American Elephants


A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury… by The Elephant's Child

Is there some kind of cause here? The media has lots of stirring film of demonstrations and protests in Portland and Seattle to tuck away for the next appropriate moment. Does it mean anything? The police officer who had his knee on George Floyd’s neck has been charged with murder, and will face the courts.

This has all evolved into an extended accusation that America is the most racist nation in the world, and according to some should be completely transformed into something more appropriate. The protesters have accomplished nothing much other than tearing down or destroying some statues, damaging a lot of businesses and buildings, racking up millions of dollars in damage, attempting to refight the Civil War, and abolish anything reminiscent of the Confederacy. They seem to have had a good time breaking windows, looting, and trying to set buildings on fire.

Has it all accomplished anything at all? Certainly individuals, businesses and governmental entities are rushing to prove how opposed to racism they are and to make gestures of one sort or another to demonstrate their sincerity. Have we gone through some noble kind of societal transformation with all the rioting and shouting and attempts to demonstrate what? President Trump indicated that he believed it was the business of the federal government to maintain some kind of order in such circumstances. The Secretary of Homeland Security acknowledged that to be the task of his department, and sent in federal officers to restore order, since the mayors and governors could not manage to do anything useful whatsoever.

Democrats erupted in outrage, talking about Trump’s “Storm Troopers”, and tried to portray it as authoritarian and tyrannical, and the worst thing any president has ever done. There is an election coming up this fall, and Democrats are getting desperate. Their candidate keeps forgetting what he is trying to say and having senior moments.

What has been accomplished? Statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, an Elk,  the Virgin Mary, and Jesus have all been torn down, attacked or damaged. Military bases named after Confederate Generals long ago will apparently have their names changed, confusing all the military veterans who trained there.

Colleges have removed their statues and are changing names where appropriate. Sports teams across the country are changing their names and logos, stadium names, and uniforms, with particular reference to those names referring to Native Americans, although our Native Americans didn’t seem to be demanding any change. Millions of dollars in damages. Many small businesses destroyed, Some woman who has always wanted, apparently, to expose herself in public stripped and sat on the pavement in front of the approaching police forces, spread legs and all, but what she accomplished or what happened to her has not as far as I know, been reported.

I don’t see that all this smoke and fury has accomplished much of anything at all. We should perhaps start charging would-be protesters a hefty fee to be allowed to demonstrate. It might help to pay for all the damage they have done. I’m sure it seems as if it will be exciting to tear down statues, break windows and set things on fire. Do they assume that in future years they will tell their kids or grandkids about what they did back in 2020?

 



The Western World Has Gone Stark Raving Mad. by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

Here’s the box they built around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain. Police also protected the cenotaph, and protesters bravely threw some statues into the River Thames.

In Whittier, California, BLM protesters defaced a statue of John Greenleaf. Who is he?  He was a prominent Quaker abolitionist, known for his anti-slavery writings.  A picture shows the usual graffiti. Sometimes, it seems, we get a little over-excited about attacking statues. Of course, unlike attacking real people, statues just sit there and behave like the inanimate objects they are, and there’s no fuss unless the police catch you at it, and even then it depends on what the local rules are about attacking statues. It is entirely about the symbolism, and attacking a king symbolically ranks a little higher than a symbolic mere member of Parliament, for example.

Of course in America we went for bigger targets than mere statues (which were attacked as well) but that can’t compare to HBO blacklisting Gone With the Wind. Good Grief! Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Hattie McDaniels, who is black, won the first Oscar ever given to a person of another race. It was well deserved, but there’s the rub. She played the role of Mammy, a slave.

Well, never mind Oscars, the outrage was furious. Banning Gone With the Wind!  America’s favorite movie of all time. What happened immediately was that everybody went out and bought a copy for their own, and just think through the economics of that little stunt, and how it would reverberate down through the years. I can even quote you the opening lines of the book: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm, as the Tarelton twins were.”

HBO decided that unbanning Gone With the Wind was probably the better idea, but because of George Floyd and all, they hired  Black scholar and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart. She is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.  Cinema and Media Studies is a major at the University of Chicago? It has not been yet announced just when GWTW and Scarlett and Brett will return to streaming services. Jacqueline Stewart will provide an introduction to the movie, so you understand the correct viewpoint. This is a very odd time, we can’t seem to decide whether we can allow history to remain unchanged, or if we have to have a do-over that we like better. Historically, we do recognize that the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and on April 15, President Lincoln issued a public declaration than an insurrection existed and called for 75,000 militia to stop the rebellion.  It ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S, Grant at the Appomattox Court House, with a remarkable lot of history in between those two dates. If you are unfamiliar with the Civil War, study up! You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a guide to books on the war.

You might want to look up the Emancipation Proclamation.

Race has come up as a major subject in the international outrage over the death of George Floyd. Statues are being destroyed in this country, in Britain, Australia, Scotland–Robert the Bruce, the Scottish King who freed Scotland from England’s clutches, and who knows where else, which accomplishes nothing at all, but expresses varying degrees of outrage over varying subjects. The Civil War in general, any generals who fought for the South,  anything named for a general who fought for the South, that sort of thing.  Fort Bragg and Fort Benning are especially mentioned as needing to be renamed immediately to appease the anger about race.  Quick, can you tell me where Fort Bragg is, and who it is named for? Didn’t think so. How about Fort Benning — location, named for? If we are going to be outraged and change names, shouldn’t we know what we are talking about, and how it relates to, for example, “CHAZ” or “CHOP” as it is now, on six blocks of Capitol Hill in Seattle? And what does that have to do with putting a box around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain?

What seemed to happen to George Floyd was clearly an outrage, but what actually happened was not as it seemed. The call to police about Floyd was that he was trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. We never learned if it was counterfeit or not. There must have been some kind of resisting arrest going on for him to end up on the ground with an officer holding him down with his knee.

Floyd was a very large man who worked as security in a night club, a “bouncer” as they are called, as did the police officer, and they apparently worked at the same establishment. The cause of death is unclear. Yes, he was saying “I can’t breathe” but before the choke hold as well. He was apparently high on fentanyl. The autopsies (there were two) also mentioned a heart attack, and another fatal condition. The officer has been charged with murder, but in the middle of international outrage. I have no idea. It just sounds like it is a lot more complicated than we were led to believe. The outrage over what was seen on film was huge. The emotion stirred up was huge and has led to all the rest.

Hopefully, enough information will eventually come out to clarify the whole thing. Why it has led to the destruction of Columbus statues, names of anything connected to the South in the Civil War, remains unknown. Aunt Jemima syrup has changed its name and picture. Kellogg’s Rice Crispies has been attacked for Snap, Crackle and Pop who seem to be three white boys. The same white boys are on the Cocoa Crispies box, although the cereal is brown.  In other words, a big section of America has become certifiable. A City Councilman in Charlotte, SC has declared that it is time to proclaim that racism is a public health crisis. The worst reaction is the call to defund the police. which is beyond stupid. Unfortunately it has all been exacerbated by the CORONA-19 turmoil and societal shutdown and all the chaos that has caused. Emotions were already stirred up by people locked down.

This too shall pass.  From the Federalist: “Why White People Will Always Be Racists: Whites are continually put into the position of forever having to prove the negative, that they’re not racists. This is impossible. And that’s the point.”




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