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Old 12-11-2017, 09:41 PM   #21
DominusNovus
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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Originally Posted by cadetcarl View Post
lol at putting adultery or being a bad father on the same footing as slaveholding. Nobody's perfect and it's true that there would be no one left to uphold if we had to overturn every stone in their private lives, but come on. One can say "I still choose to revere the likes of Washington" without pretending he and King or Kennedy had the same impact on the lives of those in their direct charge. One can weigh their lives and find the balance positive without making that conflation.
We honor them for their inpact on society, not their impact oon the lives of those in their direct charge.
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:19 PM   #22
Proposition Joe
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

There are certain historical figures who absolutely do NOT deserve any modern recognition, like Columbus or Confederate figures and all of those need to be removed. I don't put the founding fathers in the same category, particularly when there were local historical events they partook in, but the hagiography of the racist, merchant fucks who just happened to establish the country is harmful to how people see America in the present day. People need to be far more careful about how easily they're writing off their crimes and behaviors and how easily they're accepting false historical accounts of how things were back then because these narratives about the founding fathers are used to justify the continuation of a lot of issues that existed at the founding of the country (white supremacy being the big one here).

So no, you don't have to get rid of the Washington statue in the Public Garden, or the monument at Dorchester Heights, but maybe we can get rid of five or six Washington Streets and dedicate them to figures and communities that don't tend to be a part of our national dialogue? Maybe we can get rid of the portrait of Colonial Governor Buttfart (1619-1921) from the state house and replace them with someone more relevant? Having a more visibly diverse range of monuments would provide a more vibrant and accurate history of our city and state.

And please let's be real about the actual value of these monuments. Can anyone argue with me that replacing that fucked up Lincoln statue near Park Plaza (that was considered racially problematic when it was built!) could not be replaced by a better statue dedicated to the abolitionist movement? And there's not really a lot of historical pride to be had in our State House's main entrance being named after the guy famous for ironically hiring a historical amount of hookers.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:31 AM   #23
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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Old 12-12-2017, 07:32 AM   #24
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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And there's not really a lot of historical pride to be had in our State House's main entrance being named after the guy famous for ironically hiring a historical amount of hookers.

Job creators FTW
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:33 AM   #25
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

One more - the Zakim bridge should have been the Bill Russell bridge.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:45 AM   #26
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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...the Bill Russell bridge.
I think you are touching upon the key missing element of this conversation at the national level: it's not solely a question of whether certain historic references should be eliminated...it's a broader question of: if we look across all of the named/commemorated things we encounter, do the collective names and recognition cover the broad array of impactful individuals we should be recognizing? While I am not a proponent of subverting real parts of history, I am definitely a proponent of better optimizing and broadening the forms of recognition we enact.

Bill Russell is the perfect case example. We have a massive piece of infrastructure named after Ted Williams. Bill Russell was arguably just as important, if not more important, of a figure and it was a travesty how long it took to recognize him (and still, one meager statue, IMHO, doesn't cut it). Bill was a trailblazer...he was a major force in integrating Boston sports, and uniting a fan base in alignment with a "this is our city's team, regardless of the color of the players on it" mentality. All whilst enduring intense discrimination; he could have left our city, but he stayed. And to boot, Bill earned 11 championships to Ted's zero. I am not dissing Ted Williams. I am simply pointing out that there is no viable explanation whatsoever why Ted should have a multi-billion-dollar tunnel named after him, and Bill should have one measly bronze, that hardly anyone sees, erected almost half a century after he retired.

People are viewing this whole thing in much too binary of a fashion: keep history / eliminate history; connected to slave ownership / not connected to slave ownership. This whole conversation is much better framed as: "let's take the opportunity to better optimize the recognition across all of our commemorated items so that they honor those who have positively impacted our society"

Through this lens, there is simply no excuse for having redundant statues / streets for certain same-old historic figures, and zero streets or bridges or tunnels named after Mr. Russell. And Bill certainly isn't the only one, but the level of recognition for him presents a glaring gap.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:44 AM   #27
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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but the hagiography of the racist, merchant fucks who just happened to establish the country is harmful to how people see America in the present day.
That is about as unfair a depiction as can arise in this sort of conversation. Its particularly bemusing how ‘merchant’ is used as part of the denigration of the founding fathers. They came from a variety of backgrounds and professions, and held a variety of views. Where does John Adams, our local guy, fit in that spectrum? He was neither merchant nor planter, and opposed slavery, but was not an advocate of immediate abolition? Or Ben Franklin, who was an abolitionist, but owned slaves earlier in his life?

Just lumping them in such a denigration fashion does a disservice both to them and to our nation itself.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:50 AM   #28
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

I prefer the Adam Ruins Everything approach to history:
For most of these people who have monuments, I actually do think: "That guy used to be thought hot stuff--he's lucky he got his monument in his lifetime, because we've since moved the goalposts (as progress), and when considering him today, we'd just dismiss him as an ass. Its worth remembering how far we've come, because no way would he* get a monument today"

Or as a multiculturalist: "The past is a different country, they do things differently there". Somewhere between the Prime Directive and my Coexist bumper sticker, At least one culture I should have detached sympathy for is the America of the Past. Maybe replace the E in Coexist with a 13, 15, 35, 46 ,or 48 star American flag?

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Originally Posted by CSTH View Post
One more - the Zakim bridge should have been the Bill Russell bridge.
We end up with sports figures (eg Ted Williams Tunnel) because any person whose life had an actual policy impact on how people's lives got lived are now deemed too radioactive to touch.

My point about adulterers and bad fathers (Ted Williams, by the way, John-Henry Williams was one messed up kid) is that once the pall of slavery was gone, do we move on to some new threshold for the Disqualifying Trait for each age?

Like during the period it was legal to profit from slavery, what if a guy was just a racist? Seems he'd qualify for a monument: He was progressive for his age in that "at least he didn't own slaves."

But then during Jim Crow, once that "profited from slaves" isn't the salient test of their age, Michael Curley, Tom Yawkey, & Louis Agassiz would get excluded as racists (when they'd have been monument-eligible in 1840). Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr would get excluded as a eugenicist (sterilizing the disabled and other inferiors). Personally, I don't like any of these people and I'd never've given them any monument, but I don't think that's the test. They all stink by my exacting modern standards.

Once we get to the Civil Rights era, and no slavers or racists are going to get monuments, and there's no "Nazi" test (though Charles Lindberg always seems to slip past that one) what's the next test? Gender views? Economic? Did they spank their kids?

I think it silly to go all the way to: you only get or keep a monument if, by the standards of 2017, we'd still give you a monument today.

I take the Adam Ruins Everything mission seriously: If we're remembering these people, we gotta remember their good and bad--it is perhaps the most accessible way of learning about their age and how far we've come.

The past is full of worse people erecting monuments to people who were merely bad/average by modern standards. That's what they do there. It is who they are. That's their whole civilization.



*almost always a he.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:15 AM   #29
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

^ People should be judged by the standards of their time. I absolutely agree on that. And people can be celebrated in spite of their flaws. Yes, amen.

That being said, I take issue with your inclusion of Yawkey as someone who would have been "monument-eligible" at another time. By the standards of his time Yawkey was terribly racist. This isn't an issue of people today looking back today and retroactively applying our norms to him; his own contemporaries considered him to be backwards. If Yawkey was run-of-the-mill racist just like every other rich old white guy in the mid-20th century that would be one thing, but Yawkey was not just that: he was the biggest holdout against integration of any owner in baseball. And his racism was a key element of the very thing he is celebrated for: his ownership of the Red Sox. It wasn't as if he was a terrific owner who did great things and just happened to be a racist; his racism informed and shaped his ownership. The Bruins even had a black player before the Sox did, thanks to him.

So yeah, I believe we should defend Washington 100% but we shouldn't defend Yawkey.

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Old 12-12-2017, 10:59 AM   #30
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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Originally Posted by JumboBuc View Post
So yeah, I believe we should defend Washington 100% but we shouldn't defend Yawkey.
Sincerely: I have no love for Tom Yawkey and don't want you to think that I'd choose to give him a monument.

I think it ridiculous that he's got a street named after him, just for being a rich guy, who stumbles into the sports-and-leisure industry at a time when the Second Industrial Revolution, New Deal, and the Labor Movement are giving average folks the productivity and income they need to idle their after-hours and disposable income at his ballpark, or at a time when Radio/TV happen to create a windfall mass audience for him.

He's basically a random historical lottery winner [whose lottery winnings freed him to be a serious racist]

... except that he dies without heirs, impelling his wife, Jean, to play the role of fixer, ensuring that their rich friends and charity-bought politicians name a street without specifying which Yawkey. Jean Yawkey coulda pulled a Leona Helmsley and left her fortune to her dogs, but she gave it to kids with cancer, and put a bunch of bigwigs on her board.

So we conclude: Jean=great. Tom=stinks.

Not unlike the Browns of Providence / Brown U: Moses=great (abolitionist). John & Nicholas stink (enthusiastic slavers) Joseph Brown wants to be remembered as an astronomer (somebody un-whitewash Wikipedia which describes them all as "merchants"). Cant quite see naming it Moses Brown University nor Jean Yawkey Way because we risk forgetting that slavery and racism were everywhere if all we remember are the Jeans and Moseses, we'll forget that they were still good people spending evil money.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:11 AM   #31
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

Full disclosure - as a crypto-anarcho-syndicalist, I believe that all statues and monuments to 'great men (/women)' are an insult to the democratic spirit .. regardless of the biography of the 'great' individual in question.

I prefer the personified abstractions on the north west corner of the common, like the Ether Monument and the Angel of the Waters. Or generic exemplars, like the Minutemen statues in Lexington and Concord.

More this: and this

Less this:

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Old 12-12-2017, 11:50 AM   #32
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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Ether Monument
They'll take my Ether Monument from me when they pry it from my warm, numb hands.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:02 PM   #33
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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Full disclosure - as a crypto-anarcho-syndicalist, I believe that all statues and monuments to 'great men (/women)' are an insult to the democratic spirit
Hey, how do you feel about



?

/troll
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:25 PM   #34
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

^ yeah exactly .

(...and for the record, mostly I blame The South...)
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:31 PM   #35
bigpicture7
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

How about naming this for Bill Russell. It's close by to The Garden, and currently not named after anyone else. It is a perfect opportunity:

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Old 12-12-2017, 03:49 PM   #36
bakgwailo
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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How about naming this for Bill Russell. It's close by to The Garden, and currently not named after anyone else. It is a perfect opportunity:

I'm sold.
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:53 PM   #37
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Re: Rosa Parks Boulevard

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How about naming this for Bill Russell. It's close by to The Garden, and currently not named after anyone else.
This is a great idea. If there's any way you can get it to the right person at City Hall I have no doubt Walsh will jump on it.
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