We’re pretty familiar with how these rituals play out by now, with the main question not being one of strategy but of tactics: What next? What’s the next level for the Establishment to ramp the Culture War up to?
I suspect that the tragedies today in Charlottesville might lead not only to the destruction of statues of Robert E. Lee, but, eventually, to the statues of Charlottesville’s original Haven Monahan: that notorious rapist of a black body, Thomas Jefferson.
Reading Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s masterwork A Rape on Campus three years ago, I was struck by how much the Rolling Stone writer feared and loathed that the University of Virginia, Charlottesville was founded and designed by Jefferson. It made Erdely feel unsafe that the blond no doubt glass-breaking students felt a cultural connection with Jefferson, a sense of heritage.
That’s not OK!
Erdely is not an original thinker, so I presume her resentment of Jefferson’s prestige is not original to her.
At the moment, this may sound a little crazy. But these things have a logic that can take time to play out, so we shall see.