Confederate Monuments; Art, History and Censorship

I think we have lost sight as to what a ‘Monument or Sculpture” is, what it represents, and it’s value as antiquity. Destroying history is exactly what ISIS is attempting to do in Syria as they ravage entire museums and coliseums filled with the representation of a society hundreds and/or thousands of years ago.

During the time of Michelangelo, bronze sculptures were melted down for their iron content to make cannonballs, and art was lost for the call to war. A culture, a society, died with that decision just as thousands of cultures died at the hands of ISIS.  And now the lefters in the US want to expunge historic remnants of civilization, as though expunging these antiquities will have any impact at all other than the censorship they foment

Having dabbled as a sculptress, I appreciate the art, the labor, the time, and the love that is poured into each unique piece.   Destroying a piece of art is criminal.  In the world of dance, Balanchine was an amazing choreographer.  He was also a purported liar, cruel and has been accused of requiring many of his dancers to engage in  sex with him.  Should we ban all his ballets?  We can look at nearly every leader in history and find the faults, the imperfections, the sin.   No one human is sinless. And therefore, in parallel to the thinking that anything that is not perfect must be destroyed, we would have left only one sculpture, Jesus Christ.

Siddhartha/Buddha was a King’s son filled with gluttonous ways and royal greed – sinful.   Caesar was a military general who defied orders and instituted a coup in order to assume power…   King David was an adulterer who sent his mistress’ husband to his death on the front lines of war.   Nero had his mother murdered.   Should all their sculptures be destroyed?

It is no different than the burning of books, a form of censorship that has only one purpose, the destruction of a cultural heritage through violent means. The Nazi’s used book burning to try and eradicate history. In researching ‘book burnings’ the number of accounts in history is horrifyingly massive. This form of obliteration has been used for thousands of years to incite violence – not to quell it.

The Ruins of Rome. They represent thousands of years of slavery and death. Yet they also represent art, culture, history and a view into an era long gone. Should we raze the ruins and build an apartment complex?   In Denver at DIA, visitors driving into the airport are greeted by a 32 foot rearing blue Mustang horse with crazed red eyes that glow with evil. The horse fell on it’s sculptor, killing him, before it was erected – the eyes were added by the son. It’s creepy, but it’s also beautiful and it is art.

We commemorate thousands of people and industries and companies with sculptures – firemen, policemen, and even Genghis Khan known for his brutal genocide and for his fathering of thousands of children whose descendants today number somewhere in the range of 16 million!  That’s history.

The US has roughly 40 million people of Irish descent. They were slaves before the Africans. They aren’t protesting and rioting and demanding destruction of antiquities and artifacts. They aren’t calling for book burnings and censorship. The logic of what is happening is quite bizarre as it has crossed lines and tributaries in directions that make no rational sense at all. Perhaps we should simply destroy all sculptures and books and media because by and large they are the product of ‘Men” and well, men have a history of enslaving women…  Shakespeare?  Gone!   Plato?  Gone!  Aristotle?  Gone!   T. S. Eliot?  Gone!  Michelangelo?  Rembrandt?   Mozart?   Gone!

The absurdity of chaos has seemingly drugged our water, and logic and rational thought have been vanquished. Censorship was the tool of the Nazi regime, destruction of history is the tool of ISIS. These are facts.

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