Another take on America’s “statues problem”

An excellent editorial by the perceptive writer Sarah Vowell on commemorative statues.

Swerves back to Columbus monuments, and to their character as homages to Italian American heritage.

History– and memory– is complicated.

 

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Russian Revolution and the “uses of history”

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here’s a really interesting editorial about the Revolution and the uses of history– how to put history to work in service of political goals:

“Manipulating history for political ends is not unusual — see the Trump administration and the Civil War. But in Russia, invoking history has long been a way of proclaiming political or ideological affiliation. The “Great October Socialist Revolution” was the founding myth of the Soviet Union; Nov. 7 (Oct. 25 on the old Russian calendar), the date of the uprising that brought the Bolsheviks to power, was the national holiday, on which tanks, missiles and high-stepping soldiers swept through Red Square.

The history of the revolution — and of the czarist past, and for that matter of the entire world — was written to fit the myth of Soviet Russia as the vanguard of civilization, and woe to those who tampered with the official version. Unless they were the guardians of the official version, to whom it fell now and again to rewrite and update that history — like when Stalin went abruptly from demigod to footnote.”