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My favorite poop, and other monuments

I’ve previously mentioned that when we lived in Kansas City, my wife and I found a monument to “our Confederate dead.” Missouri had been a Civil War battleground, so we shouldn’t have been surprised, but surprised we were, and un-delighted.

After leaving Kansas City, we resettled in Madison, the famously liberal capitol of Wisconsin, which is quite a ways north of the Mason-Dixon line. Imagine our surprise when we chanced upon a Confederate monument in Wisconsin, too. We weren't looking for Confederate monuments, and Wisconsin seems an unlikely place to find them, but there it was.

Turns out there’d been a Civil War prison in Madison, right where the football stadium is now, and there’d been an outbreak of disease that killed more than 100 of the captured traitors. Many years after the war ended, some people with great sympathy for the Confederate cause thought those dead Confederates deserved a gigantic granite memorial.

At the Confederate statue in Kansas City, we’d been ill-prepared for vandalism, but that afternoon in Madison I’d already been planning to cut our walk short because my innards were becoming uncomfortable. So I asked my wife to keep lookout, unfolded a newspaper on the grass,  discreetly dropped my trousers and pooped onto the paper, and then spread my opinion of the Confederacy all over the engraved names of 100+ dead Confeds.

Certainly, what I did was childish, illegal, and tremendously satisfying. The monument was removed a few years later, and I like to think me and my bowels, along with the bowels and graffiti of countless others, played some small part in that.

I’m absolutely in favor of toppling Confederate statues and monuments. Move them to museums or blow them to smithereens, please. Monuments in the public space are intended to remind us of the past, and Confederate monuments are simply blips of insanity and embarrassment, intended to interrupt your day with a advertisement that slavery was great and all hail Robert E Lee and other such rot best forgot. 

Wherever people want to change the names of places and things, I’m all for that, too, and also in places where people don’t want the changes. At work, my eyes roll and my heart sinks every time I’m mailing an insurance policy to someone who lives on a street or highway named for Robert E Lee, especially because it’s always 'Robert E Lee Blvd' on the street sign, never just Lee Blvd. In your face, Yankees, was the sentiment in naming such places, and it’s been a while since the Civil War but I’m not of a forgiving mindset, so I’d say In your face, you treasonous bastards, as those street signs are replaced. Every Robert E Lee Street Drive & Boulevard across the South should be renamed for Malcolm X.

There’s lately a small but (maybe?) growing push to rename parks, buildings, and businesses with problematic names, because their original namesakes are known to have been bastards or the name was appropriated. Here in Madison, the owners of the Winnebago Arts Cafe, on Winnebago Street, got woke and realized Winnebago was a tribe before it was an RV and a street. I thought that was beautiful, and wish the RV-maker would do the same.

For reasons I’ve never understood, even American military facilities have been named to honor people who turned traitor against America. The Defense Department is now — finally — in the process of renaming Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, Fort Lee, etc.

Locally, there’s an effort afoot to rename Madison Park, because it’s named for James Madison, one of the many (most?) founding fathers who owned slaves. Of note, he’s the same slaveowner for whom the city itself is named, but (so far) nobody’s seriously suggesting renaming the city of Madison. So far.

If the locals or legislature vote to rename the park or the city itself, I won’t be outraged or even inconvenienced. Rename the famous Madison Avenue in New York City, while we're at it.

Rename Seattle; its current namesake was the local Indian chief, who specifically asked them not to name the city after him.

Alabama and several other American states were named after native tribes that were basically evicted there; rename those states.

Back here in Madison, a 42-ton rock was recently removed from the local university campus. The rock had memorialized Thomas Chamberlin, a long-dead geologist. I’ve heard nothing particularly disparaging about Chamberlin, but due to the rock's natural shape it had sometimes been called ‘N-word head’. 

That last example was widely mocked as too much political correctness, but the people doing the mocking seemed to be the kind of people who'd be happy to live on Robert E Lee Boulevard, so I’d ring up the rock as a victory. Symbolism is important, and sometimes it's a good thing to haul away a giant stone on a flatbed truck. 

Well, that's one man's opinion, just spreading it around.

itsdougholland.com 

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4 comments:

  1. A philosophical question, not about confederates but about all soldiers everywhere... are the losers less gallant than the winners and less worthy of honor? North-south or Nazis-Allies we can easily see the difference between right and wrong, but the soldiers have no say in that, and what of the many turf wars where right-wrong is not nearly so clear ...

    I loved the poop btw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you love the poop, it loves you back.

      I don't have a philosophical answer for your fine philosophical question. Also don't have the ordinary kneejerk "thank you for your service" for everyone who's ever worn a uniform — when we're not at war it's just a job, they're employed and paid. Then again, when are we not at war?

      For those who've been killed or injured, I'll offer a sincere thank you *if* it's a cause that won or preserved people's freedom, but that doesn't describe most wars.

      Delete
  2. Doug - Unrelated, on a previous post, you asked me what Virginia, being a potter, felt about the pottery scene from the movie Ghost.

    She says, it's a very sexy scene, but it drives her nuts that they cut from them being dirty and covered in clay, to clean and fucking in the sheets. They should have had a sexy scene of them cleaning off in the shower or whatever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's see that scene in an X-rated director's cut.

      Delete

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