Soviet failures in Russia's face, leading to where we are now.

The best remembered ancient empires knew to assimilate the cultures of the conquered. How much wisdom the world has lost!

ArgentGale said...

I've been trying to think of a good way to describe this absurdity but I just can't come up with it. This is beyond parody now. What really bugs me about all of this is how a group that's not even remotely close to being a majority of Americans has this much influence.

Anthony said...

Statues are just stone. Neither their presence nor their absence means much in and of itself. Most Confederate statues were built as symbols of segregationist political power rather than monuments to history.

They ought to just put statues on referendums. Imperfect but it would allow the statues to continue to exist where people care about whoever they represent. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Personally I think this statue thing (which has expanded way beyond the Confederacy) is more than a little silly but there are a lot of silly things out there. Democracy isn't perfect but it's the best option.

LL said...

Confederate flag manufacturers are reporting that they can not keep up with the current demand.

Cause and effect.

Sort of like Barack and Trump.

One side of the argument can't decide which restroom to use and the other has all the guns, a trillion rounds of ammunition and most of the police and military on its side... Pushing too hard is the act of mad people.

Anthony said...

I don't see Confederate flags in the wild in my neck of the woods but I always assumed they shot up alongside gun sales when Obama won office.

Makes sense they would spike whenever the Confederacy is in the news.

I suspect civil war is still at least a president or three away but these things are hard to predict.

Anthony said...

Harvey is doing some serious damage, but it looks like it is being dealt with as well as one could reasonably hope. Only a few lives lost thus far. Lets hope it stays that way.

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