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Today's Cultural Revolution Needs a New Statue. She's French, but is She Woke Enough?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

Satire is a dangerous business, especially during our cultural revolution, with angry Jacobins beating up politicians, tearing down statues and terrifying corporate and political establishments in a great, leftist show of force.


It will never end, will it? Or maybe it just ends with heads.

At the rate they're going, the Jacobins won't be satisfied with heads of stone. They'll demand the real thing, with hair and teeth.

But I won't provoke them when they're all lathered up. And my friends know I'm afraid of satire.

I believe in the Importance of Being Earnest.

As most Americans know, the recent round of statue smashing started with the protests of the police murder of George Floyd. But this isn't about George Floyd anymore, is it? We're way past George Floyd now.

Corporate, political and other institutional leaders are desperate to be thought of as woke too. A few of them might be thinking about throwing the mob a few sacrificial underlings, and then climb the chaos like a ladder.

At least one thing is clear.

We are running out of statues. We need a few new ones.

So today, I ask (nay, demand) that the National Endowment for the Arts build a great new statue:

Marie Therese Louise of Savoy, Princesse de Lamballe.

Marie de Lamballe was a French noble. But she was also quite liberal. She believed in the French Revolution and its slogans. She was wealthy, but unlike other nobles, she was quite sympathetic to the revolutionary ethos.

Today she'd most likely be honored at the Kennedy Center and donate to several museums. CNN might give her a show where she'd take poor people to fine restaurants, and nod with concern as they confessed their hopes and dreams.


If there's one in Washington who'd admire a statue of Marie de Lamballe, it would be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat from near statue-less San Francisco. Pelosi, wealthy, powerful, and liberal herself, is busy trying to climb that ladder of chaos.

Her Democrats squabble with Republicans over how best to honor George Floyd with dueling bills on police procedure. Perhaps frustrated, Pelosi accused the Republicans of murdering Floyd.

"So far they're trying to get away with murder, actually," Pelosi said. "The murder of George Floyd."

In another age, perhaps, she'd be denounced as dangerously insane. But Pelosi clearly understands our times. Climb the ladder, Nancy.

Lamballe was fashionable, educated, publicly virtuous, and compassionate. She was something of a subversive intellectual, or at least she hung around with intellectuals, providing them tasty wine and sweetmeats.

She was a daughter of the French Enlightenment. And so, Lamballe was highly enlightened. Today you might say she was woke.

But she just wasn't woke enough.

A fine statue of Marie de Lamballe near the Washington Monument (or whatever we'll call that next year when Washington's name is finally erased from history) would be more than just another boring stone human for tourist families to ignore.

A statue of Marie de Lamballe might provide clarity, something needed now.


And I hope they build it soon.

Early on, as the Floyd protests intensified, the Jacobins were content with smashing statues of Confederate leaders and calling them racists. But soon they began to destroy statues of abolitionists and others who fought for the Union to free the slaves.

Some think they're a crazy mob. But I think they know what they're doing. They're erasing history and telling the rest of us to shut up and like it. Most Republicans shut up. The Democrats have little to say. And Joe Biden stays in his basement eating pudding. He doesn't say much.

A statue of President Ulysses S. Grant was torn down. He won the Civil War and sent Sherman to burn Atlanta and break the South. President Teddy Roosevelt, a progressive, is also being removed from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And too many others to count.

This is where the Ministry of Truth expects me to tell you about "peaceful" protests. So, please ignore the next paragraph about the beating of a Wisconsin state senator the other night. And he's a Democrat.

"I don't know what happened," Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after he was assaulted for taking photos of protesters. "... All I did was stop and take a picture. And the next thing I'm getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head."

As he rolled on the ground getting kicked, I bet he was glad he wasn't a Republican.


But what of the Princesse de Lamballe?

Let's just say that she supported the ideals of the French Revolution until she saw what actually happens in a revolution. Her trial lasted about five minutes. She expressed her support for the revolution but would not denounce the queen.

They took her outside. They didn't even use a guillotine. Later her head was paraded on a pike before the queen's window to the joy of the revolutionaries.

All I ask is that her head be left on. And that on the base of the statue, this from a writer who we won't be allowed to mention. George Orwell was his name, but please, put down that face cage with the rat:

"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."

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