How could Castleman remain? The Euro way

This is one of the several articles about the John B. Castleman statue that appeared in the May 8 issue of LEO Weekly. To read the rest, go here.

Did you enjoy Derby?

I don’t care for the nags myself, but I do take some joy in seeing people all togged up like a frat boy’s wet dream get a good soaking.

So bitter. I understand you were considered too small to be a jockey.

Your annual joke is about as worn out and unnoticeable as the Derby itself. Listen, bunter, I don’t care for bloodsports. I know it’s not as straightforward as setting a pack of dogs on a deer or a fox, and I’m not getting into a debate about it. But it’s forcing an animal to participate in human entertainment whilst unwittingly putting its life at risk — which to me is no different from animals in a circus. And one day, it’ll go the way of animals in circuses too. Mark my words.

Horses racing against one another is one of the most natural behaviours on Earth, Titch. Besides, you can’t say that here, not even in LEO. Racing is the lifeblood of this city. Without it, the economy would collapse, and the place would turn into Detroit in a matter of weeks.

That’s bollocks. That’s like saying college sports are fundamentally important to the economy. Sure, they bring in the wedge, but they’re not critical, and they’re certainly nothing to brag about, particularly compared to the stuff big cities can offer. I appreciate Louisville, but we’re stuck in the past. We still act as if the Derby makes us special, when, in fact, it’s a millstone around our neck. If anything, rather than attract growing companies and metropolitan people, I often wonder if it doesn’t make them think of Louisville as obstinately parochial.

That’s bound to be a popular opinion. Anyway, I realised as a teenager that I’m a rubbish punter, so that limits my own interest in the race itself. I am interested in statues, though.

As your pivots go – which I will admit, although childish, are usually one of your few strengths as a writer of low-rent, multi-topic opinion – that was piss poor. Do better. But it was super-shocking that Fischer has taken the path of least resistance by trying to forget about Castleman and hoping that everyone else does the same.

It should be torn down. It’s not like there are any statues of Charles I in Britain, and rightly so, since he lost the Civil War and, in the process, his head.

I should have known that a Home Counties ponce like you would be ignorant of London’s landmarks, but there’s a very large and very prominent statue of Charles I right outside Charing Cross Station.

Well, public transport old bean. It’s for the plebs, so naturally not a thing someone of my class would automatically be aware of. So, why is it OK for there to be a statue of the bloke who lost a civil war in London but not on Cherokee Road?

Because the English Civil War was fought by an ethnically homogeneous population over esoteric notions like the divine right of kings, not over owning other humans beings as chattels to be bought and sold based on the colour of their skin. Anyway, I think there’s an increasing likelihood that Castleman will stay, and I’m OK with that under certain circumstances.

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You’re mugging me off, right? One minute you’re polishing off your “I am Spartacus” credentials, the next you’re OK with slavers. Although having worked for you, this should not be a shock to me.

Since it’s one of the few pieces of public art with any sort of historical significance to Louisville, I’m OK with it staying, provided it’s altered to give a broader perspective on who the person actually was. That’s what’s being done in some parts of Europe to minimise the fuss over pulling down statues of various dictators — commies and fascists all love a statue — and it seems an eminently sensible way of doing things. So, keep the statue, but update the plaque to clearly reflect the fact that Castleman was also an enthusiastic pro-slavery bastard.

Compromise, eh? So old fashioned. So out of style. But it’s so crazy, it just might work.

As you know my philosophy is that we work as a team, and we do things my way. Ergo, since keeping it turns it into a white person issue, I’m sure Bevin will happily find money for it in the state budget. If it’s a black person or a poverty problem, his answer is the same every time.

Prayer?

Yep. Prayer for poor and black folks, money for rich and white folks. It’s undeniable: Dying because pharmaceutical companies are flooding markets with opioids? Prayer. Dying because guns are more common now than insects? Prayer. But, want charter schools? We’ll get you money. Need the state to buy into your private company? We’ll get you money. And so on.

That gelt’s going to start rolling in when teachers start coughing up fines. A thousand bucks a pop. Think he’s going to do it? Fine individual teachers for the sickout?

No doubt he wants to do it. Risky, politically, but like his adopted daddy in the White House, revenge is a particularly powerful driving force for Bevin. He’s still not used to being defied. It’s one of the reasons ex-military officers rarely make good civilian leaders, at least in anything remotely trying to be a democracy, because they’re used to dishing out orders without pushback. That’s not how civilian life works.

Speaking of works, I see he’s still listed as chairman of the bell works he inherited somewhere in New England. The one his clearly-self-penned Wikipedia bio omits to mention.

You read his Wikipedia page? Did you run out of colouring books or something?

A moment of boredom one lunchtime. He obviously wrote it himself, or dictated it to some lickspittle. It makes it sound as if he had an impoverished childhood… but then somehow doesn’t mention that he inherited a manufacturing business.

It’s possible you could own a bell factory and still not be coining it. Demand ain’t what it once was. But still, worth mentioning.

Well, with a lot of luck he’ll be off to the knacker’s yard later this year. That really would be something to get excited about.

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