A Holiday Jumbo! The Non-Racist Confederacy/Nazi Enthusiast

In Billy Rose’s spectacular musical “Jumbo,” Jimmy Durante was confronted by a sheriff as Jimmy tries to tiptoe off with the largest elephant in captivity trailing on a rope behind him. In answer to the officer’s question, “Where are you going with that elephant?”,  the immortal Schnoz answered, innocently, “Elephant? What elephant?”

Sadly, “Jumbo” will never be produced again: too old, too expensive, too politically incorrect (it’s about the traditional circuses that had trained animals, like elephants, in their shows). Nonetheless, Jimmy’s tradition is alive and well, if you can call denying what is obvious to anyone “well.”

In Des Moines, Iowa, William Stark has painted Confederate battle flags and swastikas on pallets around his property, which is next to an elementary school. Nice. Morris Elementary has released a statement denouncing Stark’s display, which the students, who are about 60% black and Hispanic, can see when they come and go from the school, and from the playground.

Stark says he can’t imagine what their problem is. “They don’t know their history, evidently,” he protests. “That’s the only reason I can think of that they can think anything bad about it—they don’t know their history.”

I wonder what history he’s referring to.

Stark denies that there’s anything about his Nazi-Confederacy display that suggests racism, thus entering “Racism? What racism?” into the Ethics Alarms Jumbo log.

“It’s a free country,”  Stark adds. “I’ll put it out there if I want to.”

Verdict: Racist asshole.

Here’s Willy and his “non-racist” artwork:

He does have a Christmas wreath on his door, however….

11 thoughts on “A Holiday Jumbo! The Non-Racist Confederacy/Nazi Enthusiast

  1. Verdict from the jury: Complete and unredeemable asshole, and perfectly legal. There is a price to pay to have freedom, and that means we have to deal with assholes. This is a great opportunity to teach the children about history and our constitution.

    • He has to sleep at some point.

      And things can always be repainted.

      I’m not advocating anyone do anything illegal…at a minimum nothing physically injurious to a person.

      But we can all make our own decisions and risk the consequences.

  2. Verdict: Racist jerk and deliberate troublemaker. However, telling him he has to remove it is a slippery slope. What else must be removed?

  3. I view this very differently — apparently, and I guess obviously — than anyone here. I want to understand what his mind-frame is. And to that end I have made significant efforts.

    Michael West indicated that ‘he will have to sleep at some point’ and indeed he did. And his home, that *art*, his truck and his property were vandalized. What is interesting is that Michael supports this. Now, a mob will pursue him for all his *natural days*.

    In addition to having Confederate themed art, he also had American flags there. And he could be approaching his Nazi symbolism more from the angle of George Lincoln Rockwell: a strange American eccentric who yet had very very American views. Having read numerous of his articles — there are some of his talks on YouTube — he has a peculiar perspective that fits right in with traditional American chauvinism. Is he ‘evil? No. He clearly explains all his reasons in rational and lucid terms in fact. Was he misguided? Mistaken? There an actual argument could be made.

    What rises up around this incident is more interesting — more revealing, more relevant in some ways — than this man’s actions: His house and property are attacked; a vigilante mob rises to the occasion; the word goes out nationally and internationally; and even the local Sheriff speaks about ‘banding together’: that is, comes out in tacit support of the mob who will now descend on him.

    One would get more out of understanding why this is happening, and why people like this man exist, and what they think and why, than jumping to specific conclusions.

  4. Willie Stark. Gotta love the name. This is right out of Faulkner. Or Dickens. Or “The Canterbury Tales.”

    Assholeness is a large component of human nature. It’s folly to think it can be eradicated by legislation or governmental policy.

    This is truly a teaching moment for the kids at that school. “Hey kids, you know what? There are some really terrible people in the world. Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide whether the terrible people outnumber the good people and conduct your lives accordingly. With any luck, there are enough good people around you to help you with your decision. But ultimately, it will be up to you. And by the way, you don’t have to make your decision any time soon. You’re young, take your time.”

  5. “What rises up around this incident is more interesting — more revealing, more relevant in some ways…”
    But not surprising anymore. A significant portion of the American left have become advocates and agents of what are essentially lynch mobs of a sort they not so long ago rightly decried. Goes hand-in-hand with their turn from being champions of freedom of expression. The odd part, to me, is that American “conservatives” are now liberal, and “liberals” are increasingly totalitarian.

    But the guy still seems to be an attention seeking jerk that should probably just be ignored by most, and keep his art to himself and his friends.

    • The odd part, to me, is that American “conservatives” are now liberal, and “liberals” are increasingly totalitarian.

      Man, you got that right.

      These stories — like this one that got national exposure — have to be carefully looked at before jumping to conclusions. In this case the ‘surface’ conceals a different ‘reality’. He is not what he seems — not what people assume he is (and must conclude because they can only see *surface*). (I looked at every available article and interview).

      The mob only sees *surface* and they then attack what they *see*, but what they see is more a projection than it is of reality.

      If one only sees surface, and if one attacks surface as the media-systems invite people to do, and as the surrounding people want to do because they are motivated by *justice* or various other sentiments and ideas, I suggest a greater injustice is done. For example, two women protestors said these signs ‘promoted violence’ or ‘incited violence’. Quite wrong! The signs do nothing. You are not only inciting violence you then engage in violence. So, the real truth is different.

      This is a perfect case and it demonstrates it nearly perfectly.

      What I notice is that people are *in their world* and their world is one quite often different from other people’s worlds. Each one *looks out* on things but they actually see quite differently.

      In order to understand people — this is my view — you have to make an effort to *see* the world they are seeing. And then one can make condemnations or commendations.

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