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Durham: Redeeming Itself 5% for Christian Laettner

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Pull down the symbols of American Nazis!

Demonstrators on Monday night toppled a Confederate monument outside of a court house in Durham, North Carolina.

During a public protest, a woman climbed the statue and tied a rope around it at around 7:00pm, according to Derrick Lewis, a reporter with local CBS affiliate in Durham. The crowd then pulled the rope and the statue fell.

“No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” the protesters are heard chanting as the statue is pulled down to the ground. Some demonstrators then kicked or punched the fallen statue.

The monument stood in front of the Old Durham County Courthouse for decades, having been dedicated in 1924, according to a website maintained by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that documents Southern history.

The monument, about 15 feet in height, depicts an armed and uniformed soldier. “In memory of the boys who wore the gray,” reads the inscription on its granite base, which also bears the Confederate seal.

“It’s an awesome day. I’ve walked by this statue for the last six years ― I knew someone was going to topple it,” said Josh Reynolds of Durham, who dropped by along with his 4-year-old daughter Ida after hearing about what had happened.

More of this. Lots more of it. Take the fight straight to the heart of white supremacy. Make their symbols the equivalent of the Nazi flag in Germany.

Also, from my trip to Antietam this spring, why do Confederate flags keep ending up under my muddy boots?

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  • Xenos66

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    • Dixon Ticonderoga

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    • OliversArmy

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    • Chip Daniels

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      • dmsilev

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        • Ash

          I wish to subscribe to your newsletter!

        • Justin Runia

          That’s weird, I just started a very similar service, but I also make my contractors wear rainbow clown wigs. May the best business win!

  • Judas Peckerwood

    Confederate statues leaping off their pedestals, Confederate flags throwing themselves under people’s boots –– it would appear that the times they are a changin’.

    • Dune

      I genuinely don’t expect it to be long before a large rally occurs where some folks break out into the Internationale https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sh4kz_zhyo

      • DJ

        Let no one build walls to divide us,
        Walls of hated nor walls of stone.

        Seems like a particularly important sentiment today.

  • DrS

    I hope the young woman who was really kicking that statue hard didn’t break her foot.

    • Denverite

      That was my thought as well.

      • DrS

        I do admire her fighting spirt, but I need to spend my gofundme money on the people run over by that shithead

  • Deggjr

    FWIW, I’d be OK with keeping the monuments as long as the cornerstone of Andrew Stephenson’s Cornerstone Speech was prominently displayed on the monument:

    “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. ”

    https://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/amgov/stephens.html

    • Deggjr

      Sorry, Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America

    • Tom B

      I like that idea, but a very simple and very, very large plaque reading simply TRAITOR at the base (or at the top) would also be good.

      • N__B

        Who needs a plaque? Spray-paint “TRAITOR” across their torsos.

      • farin

        It’s a shame that hanging a noose around their necks would probably convey the wrong message.

        • TJ

          Would it? Would really?

    • CP

      I’m afraid that more and more people would simply continue to celebrate it, and support the sentiment in that text.

      • Deggjr

        No doubt that’s the flaw in the plan.

    • Jon Hendry

      The appropriate way to design a monument that includes Robert E. Lee is to make it like the one in New Haven, where he is depicted surrendering.

  • so-in-so

    Good on them – which reminds me, what happened to the activist arrested for pulling down the Dixie Swastika in SC before it became policy? Hoping she came out ok.

    Oh, and thanks to the Alt-Righter shitheads who have made the Rebel Flag = Swastika Flag incontestable last weekend. We couldn’t have done it without you!

    • Judas Peckerwood

      “Oh, and thanks to the Alt-Righter shitheads who have made the Rebel Flag = Swastika Flag incontestable last weekend.”

      Excellent point.

    • DrS

      Bree Newsome is her name. She’s on twitter https://twitter.com/BreeNewsome

      • so-in-so

        Thank you! Good to see she is going strong.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Anyone on Twitter should be following her.

  • King Goat

    I’ll shed no tears for sure, but I do think that *monuments* of Confederate leaders should be targeted before focus on *memorials* of Confederate rank and file in general. Don’t get me wrong, both are deeply offensive, but I think the latter are somewhat less so and will probably lend them self to more widespread defense/support.

    • Though I don’t disagree, sometimes you just have to tear down the statues honoring traitors that you have at hand.

      • TJ

        You go to war with the statues you have, not the statues you want.

    • DJ

      I don’t disagree with your sentiment. How about we keep as many rank-and-fine statues of Confederate soldiers, as there are statues in the same city of slaves who were murdered when exercising their right to be free.

    • Adam King

      It is possible to do two things at once. (Just ask Gerald Ford.)

    • I disagree actually. Most Southerners who had family fight who are or can be sympathetic to or advocate for the removal of the statues don’t know the names or anything specific about their relatives who fought. They find it shameful. There’s not an unknown soldier cultus.

      There’s a whole cult that has venerated the big names Lee, Jackson, etc. In and outside the South, it had poisoned people’s minds to a disturbing degree. I think the fact that this was generic made it a good first fall. Basically as long as you don’t go after cemeteries I don’t think these actions will lose gettable support, and they won’t get the violent backlash and attacks that the big ones would from name recognition.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Tear ’em all down. Now.

  • Morbo

    “Who will pay for the removal of these statues?”

    Rent out jackhammers and I’ll take a vacation day to come and spend ten minutes on one.

    • Tom B

      Auction off the right to pull them down? I could see that being a sweet fundraiser. (For people on both the right and wrong sides, alas.) ((The right side being the left side, in this case.))

      • IM

        market solutions!

    • Helmut Monotreme

      For a big enough monument, i’d be tempted to cash out my retirement account so I could rent the biggest bulldozer on the market.

      • (((realinterrobang)))

        If you put a hat down, you might be able to defray some of those expenses, you know. People love a good show.

    • njorl

      The bronze ones should pay for their own removal out of scrap value.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Yeah, these people in Durham did it for free.

  • keta

    Hmm. Perhaps not the best week to dress both Bannon and Miller in my White House fantasy league.

    • Leigh Grossman

      I am increasingly convinced that Trump really thinks that he is required to fire someone once a week in order to keep ratings up, like on his last gig.

      • TJ

        That would be a great thing actually

  • NewishLawyer

    There was an old film from the 1940s making the Internet rounds today called Don’t Be a Sucker. The film was from 1947 and was basically good liberals telling people don’t fall for some rebel rousing demagogue spreading non-sense of America First and bigotry against Jews, Blacks, Catholics, Freemasons (It was 1947 afterall). Vox states that research commissioned concurrently with the film shows that the video might not be too effective:

    https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/8/14/16143782/dont-be-a-sucker-propaganda-charlottesville-nazi-racism

    I’m in a bit of a low down on mood on the power of rhetoric and my brain seems to go counter the rest of the current. I have a lot of friends who are posting old-time PSAs featuring Superman talking about how bigotry is not-American. Or Captain America punching Hitler.

    I know this is to say hatred is un-American but I wonder if there is a kinder-culture navietee that keeps the left always unaware and smashed in the face. Perhaps we should always prepare for constant vigilance no matter how tired this makes us feel.

    • Joe Paulson

      “The Farmer’s Daughter” also had a similar message, Loretta Young’s idealistic congressional candidate running against someone who turns out to be an American First type. The powers that be on the other side eventually determine he’s not someone they can support. Her love interest’s dad also was a strong supporter of the League of Nations, so the film had an overall pro-United Nations message as well. I wonder if such a film with popular stars etc. could have been a more effective way to promote the message.

      • NewishLawyer

        I don’t know. Maybe it needs more research but it seems Hollywood is filled with gooey liberalism in many eras and it doesn’t really move the needle.

        I don’t fully buy liberal Hollywood memes. There is a lot of right-wing stuff in Hollywood too but I do generally think there is a kind of soft-liberalism that you see in a lot of Hollywood movies and Corporate Ads of the We Are All Americans with a Common Cause type. It doesn’t seem to move the needle.

        • Joe Paulson

          There are certain things, like portrayals of gays in a positive light, that probably helped move the needle in the right direction.

          I don’t know either but do think cultural representations in movies were and are not just a reflection of society, but also influenced it somewhat, especially in the age where there was more censorship on what exactly was able to be portrayed.

          As to the right-wing stuff, I think that influences people too.

          • wjts

            Basil Dearden’s Victim is the canonical case. I suspect Will and Grace and Ellen are good recent examples.

          • TJ

            I’ve been disappointed the reluctance of Hollywood to share interracial love stories (other than Kanye and Kim that is).

        • Hogan

          It’s not a needle. It’s a stone, with water dripping on it.

          • N__B

            It sounds like you write for GOOP.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              Er, last I heard from Planet Gwynneth, that ain’t water.

            • Chet Murthy

              Oh c’mon. I read him as expressing the same sentiment as ‘the arc of history is long but it tends toward justice’. We can disagree w/the sentiment (that absent actual work, it’ll tend toward genocide) but it’s a reasonable position to take, innit?

              And to be clear: I -hope- that Dr. King was right. I -fear- he was wrong. And lately, I fear a lot for my country.

              • Hogan

                absent actual work, it’ll tend toward genocide

                Well yeah. Someone has to carry the water.

              • mattmcirvin

                And in the Letter from Birmingham Jail, he expressed frustration with moderates who had “a mythic sense of time” and thought waiting for that arc to bend was all you needed.

                • TJ

                  The fierce urgency of Now.

            • Water and abrasives can shape jadite and nephrite, two hard and tough minerals.

              I think there’s a lesson somewhere for all of us.

              • Yestobesure

                And at really high pressures, they can fracture shale to release crude oil!
                Maybe I’m taking the metaphor too far…

        • CP

          I think all of Hollywood’s stuff generally adds up to “gooey moderate” more than “gooey liberal.”

          There’s a lot of “racism is bad, homophobia is bad, mmmkay,” and a lot of using Nazi imagery and right-wing rhetoric for villains, but there’s also a lot of hero-worshiping of the police and military, and a general consensus that defense attorneys, news reporters, Internal Affairs, political superiors and pretty much anyone whose job might involve keeping the men with guns honest are all perfidious pond scum tying them up with red tape and stopping them from doing their job of Saving Us.

          There’s a lot of use of Corrupt Corporate Executives as villains, but there’s also a general celebration of fuzzy libertarian/anarchist individualism as the way to go, and distrust of any kind of institutions or movements that might actually want to do something big-picture about the Corrupt Corporate Executives. (Governments are almost always corrupt or incompetent, and social movements tend to be dangerous mobs easily misled and whipped up by people with nefarious purposes).

          The people at Hollywood often have their hearts in the right place about what the world’s problems are and who the world’s villains are, but they tend to promote the same ideologies that allow those problems to fester and those villains to proliferate. They never make the connection between the two, or if they do, are afraid to go there because they don’t want too much angry audience backlash from those it would discomfort.

          • NewishLawyer

            Perhaps now but not then. I watched the full 17 minute video and they did show how the Nazis went after Socialists, Communists, and Trade Unionists even if they also showed brave Catholic Priests and Protestant Pastors standing up to the Nazis more. Though interestingly the educator got the biggest shout out because he was criticizing the concept of a Master Race in front of a classroom filled with young men in Nazi uniforms. Lots of mockery of the German leadership.

            There were also a lot of parallels to the concept of Fake News with the narrator saying “You needed to get your information from Goebbels” and powerful imagery of the suckers dying and forgotten at Stalingrad, Normandy, and another battle.

            But while I agree with a lot of stuff on this blog, I see us as pragmatic radicals (as opposed to Green Partiers who are not pragmatic radicals). The Democratic Party might be moving left but I see many here as to the left of that still. But people are complicated.

            I generally concur with your analysis of modern Hollywood movies though. Back in the 1940s, a lot of these guys might have been blacklisted a few years later. But modern Hollywood movies are done amorally. The pursuit is money, not art. So they will make liberal and conservative movies but generally nothing too radical.

            I guess I am conceding to you.

            • CP

              Yeah, I’ve argued before that Hollywood has in some ways gotten worse as time goes by and that old movies often surprise you in a good way.

              But even then there was stuff that’s reminiscent of what I have an issue with today. Frank Capra’s movies especially have that same frustrating combination of accurately portraying some of society’s issues, while not really preaching for much of a solution other than fuzzy flag-and-apple-pie gibberish and Green Lanternesque individualism.

          • Origami Isopod

            The people at Hollywood often have their hearts in the right place

            Yeah, well, a lot of people have their hearts in the right place. It’s where their heads are located that’s the problem.

            I’ve got no use for Hollywood, personally.

          • TJ

            See also: The Outlaw Josey Wales. And: Jonah Hex.

        • Captain Oblivious

          Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner moved the needle on interracial marriage. Maybe not a lot, but it definitely got people examining their own attitudes towards it.

          • CP

            Yep, although from what I understand GWC2D was basically a message written by liberals and to liberals. Nobody had any illusions that it would change the hearts of any segregationists. But the movie was important in sort of being a challenge to a lot of well-off Northern and West Coast liberals, who’d supported civil rights to some degree or other, of “all right, you supported desegregation in general – are you willing to accept it in your own life?”

            • BiloSagdiyev

              The way it was phrased in those days was, “But would you want one moving next door and marrying your daughter?”

        • TJ

          Sure it does. Do you think we’d have Gay Marriage without Will and Grace? We will always have bigots with us, but slowly things improve. There was the famous Cheerios ad, and Procter and Gamble recently did it’s own such ad:

          A company best known for selling soap is hoping to start a new discussion about race in this country with a thought-provoking new ad.

          The commercial is called “The Talk,” released by Procter & Gamble (P&G).

          “There are some people who think you don’t deserve the same privileges because of what you look like. It’s not fair,” the ad says.

          “Remember you can do anything they can … the difference is you got to work twice as hard and be twice as smart,” it continues.

          The two-minute ad — released online last month — showing black mothers sharing “their” truths about bias and racial stereotypes growing up in America.
          http://www.kwch.com/content/news/Procter–Gambles-new-ad-The-Talk-tackles-more-than-selling-soap-440364833.html

    • mattmcirvin

      It was actually from 1943, produced by the War Department as official propaganda (1947 seems to have been the year of a re-release). That’s why there’s a warning against using it without authorization from the government. Given everything the US was doing at the time (and the virulent racism of their anti-Japanese propaganda), it seems a bit hypocritical in hindsight, but that’s always the case with attempts to call bigotry anti-American.

      • NewishLawyer

        I read the Atlantic article and it pointed out that the U.S. was interning the Japanese at the same time they showed white, black, and East Asian kids playing baseball together. The article also pointed out how redlining was really ramping up to be a policy when the film was produced.

        I suspect that there were a lot of New Deal liberals who wanted to fight prejudice but were ham-stringed by reality back then. I wonder if you can do a history on the tracing of Youth culture in the mid to late 1940s to the Freedom riders about 11 to 15 years later.

        I don’t know much about it but I’ve read that Sonny Rollins remembers attending a Frank Sinatra concert while in high school and Sinatra made a full-on plea for racial tolerance and civil rights. This was when Frank Sinatra was brawling but gooey liberal who liked Eleanor Roosevelt. The music critic Elijah Wald mentioned a 1940s comic book with Frank Sinatra “punching out the biggest bully of them all, racial prejudice” on the cover in his book How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n’ Roll.

        I wonder how much of this stuff was out there in the 1940s and early 50s. Who read it? How did it influence them? Was it mainly read by Jewish and Italian kids who were still living in the cities as opposed to the burbs?

        • mattmcirvin

          And it didn’t take long for HUAC to transition from pursuing Nazi agents to pursuing Communists, which meant that a lot of people who’d been attracted to the Communist Party of the USA before the war because of their unusual pro-civil-rights stance were suddenly targets.

      • NewishLawyer

        If it weren’t for my knowledge of adjunct hell, I’d love to be able to research this stuff full time.

        • Adjuncts have neither time nor energy for research.

  • Fats Durston

    What if they erect a Laettner statue in its place?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      we need more George Thomas statues. there really ought to be one right in front of the courthouse in my town. A lesson for the kids and other emotionally stunted sorts who go ’round with confederate flags on their pickups

    • bw

      It would probably play better defense than the real NBA Christian Laettner.

      • farin

        Well it’s not like the statue it would replace did any better.

  • DePasoPorElPlaneta

    In 2015 the NC legislature passed a law that prohibits municipalities from taking down monuments without permission from the legislature.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      does that mean the city would be forced to replace monuments taken down by others?

      • DePasoPorElPlaneta

        I don’t know. The governor tweeted this:
        The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments #durham – RC
        https://twitter.com/NC_Governor

        • Tom B

          “Such as…? We’re listening…”

        • MD Rackham

          Dynamite.

          • N__B

            “Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

            • Aubergine

              Photon torpedoes. You don’t see any of this Confederate shit in the Federation, now do you.

              • sigaba
              • mattmcirvin

                They call themselves enlightened but try putting up a statue of a Vulcan and everyone loses their shit. “It’s a dirty Romulan!”

            • Charles S

              The North Koreans are working on that right now.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          I dunno, sounds like it was done cheaply, and without any tax dollars. In the future, I recommend hard hats and eye goggles.

          • CD

            Lucky it fell straight forward. Someone needs to put up a guide to DIY Confederate monument demolition.

        • bw
        • Origami Isopod

          Nope.

    • SomeTreasonBrewing

      Dear legislature: We have taken down all of our Confederate crap and thrown them away. Please provide your mooted permission. Or not. – NC municipality

      • DePasoPorElPlaneta

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the same thing happens to “Silent Sam” on the Chapel Hill campus.

        • D_J_H

          We can only hope. Julian Carr’s comments at its dedication make absolutely clear what the monument stood/stands for.

    • gyrfalcon

      Clearly the work of a paternalistic bunch of lieberal DemocRATs. Republicans, being ever devoted to minimalist government and minimal regulation, would never block local municipalities from using their own city property as the city residents see fit.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      In early 2017 the Electoral Integrity Project declared North Carolina a failed democracy due in large part to recent actions of the NC legislature regarding gerrymandering and attempting to denude the power of the governor’s chair when their party lost it.

  • kaydenpat

    Tear them all down. They shouldn’t have been up in the first place.

  • Joe Paulson

    https://twitter.com/cnni/status/897272960607825921

    [also, see the American First type candidate who runs against “The Farmer’s Daughter,” who in the end, the powers that be on the other side decide is beyond the pale.]

  • Take the fight straight to the heart of white supremacy.

    sure.

    but Durham NC is pretty far from the heart of white supremacy.

    and Christian Laettner was from Buffalo NY.

    • N__B

      Did they chant “Rah, Lee!” when they rallied in Raleigh?

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      “Durham NC is pretty far from the heart of white supremacy”

      Given the NC legislature’s recent attempts at racial gerrymandering, I’m not sure that’s accurate.

      • elections have consequences. if the left wants to sit home, as they did in 2010, they’re gonna get fucked in the polls.

        that’s true everywhere.

        • farin

          Until they don’t have consequences, like when a Democrat becomes governor.

          • those are the same consequences, actually. that GOP supermajority that gerrymandering got them makes it impossible for Cooper to do anything.

            maybe the left will get off the couch next year.

  • Dr. Waffle

    It should be replaced with a statue of George H. White, a true patriot:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Henry_White

    • Drew

      Fascinating. I never really learned that in high school, about the ultimate failure of reconstruction and how far things regressed in the next half century.

    • (((realinterrobang)))

      How about Walter Francis White, a nebbishy-lookin’ blonde-haired, blue-eyed legal Negro?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Francis_White

  • D. C. Sessions

    why do Confederate flags keep ending up under my muddy boots?

    I’d guess it’s because you wouldn’t wipe your ass with one?

    • CP

      And can you blame him? Our asses deserve better.

  • Dr. Waffle

    I’m so fucking tired of the “we need to honor the Confederate war dead” argument. Fuck the Confederate war dead. They had a choice, and they chose to fight for the losing, treasonous side.

    • Hypersphericalcow

      I agree with the sentiment, but most of the soldiers, both South and North, were draftees. They didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.

      • Dr. Waffle

        Tell that to the slaves who ran away and joined the Union. Despite having little-to-no resources and an entire apartheid state arrayed against them, they still made the right choice.

        • Hypersphericalcow

          That’s a fair point. Although honestly, if I were in that position, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to run.

          • Drew

            Easy to say from my vantage point, but society has the right to demand better.

            Reminds me of the dialogue between the two marines after they’re convicted at the end of A Few Good Men (I know Sorkin isn’t popular around here but bear with me). One of them says, essentially, they were just grunts, just following orders:

            What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong!

            Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves.

          • CP

            Maybe we don’t have to vilify them, but we sure as shit don’t need to “honor” them, either.

            I mean, I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m rereading Paxton’s book on Vichy France right now, and it’s a sobering reminder that most people did the wrong thing, and as much as I’d like to imagine that I’d have been in the Resistance, statistically if nothing else it’s far more likely that I’d have been in the go-along-and-keep-your-head-down crowd.

            But by the same token, if I had done that, I wouldn’t deserve a monument. The people who would deserve them are the people who had the balls and the good judgment to be in the unpopular at-risk minority of resistants.

      • It’s not the draftees who get statues, though.

        • wjts

          Not specific draftees, no*, but a lot of these monuments do honor Confederate soldiers, Confederate dead, or particular Confederate units/formations collectively.

          *So far as I know. Lee and other leaders obviously weren’t drafted.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Yes. I live in a town where the statue merely says “Our Confederate Dead”, with a statue of a regular soldier. Now, a mile to the southeast on a shady, quiet street is a historical marker for the site of a Confederate marching band… draftee or volunteer, I can’t get too upset about those guys.

            • Leigh Grossman

              Every Confederate state sent regiments north to join the Union army – plenty of people from the south were willing to fight against treason. I’d be grudgingly ok with keeping monuments that commemorate ALL the Civil War dead from a state, but not ones that only recognize the treasonous soldiers (draftees or not) and pretend the patriots never existed.

          • Chet Murthy

            I’m not a historian, but my understanding is, it’s not so common to vociferously commemorate Nazi dead in Germany. And that in Japan, the commemoration of WWII solider dead is …. fraught with controversy. Guess my point is, it’s not clear that just b/c they were draftees, they get a pass on having fought on the side of an immoral war.

            For a start, we might tear down every monument that went up more than 10yr after the end of hostilities. The reporting I’ve read, is that most of these pustules were implanted either at the start of Jim Crow (triumph) or of the civil rights era (defiance).

            • wjts

              No, I have no problem with taking down generic Confederate monuments.

            • D_J_H

              As a historian of modern Germany, I would say that’s broadly true about their commemoration of soldiers who died in WWII, though there are some nasty particularities. One of them is the myth of a “clean Wehrmacht,” as opposed to the various SS formations, which isn’t really true and remains at least somewhat controversial to point out. A lot of their war commemoration got shunted into supposedly innocent German victims of the war: the bombed-out, expellees, women raped by Red Army soldiers, and, lastly, POWs held by the Soviet Union and Eastern European long after the war.

              • CP

                though there are some nasty particularities. One of them is the myth of a “clean Wehrmacht,”

                This is one of my biggest pet peeves about Hollywood portrayals of World War Two, in fact.

                • D_J_H

                  Definitely. I find it really frustrating.

                • CP

                  The more I notice it, the more I appreciate “Hogan’s Heroes.” The only major piece of WW2 pop fiction I can think of that doesn’t indulge in this, and instead mercilessly ridicules Wehrmacht and SS alike.

                  It’s probably not an accident that the show was full of actors who either had personal experience living under fascism or were close to those who had, and suffered from a lot fewer delusions about the Good Germans.

                • D_J_H

                  Yeah, I think that mostly explains a lot of Hollywood portrayals, especially given that Americans know very little about the war on the eastern front (though, of course, the Wehrmacht perpetrated war crimes on the western front as well).

                  Aside from that and Cold War politics, I suspect that part of it also has to do with storytelling tropes so that the audience can identify with both sides, to raise the emotional stakes. There’s also an element of building up American soldiers by showing that they defeat both evil Nazis and hard-fighting, honorable regular soldiers, so they’ve got to build up the Wehrmacht to make the American heroes more impressive.

              • addicted4444

                For one thing Nazis as terrible as they were were not explicitly about breaking away from Germany. They were German and didn’t consider themselves otherwise. The Confederacy was explicitly anti USA and worse anti USA in defense of Slavery .

                And you can only draw an equivalence between modern German commemorations of the Nazi dead and American commemoration of the Confederate dead if the US also made confederate symbology illegal. So sure, commemorate the dead. But go to jail if you wave the Confederate flag while doing so.

              • Origami Isopod

                supposedly innocent

                women raped by Red Army soldiers

                Excuse me?

                • D_J_H

                  Thanks for pointing out the problem. The “supposedly innocent” was poor phrasing on my part. What I meant was that these groups all were identified in German memory of the war as innocent victims; that is, the “supposedly” was an admittedly poor way to signal that I am talking about representation. I don’t mean to imply that they were guilty of something that would make the sexual violence any less of a crime.

      • Dr. Acula

        I personally don’t care. Would you give a pass to people who were drafted into the Third Reich’s military?

        • JamesWimberley

          Kids?

          • Gator90

            I wouldn’t condemn kids who were drafted into Hitler’s army. But I don’t think they should be honored either. That would be insulting to the memories of a lot of other kids… I think you know the ones I mean.

          • busker type

            if you are honoring people conscripted into the war effort against their will, then depict them as victims, not as war heroes.

            • JamesWimberley

              Fine. Ratzinger took a lot of IMHO unfair criticism for joining the Hitlerjugend, which was compulsory for Aryans.

      • Drew

        I feel like there’s an excluded middle here. We don’t have to demonize or deify them.

      • Hmmm.

        Obviously, those dead are long dead. I’d guess the number of people who knew them personally was zero some 150 years out. So who is benefited by honoring them? Do any of those people merit that benefit?

        Honoring the dead can have healing and reconciliation benefits but it’s hard to argue this is the case this far out AND given how the honoring has been used.

        • Hypersphericalcow

          Oh, I agree that they shouldn’t be honored. I was trying to say that they shouldn’t necessarily be condemned, either. (Obviously Lee and Jackson and everyone else deserve opprobrium, but I was thinking about the grunts in the trenches.)

          • I’m pretty utilitarian about praise and opprobrium this far removed. I’m happy to condemn them if condemning them will help.

            Besides, was the confederate army mostly draftees? It seems not:

            Although most of the soldiers who fought in the American Civil War were volunteers, both sides by 1862 resorted to conscription, primarily as a means to force men to register and to volunteer. In the absence of exact records, estimates of the percentage of Confederate soldiers who were draftees are about double the 6 percent of Union soldiers who were conscripts.

            So 12%. Given that 40% of the population were slaves, I’m not too bothered. I’m certainly not going to regard non specific honoring to be mitigated because a small fraction of the soldiers are conscripts.

            How many confederate units treated captured blacks with minimal decency? (Genuinely curious.)

            • Hypersphericalcow

              I retract my statement, then. I should have checked that number before posting; I had assumed that both armies were mostly conscripts (maybe because the New York draft riots loomed large in my memory).

              As regards prisoners, given how the Confederates treated captured whites at Andersonville, I’m guessing that captured blacks fared far worse.

              • so-in-so

                Nobody treated POWs terribly well, but I don’t expect the South treated captured AA soldiers as POWs at all; more likely as escaped slaves.

        • Sure. There’s a big difference between forcing the dead to be in unmarked graves and saying no, we don’t need a statue of Lee on a horse.

  • Hypersphericalcow

    As I posted at Balloon Juice:

    That thing crumpled like a rag when it hit the ground. Not only was it a Confederate monument, it was a *crappy* confederate monument.

    • sigaba

      And as I said on BJ: Like American conservatism, it was designed to look good and stand up to weather, not for dynamic loads.

      • Hypersphericalcow

        It was as brittle as Donald Trump’s ego.

    • West_of_the_Cascades

      It crumpled like Hood’s left flank at the Battle of Nashville …

      • Helmut Monotreme

        I was going to say, like a chocolate easter bunny, but yours is better.

      • (((realinterrobang)))

        +1, Insightful

    • Helmut Monotreme

      Was it full of candy?

      • (((realinterrobang)))

        Can you imagine how stale that candy would be by now???

        • Helmut Monotreme

          Well, if they would have knocked that pinata down sooner…

    • JamesWimberley

      Googling around, I found a reference to an enterprising Ohio company (Mullins) that developed a cheap technique of pressing thin sheets of bronze in cast-iron moulds, then sintering the pieces together. This particular statue wasn’t mentioned, but the technique was a cost-saving Brummagem shortcut. The statues of Confederate soldiers were also standardised and semi-mass-produced.

      • Origami Isopod

        No wonder Drumpf’s so defensive of it.

      • rea

        In fact, copies of the same generic soldier statue were in some instances sold for both Union and Confederate monuments

  • Ash

    I cheered when I saw this on Twitter! With this, a thousand people showing up for a vigil in my new town and my sister (who now lives in VA) promising to punch Richard Spencer if she ever sees him, I’m feeling newly optimistic today.

  • Bruce Vail

    I have in laws that live down around Durham. The city of Durham is a race riot ready to happen. I wouldn’t be inciting anything like that, Erik.

  • sigaba

    His tears give me life:

    Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      I think my favorite Twitter Trump fact is that he tweeted about the Robert Pattinson / Kristen Stewart breakup like 25 times and he has tweeted about his daughter Tiffany like three times ever.

    • Dr. Acula

      Nice to see that Trump sees the “News Media” as the real enemy.

    • mattmcirvin

      As usual, his main concern in all this is whether he is being treated fairly.

    • “Truly bad people” for Trump are those who accurately report and those who appropriately respond to his coded approval of domestic terrorists for white supremecy, not those terrorists themselves.

      Not surprising, but telling. Not that we needed more telling.

  • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

    I know of one ancestor who fought for the Confederacy. The way I Iook at it, he is canceled out by the ancestor of both of us who served in the Continental Army in the AR. I don’t know who cancels out the slaveholders. Maybe I can cancel out one of them. And my uncles who fought the Nazis might count, also.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      The Continental Army fought pirates? Kewl!

    • billcinsd

      The only even close to an ancestor that I know of that served in the Civil War was my great, great grandmother’s second husband. He enlisted early and kicked the Army of Tennessee’s ass from Shiloh to Stone’s River, and eventually Nashville with a stop in Vicksburg. He enlisted as a private in the 51st Illinois and mustered out as a second lieutenant in the 12th US Colored Infantry. I also had an ancestor who died as a POW in the Revolution, so Trump wouldn’t have liked him, but mostly my family avoided fighting in the wars

    • But the absurd thing is that there’s no shame in having Confederate or Nazi ancestors! We don’t chose our parents or ancestry – the shame is if we, because of that ancestry, ignore that part of their lives entirely or valorize them.

  • Dr. Waffle

    “Those kids who torn down that monument are criminals!”*

    *doesn’t realize that those monuments honor the biggest criminal act in American history*

  • burnspbesq

    The pointless trashing of Laettner makes you look even dumber and more petty than you actually are.

    • Erik Loomis

      I don’t know. I’m pretty dumb.

      • petesh

        Upvoted for making me giggle

      • Dr. Acula

        Drive-by stupid insults are the best insults, amirite?

      • N__B

        On a scale of Tom to Lori, how petty are you?

        • Hogan

          I’d say he’s about a Richard.

          • N__B

            I can picture – with some difficulty – Loomis humming along with “American Girl;” I can picture – with some greater difficulty – Loomis watching Tank Girl. I cannot picture Loomis watching, for fun, men drive in circles.

            • Hogan

              I figured he’s be doing the driving. But then he’s more a demolition derby type, isn’t he?

            • Aaron Morrow

              I don’t know, Loomis might be a Kit Keller fan.

      • Drew

        But surely you’re a second-rate historian by now?

      • BaronvonRaschke

        I am with you brother. If anything, you were too kind. There is very little the residents of Durham can do to make up for the evil that is the Duke basketball program and Christian Laettner. Sadly, even removing the statues falls short. As a man once said, if Trump Univeristy had a basketball team it would be the Duke Blue Devils, and it would be coached by Coach K.

    • Dr. Waffle

      Laettner sucks.

      • BaronvonRaschke

        He sucks donkeys.

    • stepped pyramids

      Almost as dumb as thinking Scalia would vote to uphold the ACA, right?

    • DrS

      “Christian Laettner was a stand up guy” – Aminu Timberlake, probably.

  • nick056

    In 1898, Wilmington, NC was the site of a particularly brutal massacre of the local black population by whites enraged at an editorial by Alexander Manly, who ran the sole black newspaper in the state, that accused white men of raping black women and white women of lusting after black men. Local whites had just recently “redeemed” the city through force, and, pushed over the edge, they rioted.

    Dozens of people were killed, perhaps as many as 60. Many black residents — often propertied — fled permanently. The sole remaining black member of the state legislator left the state, saying he could no longer live in North Carolina and be a man. The leader of the mob, Alfred Caddell, was installed as the new mayor of Wilmington. Waddell received the following advice from a woman, Rebecca Cameron, before leading the mob: “there is a time to kill … let it be buckshot and let it be at close range.” Two years after the riot, blacks lost the franchise altogether in North Carolina.

    Waddell’s wife, Gabrielle, worked with the state United Daughters of the Confederacy. She once wrote a long letter circa 1906, available digitally, extolling the virtues of confederate soldiers and advocating for confederate monuments in North Carolina in familiar terms. (In the letter, she also describes the union army as not merely consisting of a million Americans, but besides, having more “foreigners and negroes” than the whole confederate army had men.) She died in 1936, so she was alive when this Durham monument went up in 1924 in her home state. Doubtless she was pleased. In her letter, she said she wanted stones and monuments across the entire South to honor the fallen confederate.

    To reiterate: the monument torn down today received support and advocacy from the wife of a man who became mayor of a majority-black city by means of a murderous riot launched to defend the virtue of white women from the accusation that they had any lust for black men. The very same woman who regarded USCT as, of course, not American, and in fact part of an invading army.

    Seriously. This needed to come down the day it was erected. Who cares if we don’t politely discuss it first? Polite people didn’t put it there. Murderers and their complicit wives put it there as part of a legacy of violence and intimidation.

    • Drew

      Holy shit. Didn’t learn that in high school. Do you know of a good book on the subject?

      • epidemiologist

        I can’t remember if this specific incident is discussed, but the period and other events like it are covered in “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi. Great book.

      • Bruce Vail

        In 2000, the North Carolina General Assembly established the 13-member 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission to develop a historical record of the event and to assess the economic impact of the riot on blacks locally and across the region and state….The Commission studied the riot for nearly six years, and produced a report after hearing from numerous sources and scholars….The Commission’s history by LeRae Umfleet was published in 2006.

        1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission. 2006. Final Report. http://www.history.ncdcr.gov/1898-wrrc/report/report.htm

  • Ryan Denniston

    I think we can all unite around the cause for removal of the symbols of traitors in the past. You’re free to screw yourself and your unrelated hatred of Lattner and/or Duke.

    • The whiny defensiveness of Duke fans is always hilarious.

      • Ryan Denniston

        As opposed to the whiny offensiveness of Duke haters? At least we can all agree to loathe ketchup!

        • Erik Loomis

          Look, at least Stephen Miller is rooting with you for Duke!

          • billcinsd

            Richard Spencer, too

        • I never considered calling someone out for their racist bullshit ‘whiny offensiveness’ but whatever.

    • Origami Isopod

      Because the important thing here is the fee-fees of sports fans who overidentify with their teams.

  • e.a. foster

    Germany banned Nazi symbols, etc. There is no reason a city, state, or other country couldn’t do the same. its not like its a symbol of life. its the ultimate symbol of hate and death. who needs it. its a sign of terrorism.

    • bender

      Germany doesn’t have the First Amendment in its constitution. In this country, the authority of governments to censor speech on the basis of content is more limited.

      • TJ

        What part of the Constitution requires a city, county, state or the federal government to maintain monuments?

        • Adam King

          Recently-passed North Carolina law does just that, preventing municipalities from taking down racist Jim Crow monuments erected in the 1920s.

          • TJ

            Fortunately, it wasn’t a municipality that removed this monument. Does the law require them to put it back up?

          • addicted4444

            Not part of the Constitution. And the facttthat they are passing these laws thwthe 21st century reinforces the need to remove statues valorizing traitors.

          • gocart mozart

            Another example of conservatives contempt for local control

    • Joe Paulson

      Yes, there is a reason — the First Amendment.

      If you mean they can choose not to have official statues, yes, they have the discretion to decide what sort of things to endorse.

  • JamesWimberley

    Are any of these statues any good as works of art? It’s a relevant consideration, and can argue for removal rather than destruction. Some of the monumental statuary commissioned by fascist and communist regimes alike in the 1930s (up to the 50s in the USSR) was quite competent.

    • BadExampleMan

      I think the crumpled remains of the Durham statue are more a work of art than when it was upright on its pedestal.

      • so-in-so

        “I title this piece ‘All Racists Should Be Thus'”

        • Amadan

          I think ‘Sic semper tyrannis’ has a nice historical ring to it

        • Amadan

          … or how about simply ‘Erected 1924. Improved 2017’

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Amen amen amen. I do hope that it is preserved in a museum. But this should only be reserved for a few pieces — the rest can be melted down or thrown in a landfill.

    • Since you’ve brought up the confluence of the Police Action Against Treason In Defense Of Slaver (PATTIDOS) and art, I’ve got a question. A man I knew who died in 2004 had planned his funerals (one in Manhattan, for bigwigs; the other in Little Compton, Rhode Island, for his family and friends, which I attended) to the smallest detail. In particular, for (at least) the latter, he had specified that the recessional would consist of the congregation singing all the words of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, so timed that we would complete the last chorus as the last of us straggled out the door into the sunshine. A couple of days ago I found the words and music that he’d had handed out to us all. I was struck again, as I had been struck then, by the penultimate line of the last, very rarely sung, verse: “The world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong his slave”. So here’s my question: WTF, Ms. Howe?

      It’s a rousing song (mostly but not solely because of its tune) and I often enjoy singing the better known verses despite their muscular Xianity (usually modifying the “beauty of the lilies” verse to end “if He died to make men holy, should we kill to set them free? War makes no sense to me!”—not applicable to PATTIDOS, but certainly to many since then in support of which Ms. Howe’s anthem has been conscripted). But where did the footstool/slave imagery come from? Some psalm that I’ve been fortunate enough to steer clear of? Mid-19th-century bondage literature? Where? And why?

      • More likely the bondage literature derives from the religious imagery (and the preaching and life experiences that led writers and artists to imagine it).

      • Hogan

        I’ve heard (and sung) “As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free.” But that’s not much of a battle hymn.

        • JamesWimberley

          The original version ran “let us die to make men free*, and was later changed to “live” (Wikipedia).

      • JamesWimberley

        One thing about the godly is that they have populated the Internet. I found an online concordance with no trouble that led me to Psalm 101, v.1, KJV:
        “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
        It’s picked up in six places in the New Testament, so the reference was well known. As far as I can see the slave bit is Howe’s imaginative addition.

        • Hogan

          “Pongo,” said Lord Ickenham, “is in terrific form. He bestrides the world like a Colossus It would not be too much to say that Moab is his washpot and over what’s-its-name has he cast his shoe.”

    • chethardy

      Yeah, some are better than others, that’s for sure. I agree it should inform our choice. The Robert E.Lee statue in New Orleans was highly mediocre.

    • It’s a valid consideration maybe in some cases. But as a civilization we tend to be hoarders. It would be nice to have some of the art and important monuments lost to history, but do we need a national commission to sort out the good ones and place them in good home with museums? I don’t think so.

      (How are people even adding comments on the 500-comment threads? I can barely keep the page open long enough to read all the comments, let alone the weird, possibly timing related, autocorrect problems I don’t think I’m having elsewhere.)

    • sharculese

      Town I went to college in had a monument in the center of town to the Confederate war dead. Big column with names on plaques, really indistinguishable from something you’d see in the middle of a small town in France, as long as you ignore who it was honoring.

    • The bas-relief carving on Stone Mountain is a decent piece of art.

      Tourists often marvel at the quality of the work, even if they can’t name the people depicted (Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.) I’ve heard out-of-staters ask one another who these people are. A commonly heard guess is that one of them is Lincoln…

  • Bruce Vail

    Antietam?

    My son’s great great great grandfather Ward (mother’s side) fought at the battle. His regiment, the Third North Carolina State Troops, started the day just south of the Mumma farm. Men from his regiment torched the farmhouse, crossed the Smoketown Road, and moved into the southern end of Miller’s Cornfield (“The Cornfield”). They clashed with elements of the Union’s 12th Corps, notably the 128th Pennsylvania. The carnage was terrible. About 50 percent of the 3rd NC was killed or wounded. The whole brigade was badly shot up and they were ordered west across the Hagerstown Pike, where they rested near the Dunker Church and waited nervously as the battle raged across different parts of the field.

    One of the more poignant relics on display at the park’s little museum is hand-made wooden grave marker for Lt. Speight, also from the 3rd.

  • CP

    Also, from my trip to Antietam this spring, why do Confederate flags keep ending up under my muddy boots?

    I wouldn’t complain. Other than a fireplace, “under someone’s muddy boots” is the only appropriate place for Confederate flags.

    • FMguru

      The judges would have also accepted “soaking up piss at the bottom of a urinal trough” as an answer.

      • TJ

        I was just thinking “is that really mud?”

        • creature

          My first thought, too.

    • rea

      In a museum, with a plaque, “Captured at Gettysburg”

  • one of the blue

    [link=https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/14/confederate-flags-and-nazi-swastikas-together-thats-new-heres-what-iteceece-means/?utm_term=.f92ab8aedfca&wpisrc=nl_politics-draw6&wpmm=1]This[/link] is a pretty important piece. Katznelson’s book about the limits imposed by southern racists on the reach of the New Deal has good material on the issue as well.

  • Yestobesure

    From wsj… “Why do all these racists keep defending my statues?”

    In Fight Over Confederate Symbols, Some Backers Feel New Unease
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-fight-over-confederate-symbols-some-backers-feel-new-unease-1502726503

    • Seriously?… How is it possible to be that dense without collapsing into a black hole.

  • DN Nation

    Man, that thing folded like Duke hoops did in the second round last tournament, amiright.

    • JKTH

      That was a glorious game.

  • janitor_of_lunacy

    I think that this statue, at least, would have been ripe for leaving in place but contextualizing. Maybe change the inscription to “In memory of the boys who wore the gray, led off to war in defense of treason by manipulative and corrupt politicians and a slave-owning class who held the reprehensible view that human bondage was the natural order of things. May their vain sacrifice, and the nobility of those who refused the call to arms, serve as a warning, and an example respectively, against serving following evil men into arms.” Or something of that ilk.

    • Joe Paulson

      To riff a bit on the general theme …

      The website explains: “An armed and uniformed soldier stands atop a granite tower adorned with the Confederate seal. On the base of the monument are four stone cannon balls and two lighted lamps. In total the monument stands approximately fifteen feet high.”

      And: IN MEMORY OF / “THE BOYS WHO / WORE THE GRAY”

      I do think there is a way to change the context of these things at times & also add to them such as explain it was in the promotion of treason or put up statues of loyal Southerners like George Thomas but having a solo statue honoring the Confederate veterans in front of a courthouse, which enforces the law of the United States is dubious.

      It’s b.s. how this is supposed to be honoring “Southern heritage” when so many of the statues are in place to honor a five year period. It’s something like using the Ten Commandments to honor “American law” or something.

  • N__B

    Because I’m in a foul mood, I’m going to dump on someone I don’t know. This ignoramus showed up in my LinkedIn feed today. HRC was too nice: these people aren’t deplorable. They’re scum. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6302886751732015104

    • CP

      Here is a thought, “How can one teach and learn history of prior mistakes if there is no evidence Depicting said issue of noted past history” ?

      By telling people what happened in fucking history class, at museums, and the like, even after you’ve torn down the monuments honoring them? This isn’t complicated. I’ve never seen a statue in Hitler’s honor, but I still know who the fuck he is.

      • N__B

        Just about every sentence contains a lie, racial insult, or general stupidity. Take your pick on which one to respond to.

    • Origami Isopod

      JFC, this guy wants to go into teaching, too.

      • N__B

        I find it hard to believe anyone’s gonna want an old guy with the personality of an inflamed cyst as a newbie teacher.

        • Origami Isopod

          Oh, I have no problem seeing him getting a job in some xtian academy or other.

    • I’m sure we can find enough volunteers to take care of them pro bono.

  • JamesWimberley

    I went to Nuremberg for a conference once. The railway station for a compact city of 500,000 has a crazy 16 platforms IIRC, built to accommodate the Nazi party faithful coming for the rallies. The surviving Nazi monuments, unlike the camps, were built to last, some faced with granite courtesy of Soviet and other slave labourers at Mauthausen, and pose a pretty conservation problem. The Reichshalle (a sort of covered Coliseum) is used to store the municipal garbage trucks: a developer’s plan to convert it into luxury flats was rightly turned down. A small museum has been built in a deliberately opposing style, a steel and glass shard transfixing the stone walls. My takeaway memory is of a photo of Hitler driving through the narrow streets of old Nuremberg in an open car, six feet from the adoring crowds, with no security. He was really popular till 1941.

  • BaronvonRaschke

    In no way, shape or form does this make up for anything or anyone related to Duke basketball

  • N__B

    Upon further reflection, I propose leaving the horses of the mounted statues. Remove the traitors and the plaques. I like horses and see no reason not to have random statues of them around our cities and towns.

  • deirdre

    Rod fucking Dreher has a sad about the confederate statue and the wicked lefty mob that is busy violating his ontological teleology.

    https://twitter.com/roddreher/status/897465319467438081

    • It’s telling that he didn’t make the obvious, direct analogy to a white mob tearing down a statue of MLK–that would have given away the false equivalence game. Coward.

  • deirdre
    • Weird that these guys spend decades lamenting “moral relativism” and then produce this take.

      See fact: Confereates bad; choice good. There, problem solved.

  • deirdre
  • deirdre
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