“Seeing all that white marble,” writes Ian Forrester, “does have an effect on the way we see the past.” I’ve come across this surprising tidbit about ancient sculpture before, but now it occurs to me to wonder to what degree the mistaken sense of plain white marble informed and impacted the thinking of later sculptors when creating their work.

One more thing from that Phillip Morris piece for National Geographic: a weird remark from Professor Kevin K. Gaines.

Yet as philosopher-poet George Santayana famously said, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. The aphorism weighs heavily on those trained to study the behaviors and achievements of past cultures.

“As a historian, I am concerned about the past being erased,” says Gaines, the UVA professor. “If we sanitize our history, we run the risk of forgetting how we’ve progressed and changed over time…Those who come after us must understand that America was conceived in white supremacy and continues to suffer the consequences.”

I can’t tell if this is Gaines resisting the removal of statues and memorials, or Morris’ structure making it seem like this is what Gaines is saying, but that’s certainly the effect.

The thing is, removal of statues itself is an action against the sanitizing of history. The very existence of these memorials for dozens or hundreds of years absent the real story of their racist context or at least without any overt, conscious and public recognition of that context was a sanitized version of our history.

The move to remove is akin to a truth and reconciliation effort, not one of whitewashing.

Anton Howe’s suggestion that “Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, and Star Wars” are modern society’s “virtue-promoting public art” makes me think of a post of mine from 2013 which I only just recently imported here, wherein I suggested something similar, except instead of pop culture being about promoting moral virtue, per se, I pegged it as the texts of our moral exploration.

Before I once again, already, all but shut down my blogging activity for awhile due to another bout, already, of cognitive burnout, three positive stories to pass along: a nice look at little free libraries during the pandemic, a nice look at muralists on Foster Road sprucing up the strip during the economic shutdown, and a nice look at quirky ways cities have used to encourage cooperation during social distancing.

Link Log Roundup For April 30, 2020

In this edition: autism research, men ditching books, peeing in the pool, coronavirus confusion, liminality, reopening Oregon restaurants, Oregonian death rates, mental health in quarantine, public space online, informal public characters, sidewalk chalk, intelligence, the Gross Domestic Product, the Anti-Mask League, Latinx disparities, compulsory masks in 1919, vote-by-mail hypocrisy, and saving .ORG.

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