YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

August 26, 2017

The Monument Business

Robert E. Lee monument, Charlottesville VA

This blog is about one aspect of the fight over American history: the question of modernist abstraction versus “naturalistic” representation. (I have put on my art historical hat/immersion in leftist cultural criticism.)

First read this: https://clarespark.com/2014/03/20/role-models-talcott-parsons-and-structural-functionalism/. (This suggests that statues may be “role models” for “the masses”).

In the spate of demands by “antifa” protesters, the numerous monuments/memorials to Confederate luminaries (and, of course, Columbus) must be taken down by social justice warriors, for they point to a shameful past that had best be forgotten and/or replaced by different monuments that commemorate the resistance to slavery and the glory days of the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks House, Detroit, now in Berlin Germany

Presumably, such monuments (to black/brown power) will hasten the demise of “white supremacy” (a feature of Amerikkka), surely an apocalyptic fantasy with no grounding in the real world.

duanetoops.com

Modernism vs. conventional representation.

What are the “white supremacists” protesting? Might it be the growth of progressive nostrums to soothe the structural antagonism between “the money power” and the masses (populism), realized today in the fight between Big Government and ordinary people?

Or is the fight about labor competition exacerbated by labor unions and other policies that co-opt “dissent”—all embodied in “realistic” monuments (unlike modernist abstraction or dialectical notions showing the pull of opposing forces).

Bibliography: Victor Davis Hanson and David Horowitz have both written about this culture wars event: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450749/confederate-statues-removed-while-racist-progressive-statues-remain, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450689/erasing-history-censoring-confederate-past-rewriting-memory-mob-vengeance; https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/08/24/the_progressive_war_against_the_dead_134819.html.

Other National Review commentary: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/450706/what-do-confederate-statues-say; http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450551/confederate-statues-republicans-democrats-should-let-them-be.

And, by David Horowitz: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267676/racist-attacks-america-and-trump-david-horowitz. (I agree with DH on the connotations of “white supremacy” but he doesn’t go far enough. “Cultural Marxism” was not  primarily about the “racism” that DH deplores, but about balance/stability as delivered by “antifascist” social democrats in the “Popular Front.” (See https://clarespark.com/2009/08/25/t-w-adorno-and-his-funny-idea-of-genuine-liberalism/.)

Here are some neglected aspects of the “culture wars”: https://clarespark.com/2013/01/02/index-to-blogs-on-culture-wars/).

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