Finished a book out on the gazebo while the sun set and the sprinkler made its lazy waves. I could say the sprinkler lazily waved, but I dislike adverbs intensely. could have said the sprinkler moved in lazy waves, but the triple long-a sounds was pleasing. Could have left out the sprinkler entirely, but it’s part of the picture - the patter of the water on the metal roof is one of those summer sounds I always forget. Which reminds me: haven’t heard the first cicada yet. Every year I note when I hear the first. Never note the day before, when I haven’t.
Why, that’ll change this year! Intent on cicada-absence now, I am.
Ordinary day, without an office trip. Too much to do to go to the office, and besides, no one should go to the office. The OFFICE IS DEATH. Went to Target, and for the first time since this all began noticed that everything, and I mean everything, was stocked in the usual profusion. The rice and soup and pasta aisles, thin for months, were arrayed with the usual quantities. The aisles were fill of shoppers; everyone wearing masks, of course, because something something plague whatever not really but who knows. Rotaria went to a lake today and reported the beaches were packed. Was the ban lifted? Does anyone know? Even if it wasn't, no one follows the rules on outdoor things anymore.
See also prohibition, speakeasies, bootleg trade, attitudinal shift towards casual disregard for certain laws
Anyway. I don’t think most people ascribe anything to masks anymore. It’s the equivalent of wearing pants. I can’t go to Target just in my underwear! I have to put on pants.
You might say that the masks are for other people, to reassure them that you Get It, and you subscribe to the social compact, but you could say the same thing about pants.
Meat was better. Meat was cheaper. Toilet paper aisle was still at 50%, though - the 12-packs of the good stuff were gone by 2 PM, but the four-packs were plentiful. Evidence that the TP Panic of March 2020 made a deep impression on people, and it’s 12-packs from here on.
Yes, I know this Target intimately. I’ve been coming here for a very long time. I was a patron of the Target that stood on this spot before they tore the Target down to build this one. Every time I go a wisp of a memory floats through my head - heading back to the car, Gnat in the seat, beaming, holding her Hello Kitty umbrella against the rain.
Wednesday morning at 9:45 she starts employee training at this very Target.
I know this was last week's news, but there's a reason I bank these things. Stuff happens, and we zero in on that. We forget the previous week's developments - the issues, the players, the arguments or lack thereof. So:
I have no particular love for Columbus. He was a man of his times. There are a lot of people more relevant to Minnesota who deserve a statue. Lots. Trouble is, they’re not perfect. Problem is, they were men of their times, too.
The protestors - whoever they are today, however they’re defined - rolled up to the State Capitol last week and took down the statue of Columbus while the State Patrol watched.
Here’s the part I find more dismaying:
As America’s only full-time professor of art crime, I study the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage through looting, theft, and the deliberate destruction of art.
I have discussed art crime topics in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and the Freakonomics podcast, among other publications, and have been invited to lecture at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Columbia, as well as many other venues. My book, Possession (Yale, 2016) explores the history of the private collecting of Greek and Roman antiquities; NPR said that it “realigns our own sensibilities about art" and named it a Best Book of 2016. Currently, I am researching the ways in which terrorist groups both sell and destroy art to support their genocidal campaigns, as well as the legalities and ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage.
My sensibilities were not realigned in 2016, so I missed that one. I looked through her work and found something that said museums have only themselves to blame if terrorists blow them up:
Terrorism and violent attacks on museums are not the right solution to these issues, but
Yes, the fulcrum of the but; everything afterwards negates the part she disavowed.
. . . museums should openly consider why they are often targets of anger and violence by groups that are marginalized in society. Museums have spent centuries setting themselves up as symbols of oppressive, colonialist relations with minority groups, particularly since they were often the storehouses of looted and questionably bought items from distant corners of various Western empires.
Their intellectual leadership (curators, directors, and educators) remain overwhelmingly white and, in comparison to the rest of society, quite homogenous. It is no surprise that there are growing movements to protest the racism and Eurocentrism ingrained in many museums, and to repatriate objects stolen under colonialism.
Fine. Send them all back. Empty the Western museums of everything except Western art, which was not accumulated by colonialism. Make sure that only Western art and values and aesthetics are contained in Western museum - and then excoriate the places for their relatively monocultural collections.
Does two female art academics giving advice on monument destruction constitute a trend? Yes, I know, Daily Fail, but:
Madeline Odent, the privately schooled curator of Royston Museum in Hertfordshire, sent an inflammatory series of tweets last night to her 5,164 followers, which was then shared thousands of times.
In the posts, the American-born banker's wife revealed how to dissolve bronze statues, saying that the damage would be 'irreversible' and 'practically impossible to stop'. She then hinted that her next target was Winston Churchill's plinth in London.
From the story:
Mrs Odent was unrepentant, taunting her critics online. In response to members of the public contacting the museum on Twitter, she wrote: 'a) my boss thinks I'm funny, b) she also supports BLM, and c) I'm the one reading [your direct messages].'
She also claimed that she had negotiated a contract with her employer that allowed her to 'decolonise and diversify' the museum, and that her boss had given her a 'safe platform' that she would use to 'p*** off some racists'.
Her fans had suggestions:
If you do want to tear down an obelisk, another Academic has some advice, culminating in this - best read from bottom to top.
How coy. It's possible she doesn't really think the Washington Monument should be toppled, in which case her committment to the cause can be questioned. (The first wave of the revolution is useful for identifying the people who have to be stuffed in the tumbrel for the second phase.) She might even think it's funny that someone would want her expelled because she didn't want the Washington Monument toppled. If it was, she'd probably give us a lecture about the colonialism inherent in the craze for Egyptian obelisks, and find it all a teachable moment.
Historians, detached from history.
Cultural guardians, detached from their culture.
Nothing to defend but the need to defend nothing.
Like I said, I've no love for Columbus, but once Toppling Chic is a thing, as they say, the chains come for anyone on a plinth. It's not so much who they are, as who put them up there. The Past People. The wrong ones.
Update: remember when magazines like Popular Mechanics were about making things?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, except: rah! Rah! Rah! Civic pride!
She was a monster. And absolutely undistinguished, architecturally. Almost little decoration, solid massing. Another example of 1920s hotels, and they all followed this pattern, more or less.
A monument to the Civic Spirit of Minneapolis!
Folks love their numbers:
It truly was - they sold subscriptions to the common people, and folks snapped them up.
Spaces like these do not look “modern” at all. It looks like something out of the industrial revolution, and you know it was hot as hell down there.
That’s the second mention of “sanitation,” which was a watchword at the time: you won’t catch disease here! And that’s our promise. That said, you might catch disease, but it won’t be from the sheets or peanut butter.
The room of President Coolidge and Babe Ruth!
If they ever stay here, that is.
“The bed is put away in a closet.” So the best room in the house has a Murphy bed?
Ah yes, Witt’s. Their building still stands, and you can see it here. More on the hotel here as well. The newspaper section was full of ads from local firms happy to tell you what they’d done for this marvelous moment in civic history.
A new building is rising on the spot now, and when it’s opened, the papers might do a story, but nothing like this.
There you go - see you tomorrow!