Monday, March 28, 2016

Statues and Limitations

Last fall:

Hundreds of student protesters rallied at Oxford University’s Oriel College on Friday, calling for the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes, a past pupil and benefactor of the school who made his fortune in diamonds while helping Britain seize control of southern Africa in the late 19th century.

Now:

University students will vote on whether to construct a 250ft iron statue of ex-prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

For goodness's sake, let's hope this doesn't spread over to this side of the ocean. It's been over a decade since I read Jared Diamond's Collapse, but I'm pretty sure this was his message about how Easter Island destroyed itself — identity politics leads to competitive statue-building, and before you know it, you've used up all your natural resources constructing mile-high representations of Reagan and FDR squaring off in a wrestling match.