We’ve been here before.
Statue removal? Yes, the Civil War was about slavery — and I’m just fine with tracing it all the way back to the Founders. Now, let’s all go read a book.
Architectural critic Kate Wagner goes a step further. First, always read the fine print.
Kate Wagner is an architectural critic. In 2016, she founded McMansionHell, a blog that roasts the world’s ugliest houses. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic and The Baffler.
Now, the doomed statuary.
The Secret History of America’s Worthless Confederate Monuments, by Kate Wagner (The New Republic)
They’re cheap, mass produced, and celebrate the Jim Crow South. So why do conservatives persist in calling them art?
What these statues represent of “our heritage and our history” has been hotly debated over the past few months, as NASCAR and even the state of Mississippi disavowed Confederate iconography. But the aesthetic resistance to their removal was summed up in Trump’s June remarks: that the statues are beautiful works of art that if destroyed would set historical preservation back years. As it happens, the true history of these monuments tells a different story: Far from “magnificent” artistic masterpieces, Trump’s vaunted statues are the Campbell’s Soup Cans of Confederate hagiography—cheap, mass-produced knockoffs designed to capture not just racism, but all its associated consumer revenue. For all the talk of their unparalleled artistry, they were about as easy to produce as the average fire hydrant.