Crosspost from the May Uprising thread.
Lots of statues honoring morally questionable historical figures getting their due this week. Below, a comedy in three parts:
How many millions dead at the bottom of the ocean?
Thrown overboard like property stolen
Or jumped overboard rather than be sold on
A mother with her baby in arms, hold on
What awaited was not just enslavement
But a genocidal impulse craving
Less amusingly, but more likely to survive- I’ve just updated the article “List of Public Art in Bristol” to move the statue to the category “formerly on display”
I kept seeing pearl clutching commentators on the news worrying that it’s erasing history because somehow everyone learns history from a tiny plaque under a statue. Well, turns out people did learn some history from a statue afterall by tearing it down and chucking it in the old briny.
Exactly! It’s opened up the discussion for maybe a lot of people who hadn’t heard the name of this racist arsehole before.
It’s why i think it’s so great they included the tulsa riots in watchmen and brought it front and centre to the storyline because so many people were just not aware of it.
Here’s what those people tend to miss. Statues are NOT history. They are short hands for history that more often than not serve to distort rather than clarify history. Putting up statues are often political decisions aimed at promoting a particular (and often obfuscating) historical narrative.
The only shame of this is polluting the harbor with that filth. Relocate it to a scrapyard, perhaps? (Or melt it down and cast toilets?)
I wouldn’t have done that!
Would have cut the statue up and cast one of someone more deserving
Friends from Bristol tell me that they’ve been trying to do this for decades but officials dragged their feet.
Turns out there was a more appropriate channel to go to all these years.
This. There’s also an implicit assumption that history is in the past and we’re not making any more of it. These Bristolians weren’t erasing history; they were learning from it and making more of it.
I have to admit I was conflicted watching that statue go in the water.
On the one hand, anticipating the big splash with glee and on the other, greedily calculating the scrap value of the bronze…