Tonight we're going to party like it's 1995!

Did anyone else flash back to the last time Republicans won big in the midterms under a Democratic president last week?  I sure did when I heard the news that the Republicans once again were targeting a Smithsonian museum exhibition for being offensive to right-wing Republicans.  This article at Inside Higher Ed suggests parallels to the big Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition crisis of 1989, but I was thinking about the manufactured controversy of the planned Enola Gay exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum of 1994-95.  We were just talking about the Enola Gay controversy in my graduate seminar.  Our current graduate students know about this because it’s an important case study in public history, not because they remember it.  After all, most of them were in grade school in 1994-95.  Then, lo!  Another flashback to the culture wars of the late 1980s and 1990s announced itself when that very evening I learned about the new stink over “Hide/Seek” at the National Portrait Gallery, and the rather craven response by the museum immediately to pull the offending video.


Good times with bad history and bad art criticism!  If it’s kulturkampf  they want, it’s kulturkrieg they’ll make.  And with Newt Gingrich threatening to run for President in 2012, it’s looking like we’re going to party like it’s 1995.

0 thoughts on “Tonight we're going to party like it's 1995!

  1. Two things that kind of jump out at me here are, first, Reps. Boner and Cantor indulging in the media-abetted phantasm that they are about to “control the government” by virtue of controlling one half of one of its three branches. This kind of talk has been going around ever since November 3 and nobody’s really challenging it. And, the other dood’s histrionic angst about the alleged “kinkiness” of Degeneres’ “grabbing her own breast.” Aren’t they the party of personal liberty and keeping the government out of people’s private lives? Now that they “are” the government, however, I guess it’s a different story. What about all those professional athletes scratching their own rear ends on national t.v.? Maybe they can work something about that stuff into an omnibus reconcilliation bill or something like that. Really.


  2. sadly, despite the SCOTUS’ claim to be above the political fray, methinks we’ll have to acknowledge that the republicans control at least 1.25 of the 3 branches of government… (not that this does anything to change your point, Indy’ … it’s just that I worry that the likely-to-be-decades-long rightward tilt of the Court is the most problematic ‘control’ around).

    Weren’t the culture wars mostly just a distraction from things that really mattered the first time around as well? Grr…


  3. Pingback: No sabbaticals in “I-O-WAAAAY?” : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

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