Charlottesville’s novel solution to the conflict over its monuments to Confederate heroes is to drape them in statue burqas meant to shield viewers from the temptation to either worship or become enraged by the images of men who lost a war 150 years ago. Up until a year ago, of course, no such measures were necessary because nobody reacted that way. But sure, it’s the statues that are the problem, so they need to be covered.
It looks like this.
That’s the statue of Robert E. Lee somewhere under there. Here is Stonewall Jackson.
Charlottesville has a tendency to put up bad modern art, and these look like new entries—abstract pieces entitled “Moral Cowardice.” This completes the kind of magical thinking behind the Confederate statues campaign: if we cover the idols of the old gods, we can finally banish their evil spirits.
You can also see this moral panic in the story of a vaguely Confederate-flag-looking tile design in a New York subway stop—which is to say, an X of blue tiles over a white and red background—which has to be “altered to avoid confusion.” Clearly the tiles are not the source of the confusion, but people will …read more