The Limitations of Statues
I guess it began with the whole Confederate flag thing. A kid goes nuts and half the known universe makes like those guys in the park after rock concerts that go around spearing litter and putting it in bags. Poof. All gone. No more flags. Clean as a whistle. Move along. Nothing to see here.
Well the enthusiasm has spread. In late August, the University of Texas removed statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson from the Main Mall of its campus. Nothing shouts commitment quite like a press release in the passive voice — “Statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson were removed Sunday from the limestone pedestals at the University of Texas on which they have stood for 82 years” — especially when the spokesman is the University’s Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement. Sounds like Jeff and Woody leaped off the limestone and cannonballed into the waiting trucks.
Now for a poll: what percentage of the University of Texas population including faculty has the slightest idea who Woodrow Wilson was, why he was there in the first place and what he did to get bounced. These numbers are going to be low, but I am guessing Jefferson Davis will do better when those questions are asked about him.
Those three paragraphs sound like the lead in for a fist-shaking screed on political correctness. Fooled you; they state the case for a business plan of epic proportion.
Nobody seriously thinks this silliness is going to end, so let’s make some good money off it while it lasts.
We need a museum for all of the rejected statues, a museum with major admission charges. I ran the idea by a seriously important real live museum director the other day and I was undeterred by his backing away as the scheme unfolded. But he is seriously important and a long time friend so I am not telling you who he is and I am keeping the share of the profits I offered to him.
I did not tell him the museum might gently ease across the line separating museums from theme parks, though it surely will. The opportunity is “YUGE.”
I did point out that the new museum would have an acquisition budget of zero because the rejected statues, paintings, murals and building names will literally be delivered to us in the dark of night. Abandoned right on the front steps no questions asked.
We then put them all up and actually teach people something by telling them who everyone was, why they were once thought to be fancy enough to merit statues, paintings, murals and building names and why they fell from grace.
Now here is another part of this splendid plan that might be a bit sticky for seriously important museum directors: de-accessioning. Selling art is taboo in museum land. While admission fees will keep the lights on, the real money is in selling the statues, paintings, murals and building names back after all this stupidity ends. (Okay, the ending of stupidity probably has some “if” to it.)
The market is limitless. We can have the Washington Redskins at no cost. We can have Brown University (founded by slave traders) at no cost. All manner of beliefs, religions and ideas, both right and wrong, will be delivered unto us and all at no cost. It goes on and on. If we are clever about it, we can own a good chunk of college and pro sports because their names are suspect.
The mighty development team is hard at work promoting the idea that all former elected officials who make the current ones look bad by comparison must be similarly banished from the public square. We also need to promote more partisanship so the Republicans oust Democrats and the Democrats oust Republicans because we’ll make money off both.
Poll question: the picture above is described as the statue of limitations. Who is it? Why was he honored in the first pace and why is he now available for relocation? Your answers can go in the comments.