PC Jumps the Shark to Macabre

This war on symbols of the confederacy might just have taken the leap from ‘possibly understandable’ to ‘get the straight-jackets’ level.

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Opinion / Editorial


In the creepiest development to emerge from the Confederate flag debate yet,  the Memphis City Council intends to dig up General Nathan Bedford Forrest‘s bones.  Sure, he isn’t the most loved figure in history.  He was a confederate general and, well, yeah he started the KKK.  But c’mon.

This war on symbols of the confederacy might just have taken the leap from ‘possibly understandable’ to ‘get the straight-jackets’ level.

Are we really going to open the grave of this guy, and his wife no less, just to prove that we all think slavery was wrong?  How is this different from ISIS destroying relics from Ancient Egypt because they think they are immoral?  History is not always squeaky clean…in fact it rarely is.

The city of Memphis already renamed the park where Forrest’s remains are located.  Something that most reasonable people can understand.  However, going so far as to dig up a person who has been buried in the same location for over 100 years is a bit…well…it’s macabre.

Slavery was horrible…but it happened.  Historical landmarks aren’t always happy places.  Just ask anyone who has ever visited la Place de la Concorde or the Tower of London.

History often sucks.

We can’t erase history.  We shouldn’t erase history.  We should teach about it, so we don’t make the same mistakes twice.  Besides that, Memphis has bigger things to worry about.

According to the FBI, Memphis was the 3rd most dangerous city in the country in 2015 with 200,000 or more residents.  That’s a real problem if you call Memphis home.  Perhaps the city council should be a little more concerned about the present than the past.

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  1. Stephen Hamilton Reply

    There is a pernicious selfishness to getting even with historic figures, rather than addressing real, current issues. What is hoped for here, shall we resurrect General Forrest to apologise? Does any sane person think digging up bones is not desecration?

    Ah, that is the point. Now it is finally expedient to have the ultimate last word; to humiliate the living by denying even an unmolested grave to any deemed unfit by contemporary opinion.

    Woe to you who are so one dimensional and shortsighted! You are debasing yourselves and laying the groundwork for other, future revisionists to dig up your graves, just to smear you one last time.

    History is viewed through present biases and it is now popular to “rectify” past injustice. Knowing that, beware which lines you cross, but beware even more those who gaily dance right pst your restraint and trample human decency in the name of “virtue.”

    1. Kim Paris Reply

      Well said Stephen!

  2. Tom Glover Reply

    There are thousands of Confederate Soldier’s graves in Marietta, GA in the Confederate Cemetery they can desecrate next. Maybe they should go after Custer’s Grave at West Point, after all he did murder thousands of Native Americans, often in their sleep, and many were women and children. Should they? Of course not. The ranks of The Confederate Army did not fight for racism, or slavery. They fought for what every soldier fights for, their homes, their family, for the guy fighting next to them, and for their simple way of life. They knew little about the politics that sent them to battle, they just knew that The Flag that flew above them was The Flag of their Homeland. They fought bravely. and honorably, and many fell, not to see That Flag fall. They were Americans, Americans during a terrible time. Americans that should be honored accordingly by the people who’s ancestors they died for.

  3. john Reply

    Little known fact – there’s nothing sacrosanct about cemeteries or burial locations. If the cemetery goes belly up and can’t pay it’s bills, the property can be sold and the new owner can leave the bones, move the bones, or dispose of the bones. That’s how property rights work in this country…at least. And it’s an unpleasant reality many people discover if they take the time to ask the folks at the cemeteries how long their loved ones remains are guaranteed to remain there.

    So, there’s nothing particularly macabre about what’s been done here in Memphis. It was likely a business decision. Make the city appeal to a broad spectrum of people or risk losing valuable tourist/conference business.

    I agree that it’s overly PC to think this must be done and the whole confederate issue is blown way out of proportion. Then again, if the far right would allow the issue of gun control to be taken up AS IT SHOULD BE, and the real MACABRE problem of mass killings to be addressed, maybe we wouldn’t be all heading down these red herring paths.

    I know…silly. The far right is never going to do anything reasonable to fix the out of control gun problems in this country. So…what’s it to be next? I suppose in order to shoot back at a psycho shooter in a crowded theater it’s necessary that the lights be on (to minimize collateral killings) and allow all those open carry “good guys with guns” a clear shot. Yep…that’s the problem…lights off in theaters. We all need to blame those heinous theater owners and get these damned lights turned back ON during the movies.

    Turn the lights UP to turn the macabre DOWN.

    There, get on that page.

  4. Pieter Reply

    Don’t be tepid in your posts. Reconnect with the passion that led you to start your bsuiness and your blog in the first place, and make sure that passion shines through in your posts.

  5. Wissam Reply

    I hadn’t heard the term scare quote until you mentioned it, alothugh if a British person wants to connote intellectual superiority, he or she will say”tabloid” or “red-top”, this being the layout of the vulgar end of the press.Go get ’em, Danny!.. M in London

  6. Syza Reply

    I like “sneer quotes” btteer. I heard John Stewart refer to them as “dick quotes”, which is even more apt in some circumstances, but polite company is not one of them. 🙂 T.E.D. 6 mins ago