Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wyman Park Dell: Gloria Victis

James, I was surprised by how this series that you and Mescaline Franklin made affected me.  I have never had any more than an average interest in the Civil War.  I felt affronted by the mobs and motions to desecrate Civil War monuments mostly on aesthetic grounds, and of course, an instinctual aversion to smelly antifa mobs and whatever it is they say they want.

As the videos unfolded, I could see that you played the part of a latter day Plato, walking the grounds with your acolyte as you reached back into Plato's own era to reveal the meaning carved into the very landscape you trod.

You had covered this ground before, in the piece your wrote for Counter Currents in February of last year, Iron and Paint.  Readers should view that article for your careful descriptions of the statuary and to contrast the images of the park in winter with the summertime videos.  Lee and Jackson appear in deep shade in mid summer, and wrapped in the skeletal fingers of leafless trees on a misty winter's day.  You give the following caution, which is the strongest argument against dismantling these monuments, and which you have ably demonstrated in the video series:

One must be careful not to isolate individual works of art that comprise larger municipal monuments, as these entire parks are often integrated metaphoric schemes, which were conceived in the context of a general education that no longer exists.
You go on to describe the bond between Jackson and Lee and the significance of that bond to the composition of the monument.  The piece is a perfect companion to the video series, and all viewers are strongly encouraged to read it, and the accompanying piece posted on your main site.  I will not recapitulate them here.

James, of all the lurid video related to the events in Charlottesville and other antifa-attended riots, the one that disturbed me the most was of a mob in Durham toppling and then beating a Confederate statue as though it were a detested criminal caught in the midst of a vile act.  The two inscriptions briefly visible in the video state "DEDICATED MAY 10, 1924," and "IN MEMORY OF THE BOYS WHO WORE THE GRAY."  As noted with respect to the Lee Jackson monument, there is no mention of slavery, no mention of the Confederacy.

That this level of opprobrium could be summoned by a group so far removed from the original conflict suggests to me that this group, bravely attacking an inanimate object made in the form of a long vanquished enemy, is unrelated to either the Union or the Confederate side of the Civil War.  These Civil War monuments were created by the victors, or by the defeated under the grace and sanction of the victors, as tokens of reconciliation.  They are now being destroyed by an entirely different group, a third party which has conquered the victors of the Civil War and is intent on humiliating the defeated side of that war and, in a way, erasing the victorious side so that they can take its place.  It is as though a second civil war has already ended, and the conquerors are already busy rewriting the history books, just as pretenders have done since the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt altered the hieroglyphs describing their defeated rivals, and through the 20th century, when Mao directed university students to destroy ancient Chinese treasures in the name of continuous revolution.

Today's university students are tasked with destroying any legacy of white heterosexual men and they are well on their gleeful way.


Lynn, thank you.

Don't expect me to top that.  I will add that the statues of Confederate men of old have committed a terrible crime:

They, by being, suggest that things were not as simple in the past as they are now, that there was a time in this country when mankind was not strictly divided, as it is today, into a small free-speaking group of evil dissenters arrayed against a vast monolithic society of goodness and perfection, but that once upon a time, where now blooms the Garden of Secular Eden, forces beyond the ken of men placed them--good and evil both--at odds, side-by-side and face-to-face, forcing them into hellish warfare in which a young evil strove against an elder evil, one in the name of tradition and the other in the name of progress, both with the same undying animus, to snuff out the human soul.

View the entire 10 part video series at the Wyman Park Dell playlist at my YouTube channel, and use the Wyman Park Dell tag to see all the related blog posts.

(c) 2017 Mescaline Franklin, James LaFond & Lynn Lockhart

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