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How do you feel about historical monuments?

Lark

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How do you feel about historical monuments?

I started thinking about this today as I was watching a YouTube about massive concrete monuments erected during the cold war by nationalistic communist regimes, the snarky youtuber was looking at this huge 40 million project which is now derelict in Bulgaria, I've seen stuff like this on my travels and read about other stuff and been interested in a lot of things "left over" from earlier eras, forgotten or (like the Bulgarian example) in living memory.

It got me wondering what peoples views are about such things, I know in the Bulgarian example that some fierce opposition exists to restoring that site because of enmity about the communist regime, while others want to restore it as its become very popular with tourists and online searches. It could certainly be a huge revenue stream for a not to wealthy country.

On the other hand, I totally understand that they do not want the site to become some kind of perverse pilgrimage site for extremists of one variety or another. I know this is part of the reason that Germany has done work to erase reference to Hitler and the nazis from public buildings or sites. There's also the conflict about the Aushwitz (spelling) site, do you preserve it for posterity or let it sink into the ground (slow moving earth fasts are sucking the site into the ground, interestingly this links with a number of old testament and new testament myths about cursed sites).

A lot of history is contested and horrific but at the same time I think its worth keeping it in mind, it happened, it could happen again. Anyway, what do you think?

On a smaller scale the agitation about tearing down versus preserving statues is something like this, in my part of the world maybe the disputes about flags is something like it too. For my own part I dont worry much about these kind of symbolic struggles or culture wars these days, maybe when I was a teenager but that was dumb, symbolic stuff had little real bearing on "the thing itself", or so I've decided.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Historical monuments aren't important.

What is important is manners and ways of comportment. Dost thou behave as a gentlemen, or dost thought act as uneducated swine? One must always surround oneself with an aura of decorum and dignity, and preserving the proper forms of conduct. Otherwise we would sink into mere barbarity like a band of uncouth Scotsmen.
 

Lark

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Historical monuments aren't important.

What is important is manners and ways of comportment. Dost thou behave as a gentlemen, or dost thought act as uneducated swine? One must always surround oneself with an aura of decorum and dignity, and preserving the proper forms of conduct. Otherwise we would sink into mere barbarity like a band of uncouth Scotsman.

Dude are you steampunk cosplaying?
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Dude are you steampunk cosplaying?

I hadst seen the former Chief of State on TV saying about Russia, "So what, we have killers too!" and I was so distraught I lay prone upon my fainting couch for nigh a fortnight.

The idea is to imitate prissy Victorian manners. I saw you mention how you weren't interested in debates about symbolic things, and I thought... what is more symbolic than monuments? Manners! And a lot of political discourse is actually about manners. This isn't always bad, because I think you should treat people well, but during the Trump administration, this resulted in people being apoplectic about the dumbest shit, like apparently not sugarcoating the fact that the CIA has done some cold-blooded shit. How is that a progressive position? Why am I supposed to care about him not showing proper deference to the FBI? They put MLK on a watchlist, not to mention the fact that it was James Comey's idiocy and incompetence that gave Trump the bump he needed to win. Comey deserved what he got.

(I get in theory that it's bad that the President wants to shield himself from investigation by firing the director of the FBI, but .... we've already set a precedent for looking the other way with regards to the misdeeds of the executive branch. In addition, we apparently have the idea that a sitting President can't be indicted and that's not something Trump imposed on anyone but some dumb norm people in the Justice department/ FBI (can't remember which) insisted on adhering to. Evidently it's kinda the default position to hold the President as being above the law because preserving the integrity of the office is more important or some hogwash. I guess Watergate didn't actually mean that much. But that goes on to the broader pont my overly caffeinated self has been making about these being systemic failures and it was specious to pretend that the issue was just one bad guy getting in there. Things are falling apart because people insist on sticking to Si-type stuff that aren't even laws rather than trying to find novel solutions to meet the challenges of the current moment, and it doesn't seem to matter that this stuff has already been proven to not to work. )

Anyway, I don't really care about historical monuments but people have a lot of dumb ideas about how moving some statue of Nathan Bedford Forest is destroying history just like the Nazis would have done (really, I saw a cousin of mine post a dumb meme about how removing statues and disrespecting flags is what the Nazis did.... I normally don't engage with that kind of thing but the lazy-ass use of a WWII reference just to make themselves seem more righteous set me off. She deleted the meme later.) Like, no, people probably shouldn't have honored Nathan Bedford Forrest and it's weird that you see moving this as some big crime and attack on white people or insult to your heritage or whatever. I guess I'd say that I find the degree to which people are triggered by these kinds of things very telling. On the flip side I would say that politicians like to push things like this because it's easy to do and make it look like you care. Easier to take down a statue of Columbus than take on the police unions. Symbolic gestures are popular not necessarily because they are the most effective way to accomplish change, but because they are easy for politicians to do.
 

yeghor

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How do you feel about historical monuments?

I started thinking about this today as I was watching a YouTube about massive concrete monuments erected during the cold war by nationalistic communist regimes, the snarky youtuber was looking at this huge 40 million project which is now derelict in Bulgaria, I've seen stuff like this on my travels and read about other stuff and been interested in a lot of things "left over" from earlier eras, forgotten or (like the Bulgarian example) in living memory.

It got me wondering what peoples views are about such things, I know in the Bulgarian example that some fierce opposition exists to restoring that site because of enmity about the communist regime, while others want to restore it as its become very popular with tourists and online searches. It could certainly be a huge revenue stream for a not to wealthy country.

On the other hand, I totally understand that they do not want the site to become some kind of perverse pilgrimage site for extremists of one variety or another. I know this is part of the reason that Germany has done work to erase reference to Hitler and the nazis from public buildings or sites. There's also the conflict about the Aushwitz (spelling) site, do you preserve it for posterity or let it sink into the ground (slow moving earth fasts are sucking the site into the ground, interestingly this links with a number of old testament and new testament myths about cursed sites).

A lot of history is contested and horrific but at the same time I think its worth keeping it in mind, it happened, it could happen again. Anyway, what do you think?

On a smaller scale the agitation about tearing down versus preserving statues is something like this, in my part of the world maybe the disputes about flags is something like it too. For my own part I dont worry much about these kind of symbolic struggles or culture wars these days, maybe when I was a teenager but that was dumb, symbolic stuff had little real bearing on "the thing itself", or so I've decided.

They should repurpose them for recreational activities and exhibitions.

https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/0e/dc/9a/40/soviet-bulgarian-friendship.jpg

http://monumentalism.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/BG-Gurgulyat-Pantheon.jpg
 

ceecee

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A lot of history is contested and horrific but at the same time I think its worth keeping it in mind, it happened, it could happen again. Anyway, what do you think?

This is the logic used to continue to spread the Lost Cause fallacy in the US south. Since 2000, 32 new Confederate monuments. This, of course, was never about preserving history. It's how Union states have Confederate monuments as well.

'Changing history'? No – 32 Confederate monuments dedicated in past 17 years | American civil war | The Guardian

There is no real issue with the monuments themselves. It's how and what people are taught about them. It should be vividly clear that propaganda has done an excellent job on the US, from The Lost Cause to the Cold War, Iraq, Trump.... people here are susceptible because revisionist history is encouraged and education is controlled by its fans.
 

Virtual ghost

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In this part of the world it is normal that with every new order come some new monuments.
However for me there is a big difference between destroying the monument and just moving it to some museum. Where it belongs as a relic of the past.
 

Lark

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This is the logic used to continue to spread the Lost Cause fallacy in the US south. Since 2000, 32 new Confederate monuments. This, of course, was never about preserving history. It's how Union states have Confederate monuments as well.

'Changing history'? No – 32 Confederate monuments dedicated in past 17 years | American civil war | The Guardian

There is no real issue with the monuments themselves. It's how and what people are taught about them. It should be vividly clear that propaganda has done an excellent job on the US, from The Lost Cause to the Cold War, Iraq, Trump.... people here are susceptible because revisionist history is encouraged and education is controlled by its fans.

I was not specifically thinking about the confederate statues thing but its fair enough that it gets a mention.

The lost cause idea sounds a bit like the doomed uprising idea that allowed the easter rising in the ROI to serve as a good foundation myth. That sure can happen and be a thing. There's a lot of similar stuff here and people are very, very sensitive about it, like to the point that moves to make strong expressions of monocultural celebrations are either suspect or, when they work, like say some ignorant tourist or immigrant stumbles upon or into the same celebrations they can become a victim of people who perceive a "shared" history as threatening, they're losing something in the process.

History is bound up with identity for some people and its exclusive and exclusionary not inclusive, or at least neutral, I think of all history as relatively neutral or think it should be. I'm influenced by Frank Herbert's depiction of things like religion in serious historical time though, when you get the merger of oppositions, or perceived opposites, in things like the Zen Sunnis or Orange Catholics, perhaps, who knows, and I also question who benefits from keeping peoples or perspectives in conflict, contention, division etc. you know?

It is a little different statues to buildings or settlements or massive monumental theatres like the Bulgarian example.

- - - Updated - - -

Replace all monuments with trees.

Let all castles be caravans ;)
 

Lark

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In this part of the world it is normal that with every new order come some new monuments.
However for me there is a big difference between destroying the monument and just moving it to some museum. Where it belongs as a relic of the past.

I do think that too.

I also think there's bound to be literal tons of abandoned buildings relating to the world war or cold war which could make amazing, simply amazing, tourism attractions. I mean presently people just see whatever some urban explorer has snapped or videoed on a mobile phone. I also know that this may be something that's just of interest to me as I like underground structures, man made caves or shelters, as much as I do actual speleology/caving.
 

Virtual ghost

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I do think that too.

I also think there's bound to be literal tons of abandoned buildings relating to the world war or cold war which could make amazing, simply amazing, tourism attractions. I mean presently people just see whatever some urban explorer has snapped or videoed on a mobile phone. I also know that this may be something that's just of interest to me as I like underground structures, man made caves or shelters, as much as I do actual speleology/caving.





That is true and here there are actually plenty of such places. Therefore the ones that are over 100 years old are being repaired all over the place (since here 20th century was a complete mess and no one really cared about the maintenance). While some newer ones that are still kinda controversial are being fixed on case by case basis. However we indeed have some interesting places and monuments build by all of our 20th century political systems. What in the end would be kinda shame not to preserve if it is possible. In a few generations this will indeed be real pieces of history, especially if interpreted correctly.
 

Stigmata

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I don't have an opinion on them -- they're just kind of...well, there.
 

Lexicon

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I'm just disappointed that they don't have caramel corn inside or underneath them. Nickelodeon lied to me.
 

Burning Paradigm

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As art, some of them are quite magnificent to look at, but for the most part, I'm rather indifferent. The problem is the history and context people are taught surrounding the monuments (most notably, the Lost Cause nonsense that persists in parts of the South).
 

ceecee

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Here's a good example.

190226155446-02-bladensburg-peace-cross.jpg


This is the Bladensburg World War I Memorial in MD. On public land using public funds for upkeep. I have no issue with this at all, as a non-religious person it doesn't offend me and personally, there has never been much acknowledgement of WWI losses in the US, compared to other wars.

However, if this memorial looked like this (WWI memorial in northern France honoring Muslim allied soldiers)

WWI-MuslimSoldiers.jpg


It would never have gotten protection from the Supreme Court it likely would not be standing at all.

Incidentally Muslim groups are also fine with the Peace Cross and it's funding as are most non-religious people.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-la...s-muslim-allies-baptist-foes-at-supreme-court
 

Kephalos

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I think there are difficult cases, but also many easy cases. Take Leopold II, King of the Belgians -- it's easy to see that Leopold doesn't deserve to be commemorated just on general principle. Can you really blame Congo/Zaire fore renaming the city of Léopoldville/Leopoldstad?

Or, Pedro de Alvarado, Hernán Cortés' lieutenant: he recently had a street named in his honor in Mexico City, mind you, renamed. That is another easy case of someone who doesn't deserve to be honored, especially in the place he helped conquer. I listened to the arguments of some journalists against it, and quite frankly, I hope they have by now watched themselves on tape and realized how ridiculous their arguments sound.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I can possibly support respecting a culture or group of people that think it's important. Personally I think they are pretentious and tend to make people worship the ideas of other humans. They foster "Great Man of History" thinking. They support unreasonably authoritarian social structures, so I'm not a big fan.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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They’re kind of dumb but I enjoy looking at them through the lens of a former art history student
 

Tennessee Jed

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Eh, they're culture and history. On a global scale we have the ruins of Greece and Rome; on a local scale, people put up monuments to help remember local heroes (or to help memorialize local tragedies).

Culture and history are guides to behavior. Without culture & history, we drown in possibility and freedom. Without culture & history, one direction is as good as another, and so is staying in place. In other words, without culture and history there is no reason to do anything. If there is no difference between up or down or sideways, then why move at all?

So it's good to have history and culture to provide some examples and guidelines. Whether it's Martin Luther King or John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, or some Revolutionary War general, it's interesting to see how ordinary citizens stood up for a cause and became examples of what to do (or what not to do) in times of crisis. Some local pimply-faced kid got promoted to a position of responsibility, and then somehow ended up under fire; we're interested in how he or she fared and how many lives were saved or lost as a result.

One of my favorite authors is Robert Greene. He wrote "The 48 Laws of Power," "The 33 Strategies of War," "The Art of Seduction," "Mastery," etc. He's an historian, with a degree in classical studies. He can tell you exactly who all the great figures of history were, and what made them great or evil or fascinating or successful or a failure, etc. What was the appeal of the Kennedy brothers? Andy Warhol? Cleopatra? Alexander the Great? Marilyn Monroe? Che Guevara? Sun Tzu? Mata Hari? The great artists of history? The great dictators and rulers of history?

Of course, history and culture shouldn't be elevated to the point that they turn into a religion or a straitjacket. I'm into a little fashionable anarchy when culture turns into tyranny or authoritarianism; I'm into the trashing of historical icons when history is used to punish nonconformists.

But to learn about history and the great names of culture is to learn about humankind and what moves us. And local monuments are part of that cultural legacy. Maybe they are only local history, maybe it's just someone memorialized by a name on a school or on a highway, but presumably they are important at least to the people in that particular region.
 

Lark

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I suppose another way of framing this would be to ask if there are any you would like to visit personally, I'd like to do tours of a lot of the old cold war facilities and monuments, both in the US and USSR/former communist states.
 
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