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Thread: Activists want a high school mural removed. Should its impact today overshadow the artist's intentions?

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    Activists want a high school mural removed. Should its impact today overshadow the artist's intentions?

    Activists want a high school mural removed. Should its impact today overshadow the artist's intentions?

    Written by Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder

    For nearly a century, a massive mural by painter Victor Arnautoff titled "The Life of Washington" has lined the hallways of San Francisco's George Washington High School.

    It may not be there much longer.

    Washington High School's Reflection and Action Working Group -- an ad-hoc committee made up students, school employees and local artists, historians and Native Americans -- believes the mural "glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy (and) oppression," according to a statement published in local media.

    The group reportedly identified two panels as especially offensive. One shows Washington pointing westward next to the body of a dead Native American (pictured above). The other depicts slaves working in the fields of Mount Vernon.

    Because the work "traumatizes students and community members," the group's statement concluded that "the impact of this mural is greater than its intent ever was." They are campaigning for its removal.
    This time, the phrase "whitewashing history" is literal.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    -H. L. Mencken

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    Next up: best be changing the school's name, too.

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    Tell them to go fuck themselves.

    Mark
    Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

    "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

    Political correctness is ideological fascism. Itís the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

    Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

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    If we keep this up, it will naturally mean that we will have no depictions of historical figures or events, no historical place names, and essentially no common historical references culturally.

    How can Hispanics have anything depicting the Aztecs when they killed millions - including women and children? Blacks certainly can't have any MLK references given his supposed treatment of women. Somewhere, there is a monument to Chinese Americans that is under attack for completely disregarding foot binding or dog-eating. We can't overlook the appalling history of rape and slave ownership among Native Americans. Naturally women are most responsible for the deliberate abuse of helpless children and disabled adults so all those female commemorations need to go. LGBT people aren't off the hook, either. Bisexuals killed the sainted Matthew Shepard.

    Where does this end?
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    That's a very subversive mural to be government financed under the New Deal. That Arnautoff guy didn't mind biting that hand that fed him. I like that in an artist.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    -H. L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    That's a very subversive mural to be government financed under the New Deal. That Arnautoff guy didn't mind biting that hand that fed him. I like that in an artist.
    Not really. Rural America is full of WPA murals in post offices, court houses, and libraries that run the gamut from very political/social to mundane. While city people may be shocked or surprised at these efforts, rural people have literally grown up seeing them every day.

    You should see some of the kids' book of that era that were subsidized by the government.

    Whether I like them or 'agree' with their sentiments, they are a part of our history. There's no need to destroy them simply because some contemporary people don't understand the origins or intents.

    What we really need is to educate people to understand that words, art, history, or whatever aren't "threats". If you feel "unsafe" because you are poorly educated or badly informed, fix that. Ask yourself whether an idea or depiction represents an existential threat and then why? There is art I don't like or that mocks my religion or values but am I "unsafe" because of it?

    No. Pissed off, maybe.

    Physical violence, economic violence, government violence, etc. - that's violence. Punching people or making them lose their jobs or bringing down the IRS on people, that's scary.

    Walking past art? Not so much.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    Not really. Rural America is full of WPA murals in post offices, court houses, and libraries that run the gamut from very political/social to mundane. While city people may be shocked or surprised at these efforts, rural people have literally grown up seeing them every day.

    You should see some of the kids' book of that era that were subsidized by the government.

    Whether I like them or 'agree' with their sentiments, they are a part of our history. There's no need to destroy them simply because some contemporary people don't understand the origins or intents.

    What we really need is to educate people to understand that words, art, history, or whatever aren't "threats". If you feel "unsafe" because you are poorly educated or badly informed, fix that. Ask yourself whether an idea or depiction represents an existential threat and then why? There is art I don't like or that mocks my religion or values but am I "unsafe" because of it?

    No. Pissed off, maybe.

    Physical violence, economic violence, government violence, etc. - that's violence. Punching people or making them lose their jobs or bringing down the IRS on people, that's scary.

    Walking past art? Not so much.
    No one believes that "triggered" bullshit. They are using that as an excuse to change the history and traditions of the country.

    Mark
    Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

    "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

    Political correctness is ideological fascism. Itís the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

    Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

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    We've been told that artists and comedians should get a pass when it comes to their "art" so the triggered Reflection and Action Working Group should stop being snowflakes and leave this poor, dead Communist's mural alone.
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

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    The school board still has to decide whether it will paint over the mural or cover it with paneling. The latter option would cost between $600,000 and $845,000 and would be completed within two years, according to the Times. Painting, while ostensibly cheaper, would first necessitate an environmental impact study, which would run roughly $500,000. The timeline for this option is unclear.
    Why not use that money to hire a history teacher?
    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
    Robert Southwell, S.J.

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    I'll never understand this sort of political correctness. After looking at the excepts of the mural in the storyÖ what is it that they're offended about, exactly? That Indians died in the westward expansion of America? That slavery existed? It's part of American history and the mural is depicting that. The good, the bad and the ugly.

    The problem I have with this sort of hand-wringing is if you eliminate all this from the public sphere and stop teaching it, eventually it will happen again.

    Short memories, and all that.

    On the flip side, if the school and community no longer like the mural, it's theirs to do with as they wish. I would just prefer if it's scrapped that it be relocated to a museum or park instead of destroyed.
    Elect a clown ó expect a circus.

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