Previous posts in this discussion:
PostCelebrating US Outlaws: Jesse James (Enrique Torner, USA, 08/27/17 4:12 am)
I don't understand all these violent disputes over statues and other monuments erected in honor of Confederate figures. If they don't deserve being remembered in this artistic fashion, why do so many criminals in this country have a museum devoted to them, and nobody complains about them? On the contrary, they seem to be very popular.
When I first arrived in the US as a student at Indiana University, in Bloomington, our guide (I came with a group of 30 other Spanish fellows) took us to Nashville, Indiana, where we had the opportunity to visit the John Dillinger Museum. My Spanish fellows and I were absolutely amazed that somebody had built a museum in honor of a criminal. I remember that we commented, "This can only happen in America!" One year later, while visiting San Francisco, I discovered that the famous penitentiary of Alcatraz that I had seen in the movies had become a museum. I took a cruise to the island and took a tour of the prison, being able to see the jail where Al Capone had been! Oh, my goodness! Another major criminal honored! Some years later, after I accepted a teaching position at then Mankato State, I visited the Jesse James Museum in Northfield, Minnesota, built upon the last bank he and his gang tried to rob. For some reason, years later they renamed it Northfield Historical Society Museum, but the exhibits devoted to the famous criminal not only remain, but have grown! In the basement of the museum there is a glass-topped coffin with the skeleton of one of the members of Jesse's gang. Also, there is a desiccated ear of the same criminal sewn to a piece of cardboard!
There are many other similar museums all over the US that I haven't visited: the Crime Museum in Washington DC, where you can learn the history of crime in the US; the Mob Museum in Las Vegas; and the Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa, scene of a still-unsolved murder that happened in 1912, where Sarah Moore, their four children and two young friends were all murdered in their beds. In the US, remembering crime is a great form of entertainment, as you can see from the poster I attach.
And you say that crime doesn't pay? So, why do people think that Robert E. Lee and others like him don't deserve to be remembered, while all these criminals do? What sense does this make? Isn't this a crazy paradox?
JE comments: Don't all societies celebrate outlaws? There is something culturally fascinating about those who refuse to play by the rules. Who was the first? Robin Hood? Spartacus?
Part of the outlaws' appeal is pure economics: they draw visitors to your museum or festival. A similar phenomenon is happening in Colombia with Pablo Escobar tourism. But where do you draw the line? A Timothy McVeigh museum is out of the question, at least for now. In another generation, it's impossible to say.
Guess how Jesse James got his start? As a Confederate guerrilla/bushwacker during the Civil War.
What Happened in Charlottesville; Looking to 2018
(Istvan Simon, USA
08/27/17 1:57 PM)
Let me try to answer Enrique Torner's question (27 August).
Virginians do not have any opposition to Robert E. Lee being in a museum. In fact, that is the whole purpose of moving his statue. What they do not want is for Robert E. Lee to be honored and commemorated in a public square, where he can and has become a rallying point for neo-Nazis and other haters that live in this country, who think that anyone with a darker skin color does not belong in the United States.
There were a mere 700 of these right-wing domestic terrorists and Trump supporters from the entire United States in Charlottesville and they were outnumbered by local citizen counter-demonstrators who did not want the former's hateful garbage spewed and polluting Charlottesville's streets. As far as I know there was no significant violence between the neo-Nazis and counter-demonstrators until a neo-Nazi decided to commit an act of terrorism against the counter-demonstrators, driving his car into a crowd, injuring dozens seriously, and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
The pandering of this president to these hate groups is a disgrace and a shame on the United States, and the blot can be repaired only by removing this so-called president and his equally objectionable VP from the White House, and restore this country to at least half-decent leadership. In my opinion, the best opportunity for this is after the 2018 elections, when I expect that Democrats will retake both control of the House and the Senate and terminate this nightmare government.
This will not be easy in spite of the amazing unpopularity of this government a mere 7 months after taking office with the smallest crowds in attendance in decades on January 20. That is because of the gerrymandering perpetrated by Republicans in recent decades, as well as because of the disgraceful Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court, which opened the floodgates for buying politicians to anyone with money. Nonetheless these huge obstacles, I believe that it will be accomplished because of the utter and complete failure of this government.
JE comments: It is still very early to forecast the 2018 mid-term elections. Even with Trump's unprecedented unpopularity, the Democrats have fared poorly in the special elections held so far this year.
What Happened in Charlottesville; the Antifa Movement
(Timothy Ashby, South Africa
08/31/17 3:44 PM)
Istvan Simon (27 August) is wrong to write that "What [Virginians] ... do not want is for Robert E. Lee to be honored and commemorated in a public square, where he can and has become a rallying point for neo-Nazis and other haters that live in this country, who think that anyone with a darker skin color does not belong in the United States."
According to an August 22 poll of Virginia voters, a majority--51 percent--want the statues to remain on public property while 28 percent would like them removed. A majority--52 percent--of voters polled also consider the monuments part of Southern heritage while just 25 percent believe the statues are symbols of racism.
Voters were split on who was most responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, with 40 percent blaming the white nationalist marchers and 41 percent blaming the white nationalists and the counterprotesters equally.
From the Washington Post:
While the counterprotesters included Charlottesville residents, a large number (if not a majority) of this group were outsiders from around the USA. In addition to "Antifa" members who seem to be professional anarchists, the counterprotesters included members of Black Lives Matter, the Democratic Socialists of America, the Industrial Workers of the World, the anti-racism group Showing Up for Racial Justice, the International Socialist Organization, legal aid groups, smaller left-wing groups and the clergy.
Anyone who thinks that Antifa is dedicated to "peace and love" is sadly misguided. Take a close look at this photo published in the New York Times on August 14, 2017 identified as "A group of counterprotesters who identified themselves as antifa, or anti-fascists, rested during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday." The young woman on the left is wearing a machete or large knife in a scabbard. The two men in the center are carrying AR-style "assault" rifles, and the woman on the right is armed with a folding stock rifle that I cannot readily identify.
JE comments: This image is straight from the NYT. Are the liberals beginning to arm themselves? Time magazine's Joel Stein asks this same question, with a much lighter tone, in a recent column. His wife wanted to learn to shoot, to "protect herself from the people who had guns to protect themselves from people who wanted to take her guns, such as her."
- What Happened in Charlottesville; the Antifa Movement (Timothy Ashby, South Africa 08/31/17 3:44 PM)