Things, Because I Got Busy on Facebook

1. Sure, let’s elect a plagiarist. Why not? Lamar, it’s time to stop appeasing these jackasses and just eat their lunch.

2. “Better to stay indoors until one can safely discern between the dog and the wolf.” I just want to marry this sentence. Or die of envy that someone else wrote it.

3. Gail Kerr’s right–something is starting to stink here.

4. Over on Facebook, Coble was talking about this. It’s supposed to be Native American-inspired or something. Here’s my problem–aside from the fact that it’s 3/4s of a million dollars–is this supposed to be inspired by Native Americans who lived here? Because I’ve now Googled the art and clothing of every tribe that was thought to have been in the Tennessee area and one thing stands out–they all had access to and made ample use of a vibrant red dye. I couldn’t identify it, but obviously it’s something pretty prevalent here, because it was very popular. So, where’s the red on this thing? Is this a tribute to Native Tennesseans or just some abstract concept of Native Americans?

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6 thoughts on “Things, Because I Got Busy on Facebook

  1. Is “eat their lunch” really a show of power? It made sense at lunch, but looking at it now, it just looks funny. Though I did try last week to convince Jewly that one could eat a sandwich in a menacing manner. So maybe it’s fine.

  2. I’m about to teach Nancy Shoemaker’s “How Indians Got to Be Red.” Tomorrow, when I have more time, I will drop back in and ‘splain what that vibrant red color meant in southeastern American Indian diplomacy and spiritual life…and then you will understand both why it’s lame that it’s not in the palette and why the artist probably chose not to put it there.

  3. OOOOOOO, foreshadowing!

    My concern, as I told Coble on Facebook is kind of two-fold. If the purpose is to honor actual Native Tennesseans, then I’d like to hear from some that they’re cool with this and I’d like to hear why, if that is the purpose, we couldn’t have an actual Native artist from Tennessee make the piece.

  4. During the Cahokian era (1050ce–1400ce) this area was well populated. Post-Columbian, this area was very sparsely populated, except by buffaloes.
    What Indians is this supposedly honoring? The Cherokee we tried to eradicate? Choctaw? Chickasaw? What would a monument to genocide look like?

  5. As promised…according to Nancy Shoemaker’s analysis, the red color you identified (vermillion) has multiple ideological meanings in the political and religious life of southeastern Indians. Red is often the color of creation — many southeastern groups believe that they were made from the red soils of the southeast and thus have a superior organic claim to the place. (It’s their Garden of Eden.) By the 18th century, they used their understanding of separate creations — white clay for Europeans, black soil for Africans, red clay for Indians — to argue against English missionaries and diplomats who tried to impose English law or religion. They were sovereign and different; they were red. (In one story, whites had been created first, but they were a half-baked screwup. Blacks had been burnt in the cosmic oven. Red people were toasted a desirable golden brown…just right.) Red was also important in the way they organized political life — red as metaphor for war, conflict, aggressive negotiations was always paired with white (a color that was a metaphor for accommodation, dialogue, and peaceful conflict resolution, often through mutual economic partnership). When Indians said they were “red” (in contrast to the Europeans’ claims to be white), they were not referencing their skin color, which everyone around the table agreed was a bronze color that translates in English to “tawny.” They were a) reminding diplomats of their ability to bring the hurt and b) urging Europeans to “be white” about their dealings.

    With that being said, you can see why a European-American artist “commemorating” the Indians of Tennessee (like they aren’t here now and couldn’t do their own representing) would not want to use red. Red means we were born here, we own it, and we will kick your ass if you don’t behave yourself.

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