Friday, March 06, 2020

The Alamo

Texans, tell me what I am missing here.  Everyone is up in arms over "reimagining" The Alamo as a different historical monument. I generally dislike "reimagining" anything valuable, except when it's me doing it.  I'm great at it. Most other efforts I have seen are terrible.  It's very big now, I know, to reimagine what worship could be like, or education could be like, or world peace could be like.  Sometimes people do come up with brilliant things, sure, but usually one only gets a lame fashionableness that is out-of-fashion about fifteen minutes after the show opens.

But I've been to the Alamo, and it's not presented in anything like an impressive fashion. Fort No. 4 in New Hampshire is more impressive, despite being much less important historically*. I generally approve of not messing with things, but this is flat boring.  It does have an eerie simplicity at 2:00am when one is on a 2-hour layover from an Amtrak sleeper, but I'm not sure that's a Texas specialty.  Visiting during the day was not meaningful. I've seen meaningful.  I went to school in Williamsburg. Every damn town in New England has an historical society or small museum, and you can't swing a cat without hitting something noteworthy in the coastal towns. I dragged my children to every small museum and historical marker we passed for twenty years.

People think the way things are are the way they should be, especially if they have been that way a long time. What we call "traditional" is usually only the way our grandparents saw it, or we think they saw it. It is not automatically disrespectful to change things. It may be that Texans are just mad at the Bushes at the moment, but I think San Antonio can do better, and the state as a whole definitely can..

*Because it is earlier in American history, one could make an argument that it is more important because "as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined," but even then it's a stretch. The Alamo is a pretty big deal as history.


Donna B. said...

Don't Mess With Texas. Or the Alamo.

The best war memorials are those that don't occupy valuable downtown real estate.

Sam L. said...

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Is this just Bush-wah? (I slap my face for saying that. I just couldn't resist.)

I'd like to go along with Donna B., but "location, location, location", and "it was there FIRST".

David Foster said...

The article isn't very well-written, IMO, and I can't quickly understand what the argument is actually *about*...what are they talking about *doing*? Can anyone net it out for me?

Related post: The Assault on American HIstory and Identity

Christopher B said...

The result of reimagining the American Revolution was the 1619 Project so I'm immediately sceptical of any other such endeavour.