Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh, the cruel neglect

Hi all,

Many many thanks to all who keep checking this space. As previously mentioned I am in the field working 10 hour days with no weekends off, and the internet connection where I am staying is soooo sloooowww that doing research is frustrating. (As an example, I can't read Sociological Images because it won't download! Oh the horror!)

I will try to get posts up during the summer and I will certainly return to more regular posts in September.

For now, just wanted to mention something I saw in an antique store. It was a (presumably old) chess set listed at a ridiculous price. The black pieces were stereotyped blackface caricatures (big white eyes, big red lips) dressed in grass skirts.

The white pieces were white colonial adventurers circa the Grande Olde Days of European Colonialism, clad in Victorian-y wear.

Why?! Why would you want this?? Why would you make this?

So this made me think: Should we preserve these pieces of our past, or should we destroy them? Do we need to have these reminders of the most racist and offensive artwork?

I think we do, but I think that anyone who earnestly wants to own this chess set is someone that I may not want to associate with. Put it in a museum with a big label that explains the context (and labels it as offensive), but no one needs to privately own this kind of trash. The fact that these types of items are collectibles is mystifying to me.

By the way, I just let through some old-ish comments.

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