Monday, June 29, 2020

Statue savvy? Play to (not) win big prizes!

     Howdy folks, it’s time to play ... WHEEL ... OF ... DISASTER!
     Let’s get right to it. Give the old sinister circle a spin and see what comes up.
     Click click click click....
     What will it be? Raging Global Pandemic? Spreading Economic Collapse? Erratic, Ineffectual and Traitorous President? Ongoing Social Unrest? Murder of Chicago Children in Unchecked Random Violence?
     And it’s .... it’s ...
     Destruction of Civic Monuments. A good one! Johnny, a little background if you please.
     Thank you Neil. Along with peaceful protests following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis came anger directed at monuments to to the slaveholding South. First confined to Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee, eventually far more laudable historical figures, like Ulysses S. Grant and George Washington found also themselves toppled.
     Thank you Johnny. Let’s get the round started. For $50, answer the following: On Friday, the president of the United States issued an executive order related to monuments. Did he a) Resolve to address the festering institutional racism that sparked these attacks on public iconography; b) Form a committee to investigate how the federal government collaborated with the defeated Confederacy to steamroll the rights of its newest citizens; c) attempt to knit up our unraveling rule of law by assuring citizens that we are all part of this grand, if flawed American experiment or d) promise to prosecute “to the fullest extent permitted” anyone caught damaging a public monument or statue? Suzy!

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  1. That Haymarket statue was also damaged by a runaway streetcar, ages ago.
    And don't forget, Jens Jensen, the revered landscape designer was an actual Nazi. He became one because he considered hybridized plants, mongrels, just as the Nazis considered people whose children were products of mixed marriages mongrels. So he liked that & became a Nazi.

    1. Apparently, Clark St., Jensen's ideas were a bit more complicated than the "mongrel" concept, and I for one, who thought for many years that all things Irish were superior to all things not Irish, am willing to forgive him for believing that his "Nordic race" was a notch better than others. Here is what he had to say about immigration:

      In 1924, Jensen's friend Jane Addams invited him to speak at a meeting of the Women's International League for Peace in Chicago. In his address, Jensen embraced immigration and expressed opposition to the exclusionary quotas that the U.S. enacted in the National Origins Act.

      "I believe in everybody coming to America," Jensen said during his address. "I do not believe in any restriction of the yellow races or black races or any other races. I am willing to take my place in this country with the rest of the world ... Let everyone come in, the Chinaman as well as the Hindu."

    2. In these acrimonious and tempestuous times, it's refreshing to see that today's argument, somehow prompted by a tongue-in-cheek game show column, is about a landscape designer. I have little to add, but I'd need to see a citation for the rather bold statement that "Jens Jensen ... was an actual Nazi."

      Perhaps this is the article from which Tate got his quotation. It points to some disturbing issues, but, as far as I know, that park in Highland Park is still called Jens Jensen Park, so it would appear that they weren't convinced by the evidence to "drop the name."

      Pending further information, and as long as he didn't refer to Sheridan Road being in "East Rogers Park", I'd be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, personally. ; )

    3. Jens Jensen was born in Denmark in 1860. At the age of four, he witnessed the burning of his home town and family farm when the Prussians invaded Denmark. Jensen emigrated to America at 24 aad worked in Florida worked in Florida, and then at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, before moving to Chicago and becoming a laborer and then a foreman for the park system.
      Jensen transplanted native wildflowers from the Illnois prairies into Union Park, which became the American Garden in 1888.

      He eventually rose to the rank of general superintendant and his landscape designs can be seen throughout the the city--at Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Douglas Park, and Columbus Park, and at the North Park Village Nature Center waterfall and pond. Jensen also helped to create and select many of the sites eventually acquired by the Forest Preserve District, and assisted in the establishment of the Ravinia Music Festival grounds. He also aided in the preservation of part of the Indiana Dunes ecosystem, which would otherwise have been destroyed and industrialized by J. P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie.

      It's interesting that Jensen's legacy now provides so many urban oases for so many people, including so many people of color, in so many inner-city Chicago neighborhoods, and far beyond. I have read quite a bit about him, and nowhere did I ever hear anything about Jensen's Nazi sympathies. Maybe because there may not have been any?

  2. I’m using your fifty dollar question as part of our friend/family Monday Night Zoom Trivia contest. Perfect for one of the current event category questions.

  3. Speaking of disappearing Chicago statues, am I the only one that remembers some early Vietnam veterans monument/sculpture getting lost as part of some riverwalk/Wacker Drive rehab of the 80s/90s? My quick googling now isn't finding anything like that.

    1. I found this link:

      It tells the story of how the original Vietnam memorial in Chicago was relocated from a traffic island in Wacker Drive to a plaza along the Riverwalk in 1982. But there's no mention of a sculpture or statue at the original, or that it was either lost or moved.

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  5. I loved that when Fox News asked Mr. WeLearnHistoryFromStatues about the Fredric Remington statue in the oval office he didn't even know what it was, telling the reporter that yes, it was Teddy Roosevelt.


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