Art

Modern Art Critic Assumes 1939 Painting Is All About Homophobia. It's About Murderous Union Thugs.

Paul Cadmus's Herrin Massacre is "The Painting Our Art Critic Can't Stop Thinking About." If only he'd thought harder.

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I was flipping through the latest New York when a headline caught my eye: "The Painting Our Art Critic Can't Stop Thinking About." I also can't stop thinking about it, mostly because it seems to me the critic wildly misrepresented the work.

The critic in question is no slouch: Jerry Saltz, a Pulitzer Prize winner. The painting is Paul Cadmus's Herrin Massacre, from 1939. It depicts an angry mob brutally murdering a group of men in a cemetery field. Here it is.

Herrin
Herrin Massacre by Paul Cadmus

Herrin Massacre attracted Saltz's attention because it was recently featured in "The Young and Evil," a group exhibition "on the homosexual body in America as rendered by gay and bisexual artists from 1929 to 1957." Cadmus, a gay man, paid "obvious sensual attention to the male body," according to Saltz, who repeatedly comments on the themes of sexual violence and intolerance in the work.

"Amid the mob of angry men, one lone, slight, blond boy casts his eyes aside and down," observes Saltz. "We may surmise that he is like those already killed: perhaps homosexual and forced to live in his private closet of fear, shame, guilt, and secrets." In the print edition, this is Saltz's closing thought­—one that leaves readers with the distinct impression that this a massacre of gay men.

But as Saltz briefly acknowledges, in a single sentence, the subject of Herrin Massacre is a real historical event: a mob attack that resulted in the deaths of 23 strikebreakers in Herrin, Illinois, in 1922. The Herrin massacre had nothing to do with homophobia; it was a labor dispute that ended with union workers massacring a bunch of people who had been hired to replace them.

On April 1, 1922, the United Mine Workers of America launched a national strike. This was bad news for the Southern Illinois Coal Company, which was massively in debt and negotiated with the union to allow some workers to keep digging. Eventually, negotiations went south, and the company's owners brought in outside help. Some 50 workers from Chicago arrived at the coal mine, unaware that they were crossing picket lines. On June 21, union workers attacked the strikebreakers, who surrendered after a skirmish. A mob then marched the captives away from the mine and massacred at least 18 of them. None of the killers faced justice; 90 percent of the county's workforce belonged to the union, and sympathetic juries acquitted the workers.

This is a fascinating chapter in the history of American labor, and one that we don't often revisit. For modern progressives, unions are generally the good guys—an important branch in the tree of intersectionality. (Though they occasionally cause trouble. Trump attracted some union support.) Cadmus reminds us that they could be thuggish; in his painting, he portrays the unionists as ugly, sullen, drunken, murderous brutes.

It's not that the painting is devoid of gay content—the victims are shirtless and ripped—but to portray it as an obvious metaphor for anti-gay violence is to insert modern grievances where they don't belong. This is "The Painting Our Art Critic Can't Stop Thinking About," and yet it seems he didn't think very hard.

For anyone who suspects I'm being too harsh, note that Saltz laments in his review that "Corporate-American Life," the magazine that commissioned the painting, "never reproduced the picture." Readers are left with the implication that the painting was too risqué, too transgressive for the heteronormative rubes at Life.

In reality, Life declined to publish the painting "most likely because the magazine did not wish to offend organized labor just as the nation was gearing up for war production," according to the Columbus Museum of Art.

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  1. It’s fun to reimagine history.

    1. The amount of historical revisionism on the progressive left is as bad as that of the neo-Confederates.

      1. Are you telling me that Trump did not conquer most of Europe from the Wolf’s Lair?

        1. Nothing’s as bad as the modern reincarnatino of the “noble savage fallacy”. I just read some other dumb piece in the NYT about the Canary Islands and it stated that Europeans introduced slavery to the island. There is a 95% the native islanders, who were descendants of various African peoples, including the Berbers, already had a system that involved slavery, just like every other civilization on Earth. The author just assumes they were a peaceful, harmonious, nature-loving people before the evil white people showed up.

          Only white people aren’t allowed to whitewash the horrible aspects of their history and ancient culture. Many Native Americans and descendants of Mesoamericans still deny that they ever had human sacrifices or scalped people or had slaves before Europeans showed up, despite tons of undeniable archaeological evidence.

          1. Well, come on. Besides the fact that most people are essentially ignorant of factual history (i.e. morons), we now live in the post-truth era. And progressive academics have said so, giving license for all of us to believe in whatever version of reality we want. Creative genders, anyone?

            1. Earth Skeptic’s suggestion that there is no such thing as the “truth” is based on very solid legal president. Furthermore, we should indeed “believe whatever version of reality we want.” As for the notion that we should “think harder” (see the subtitle of Robby’s article above) this is clearly an unacceptable interference with alternative reality. Furthermore, it would hamper law enforcement efforts. What would have happened, for example, if New York authorities had “thought harder” about our nation’s leading criminal “parody” case? Arguably, the result would have been mayhem on our college campuses. See the documentation at:

              https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

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          2. Read the Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow….Native Americans were killing each other way before the white man ever appeared in their midst!

            1. Yah, but they didn’t use guns. They used natural weapons.

            2. The accuracy of the Song of Hiawatha has been questioned for a long time. See Wikipedia for pros and cons.

              You might want to read “War Before Civilization” by Lawrence Keeley. He makes a case based on ancient fortifications and other evidence that ancient people (on various continents, including North America) had reason to mistrust each other.

              Besides, Hiawatha didn’t bother too much about Minnehaha and her tender touch.

          3. Considering the fact that most North Africans, like the Berbers, are white, and share the same genetic heritage as the the rest of the Mediterranean basin (Southern Italians, Corsicans, Greeks, Spanish, Lebanese, French Occitans, etc.), the author sounds particularly retarded.

          4. You’re talking out your ass. DNA testing, of the remains of early inhabitants, demonstrates that the original settlers of Easter Island were Polynesian. To the extent there is any evidence to the contrary, it points to some early contact with native Americans, but that is based on DNA tests of modern, living residents, who have interacted with various races.

            There is no DNA or archeological evidence whatsoever of pre-European settlement by African. Moreover, there is no archeological that Africans had the ability or experience for any long Pacific open-ocean navigation or settlement.

            1. Umm. I think he was talking about the Canary Islands which are in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. Not Easter Island which is in the Pacific off the coast of Chile.

              You said something about talking out your ass ?

      2. Yankees are the revisionists.

        1. Not true! It’s the Red Sox! Apologize to the ghost of the Bambino….

      3. The amount of historical revisionism on the progressive left is as bad as that of the neo-Confederates.

        Not even close by a mile. The Neo-Confederates have a pretty narrow lane limited to a rather tight timeline and tend to stick to it (not to mention it’s usually centered around a conflict where the most accurate narrative could rightfully be… conflicted).

        Progressive historical revisionism knows no bounds.

        1. Well, it might be slightly more complicated, but there are clear and explicit records from the time period that make it clear that the elementary school narrative is broadly correct. Not least of which are the articles of secession and the Confederate Constitution. These are an unquestionably valuable source almost unmatched in history. they explicitly stated why they were seceding and what changes they wanted to make to the Constitution to make it better.

          The central point: keeping slaves. Everything else was deeply secondary.

          The problem with the neo-confederates is that they try and push these secondary motives as the primary ones mostly to delude themselves into thinking that their ancestors weren’t evil.

          I actually can understand that motive a lot better than progressives. Even though it is dangerous in the fact that we are ignoring the important lessons of history.

          1. Well, it might be slightly more complicated, but there are clear and explicit records from the time period that make it clear that the elementary school narrative is broadly correct.

            So, your argument in defense against the Neo-Confederates is that the Civil War might’ve been slightly more nuanced than an elementary school narrative but that the slightly oversimplified elementary school narrative is essentially correct? And you’re taking a side against them in the name of anti-revisionism, correct?

            Because the war was a lot bigger, a lot longer, and encompassed many, many factors that weren’t in the articles or constitution.

            1. weren’t in

              “weren’t in” isn’t correct. “Couldn’t have been in” is better.

            2. There’s a big difference between an historical event that is basically forgotten/ignored v one that is deliberately distorted in order to be (mis)remembered and sell a bogus revisionist narrative.

              1. There’s a big difference between an historical event that is basically forgotten/ignored v one that is deliberately distorted in order to be (mis)remembered and sell a bogus revisionist narrative.

                Sure is. Forgotten/ignored history is much easier to successfully overwrite.

                And, again, are you taking the side that says the slightly-modified elementary-school narrative is the effective and encompassing truth? Omission is as much revisionism as injection. Sic Semper Tyrannis doesn’t make much sense in the frame of “articles and the constitution and nothing but the articles and the constitution”.

                1. Yes it is easier to overwrite the ignored. It is also totally freaking pointless since — who pays any attention to what is being ignored?

                  the effective and encompassing truth

                  I know enough about WHY the Lost Cause narrative came to be written after the war to recognize that 99% of neoconfederate stuff is NOTHING but Lost Cause crap.

                  Why did the war actually happen? Because the planterocracy DID effectively run the country. After the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act and Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott, it became obvious to the majority in the North that they would have to compete with slavery in the western territories and in free states be required to help catch runaways or go to jail themselves. So they reacted by voting for the new party (GOP) that redefined the slavery issue that had been previously ignored for 60 years.

                  And in response to that, the Fire Eaters of the south encouraged secession – not in order to be ‘left alone’ but delusionally because they actually thought they could bring the North to its knees (see King Cotton speech)

                  Yeah – it was about slavery. Which is not at all the same thing as being about equal rights for blacks or even abolitionism.

                  1. Yes it is easier to overwrite the ignored. It is also totally freaking pointless since — who pays any attention to what is being ignored?

                    Nobody. That’s why it’s so easy to invent and spread any narrative you like. It’s like you don’t even know how revisionist history works.

                    And in response to that, the Fire Eaters of the south encouraged secession – not in order to be ‘left alone’ but delusionally because they actually thought they could bring the North to its knees (see King Cotton speech)

                    Because only the South had the audacity to declare itself a king, silence the press, abrogate free speech, imprison and kill innocent citizens and non-combatants, and issue military proclamations over defeated territories that didn’t apply to aligned territories?

                    Yeah – it was about slavery. Which is not at all the same thing as being about equal rights for blacks or even abolitionism.

                    Weird. Even my over-simplified elementary school narrative managed to hit the “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” story arc. Funny that your even simpler narrative seems to have omitted it entirely.

                    1. That’s why it’s so easy to invent and spread any narrative you like.

                      Well let me repeat myself then. Who cares what you’re spreading if no one gives a damn what you’re spreading. The whole point of a false narrative is to replace something else that people are actually attached to.

                      Because only the South blahblahblah

                      Obviously timelines are not your thing. Hint – things that occur AFTER a war begins are almost assuredly not what caused the war to break out in the first place. eg – Japan did not bomb Pearl Harbor because we nuked Hiroshima.

                    2. Well let me repeat myself then.

                      You already convinced me you know precisely dick about false narratives and revisionist history.

                      Who cares what you’re spreading if no one gives a damn what you’re spreading.

                      Lots of reasons, alarm fatigue, the Overton window, disinformation, etc. Generate enough different narratives specifically to the point that people stop caring about which ones are false and which ones are true.

                      The whole point of a false narrative is to replace something else that people are actually attached to.

                      This assumes you know the motives of the people advancing the narrative and the desired outcome of any revisionism.

                    3. Obviously timelines are not your thing. Hint – things that occur AFTER a war begins are almost assuredly not what caused the war to break out in the first place. eg – Japan did not bomb Pearl Harbor because we nuked Hiroshima.

                      You are aware that the unquestioned facts of the matter are that the first death in anger of the Civil War were a Union officer and a civilian when Lincoln ordered the flag removed from private property, right? I’m not saying slavery wasn’t a cause of the war and, in lots or even most minds *the* cause of the war, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case for Lincoln to represent massive executive overreach bordering on tyranny. Wars are allowed to have more than one cause and, despite your single-minded understanding of cause and effect, multiple narratives can co-exist simultaneously. Slavery was ended in other nations without killing millions of their own people. The war and resulting abolition quite arguably killed more freed-slaves passively than the policies of slavery did in the years leading up to the war. It would by no means be the first time an overbearing government went too far paving its way with good intentions.

                    4. You are aware that the unquestioned facts of the matter are that the first death in anger of the Civil War were a Union officer and a civilian when Lincoln ordered the flag removed from private property, right?

                      See that’s the problem when you’re trying to fit history to a narrative in your head. You fuck it up and it’s easy to get caught too. You’re talking about Alexandria in MAY 1861? There were deaths in the Baltimore riot (one week after Fort Sumter) and the St Louis massacre (couple weeks before what you’re talking about – and like Fort Sumter again a direct attempt to take over the federal arsenal there). Prob others that i can’t recall.

                      Not to mention that even if you want to look at the civil war thru the eyes of violence then ‘Bleeding Kansas’ – as early as 1855 – is where you’d start since THAT actually did introduce all the main issues/actors/actions that led inevitably to Civil War nationwide because the ‘middle-road’ (Douglas’ popular sovereignty) led to violence too.

                      Slavery was ended in other nations without killing millions of their own people.

                      Nowhere else was slavery lauded as a positive good. Which was the case in the South from at least 1837 on (see Calhoun speech then). Course that doesn’t fit the Lost Cause narrative either.

                  2. the planterocracy DID effectively run the country.

                    Bullshit. If they ran the country, the north wouldn’t have been able to impose the Tariff of Abominations on them.

                    -jcr

                  3. Lets not forget that the total value of ALL INDUSTRY in the South was less than the value of the slaves.
                    Those slaves were also used as collateral for loans.
                    If the slaves were taken away as a asset that could be mortgaged, the southern banks would have been wiped out and the northern banks would have swooped in and dominated.
                    That is why so many “solutions” to end slavery involved compensation for owners for lost slaves and why the plantations were wiped out instead of being able to hire the former slaves as share-croppers or whatever.

                    It would be like if the government said that every home mortgage was illegal.
                    The banking system and everything business that lives off home sales would be wiped out.

                    Follow the money and see why things happen.

              2. Progtards gotta progtard.

          2. “The central point: keeping slaves. Everything else was deeply secondary.”

            One could rephrase that as “not having their economy immediately destroyed”.
            Your contention that everything else was deeply secondary is shallow analysis borne of progressive indoctrination.
            Slavery was the pivotal issue, but you have to examine why it was the pivotal issue.

            1. “not having their economy immediately destroyed”

              In what way? If you mean the tariffs, they’d hurt the planters, but not destroy the southern economy. Similar protectionist tariffs had been imposed before – and enforced with the threat of military force by a planter from Tennessee, Andrew Jackson, because he knew keeping the union together was more important than the economic issues of his own class.

              Or do you mean freeing the slaves? Lincoln was _not_ going to do that, until it became a tactic to help win the war, over 2 years into his first term. What he intended clearly was to ensure all new territories and states would be free – and that was unacceptable to the slaveocracy, but it wasn’t going to _immediately_ destroy their economy, nor could it do as much damage in the long run as four years of war fought almost entirely in the South did.

              Now, if they were abusing the soil to where their plantations played out and they had to move on, putting a western limit on the expansion of slavery would have gradually ended the plantation economy. Perhaps that is why the slavers were so desperate to keep adding new slave states that they rejected Stephen Douglas’s proposal to let each territory vote on slavery, splitting the Democratic party and enabling Lincoln to win. But there was another western limit on the plantation economy, one of geography and climate – there just weren’t going to be many cotton plantations past the longitude of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

              1. The point of adding slave states was to keep a balance int eh Senate so that slavery would not be rendered illegal.
                The southern banking systems depending on slavery because the slaves were used as assets for loans.

                That is what is meant by “not having their economy destroyed.”
                Just like the economy was destroyed when they lost a war they never had a real chance of winning.

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  3. It’s not that the painting is devoid of gay content?the victims are shirtless and ripped

    Uh, that’s not gay content.

    When you’re trying to escape a mob of bloodthirsty savages, you’re clothes ain’t gonna survive the encounter.

    1. Uh, that’s not gay content.

      Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen generating some gay content for the James Bond franchise.

      1. “Now the whole world is gonna know that you died scratching my balls.”

    2. disrobing captured people is also a form of humiliation perpetrated by many victors over the years.

      1. A lot of that included homosexual rape. Gaddafi, for instance.

    3. Yeah, the assumption seems to be that women don’t go for beefcake.

      1. I just figured that Robby, and by proxy all gay men, were into necrophilia. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but other times a naked male corpse bleeding from open wounds in a graveyard is a subconscious sexual metaphor.

  4. Tony will no doubt respond queerly.

    1. According to Tony, his butt is all clean after his latest gay butt cleaning.

  5. He starts off the short piece by describing “a mob of white men in colored caps”, while in the picture itself it clearly states that there is an Asian man and a black man helping lynch a guy by the tree. Jesus, I’ve never seen so much laziness and pretentiousness in so few words.

    1. The black man is also being lynched. There’s a rope around his neck. A handful of those killed strikebreakers were black. The major AFL unions were de facto segregated then – and part of the interunion conflict (not spec relevant for that massacre but part of the ‘soup of the day’) was between the Wobblies (not segregated and socialist) v the ‘collective bargaining’ AFL unions like the UMW.

      The 2nd iteration of the KKK outside the South was very much tied in with small-town unionism – where blacks and new immigrants would be ‘imported’ as scabs and blacks/Jews were also associated with more ‘extreme’ unions like IWW. Keeping all of them outside one’s town was exactly the goal of unions that were already well-established with a modus vivendi in small towns

      1. Funny, I see the black guy as pulling the rope by his L hand, not as one’s being around his neck.

        1. Yeah that black guy is totally one of the guys doing the lynching. The white dude slouched against the tree is obviously the dude being lynched. The black dudes who were killed in the actual incident before this one were union members.

      2. According to the story of what happened, only one guy was lynched. I don’t see a rope around his neck in the painting. Only the other end of the rope being used to hang the guy on the left, being held by someone to the right.

        1. According to the contemporaneous story, one man was hanged, two other men at the base of that tree were shot to death but had ropes around their neck

      3. re: “The black man is also being lynched.”

        I think you need to get your eyes checked. There’s only one rope in that painting and it is clearly around the neck of the (white) guy in the blue overalls. The rope goes over a tree branch at the top of the painting and back down to a (probably white) arm at right. There is only one black face in the picture. He is wearing a purple-ish shirt with a v-neck collar.

        The fact that other unions were “de facto segregated” has nothing to do with this particular labor dispute or the horrific crime that it led to.

        1. The guy in the overalls is the guy being hanged. From the link re the contemporaneous story:

          Getting into the woods where the butchery had reached its height, the AP correspondent came upon a man strung up to the stub of a broken tree limb. Lying on the ground a few feet distant were two other men, each with a rope around his neck. It did not appear they had been hanged but both were dead of bullet wounds.

          1. The guy on the ground being kicked by the woman is actually a different one – described elsewhere in the narrative as a wounded guy who was asking for a drink of water before he was killed. The woman (apparently carrying her infant in real life) kicked him and said

        2. I agree. Though do you really think that this union had black members? Or was the black guy participating just because he figured it was the best way to avoid being the next guy to swing?

          1. From the link below – apparently that UMW did have black miners in that county by 1922. Not many – the county is 3% black and Herrin is 1% even today. Most of the towns in that county however were also ‘sun-down’ towns. I find it near impossible to believe that a black UMW miner there would have participated in the massacre and then scurried on home to avoid getting caught in that town after sunset. A real disconnect there – esp since there had been a similar massacre of strikebreakers there 20 years before when all were black.

            In theory I guess it’s possible he’s part of the attackers. But I swear I do see what looks like a noose (not the rope itself but the noose) around his neck. The arm pulling the rope is very white

            1. i saved the pic and blew it up on photoshop (it doesn’t really blow up very well). The black guy is just watching. What looks like a noose is just a shadow along his jaw line. The guy pulling the rope is just behind and to his left, and just a little of his face is showing. Part of the confusion is the rope being pulled is at the same angle it would be if the black guy were being lynched, but he isn’t.

            2. Go to a high resolution image of the original, not just the small version in the article above. Not only is it clear that there is no rope around the black man’s neck, you can see the angry expression on his face as he watches the man being hung.

              By the way, I disagree with colorblindkid’s assertion that the painting also contains an Asian man. I assume that he was referring to the light-skinned older man to the immediate right of the black man. In the larger image, the hairstyle and facial features are inconsistent with most asians. It’s possible that character was supposed to be asian. It seems more likely to me that the artist was trying to represent a shopkeeper, clergyman or clerk – someone older with an indoor profession who supposedly should have known better than to participate in such an event.

      4. More info re the KKK in that county soon after the massacre. Apparently, it didn’t actually organize until after the massacre and in theory it was organized to clean up the county’s bad reputation caused by the massacre. But those who covered it up were also prominent in organizing the Klan so it was probably more a way to blame the massacre on local Catholic miners and booze. Freaking weird and violent as hell local history.

  6. You don’t know much about art criticism if you think a work is “about” whatever the artist thinks it’s about.

    And the painting isn’t about homophobia either, it’s obviously a commentary on the patriarchal authoritarianism of the Catholic Church.

    1. You’re crazy! It’s obviously a purely formal exploration of Renaissance concepts of narrative.

  7. For modern progressives, unions are generally the good guys

    That’s absolutely hilarious. Obviously, progressives have not visited Philly recently. Get in an argument with Johnny Docs boys at the union bar or some of the guys at the carpenter’s union and you’ll see how good they are.

    1. Unions are the good guys. The people in the union are the great unwashed which need the enlightened leadership of the Party to improve them.

  8. The critic in question is no slouch: Jerry Saltz, a Pulitzer Prize winner.

    Poor Robby. He thinks winning a Pulitzer Prize means that you are good at journalism, literature, or music.

    Its like the Nobel Prize being given for achievements of peace via drone murders.

    1. Or even before the drone strikes – – – –

  9. “but to portray it as an obvious metaphor for anti-gay violence is to insert modern grievances where they don’t belong”

    Ah, but inserting modern grievances where they don’t belong pretty much sums up the vast majority of modern criticism.

    1. Inserting things where they don’t belong pretty much sums up…never mind, this is a family Web site.

      1. Oh, go ahead. It’ll make you feel better.

      2. If you think his is a family site, you haven’t read many posts

    2. This.

      And it’s fucking foul. I mean, how dare people from the past not live by my modern sensibilities!

    3. As with everything nowadays, there isn’t enough actual anti-gay violence to merit the hysteria and give us enough victimhood so they have to find it in other places or make it up.

      1. Bingo! That pretty much sums up the entire grievance industry, so it comes down to what I thought you might have said that offends me.

        1. I’m willing to bet more people are killed for being gay in most Middle Eastern or African countries every year than were killed for it in the entire history of the US.

  10. Though this does present a downside to jury nullification. Union sympathizers on the juries deciding on their own that killing scabs is not really a crime.

    1. Local government in southern Illinois was basically a union appendage, so they were show trials right from the get go.

      Even as late as the 80s, when miners would strike in southern Illinois, they could throw caltrops onto mine roads, and commit other sorts of property damage and the Sheriff would look the other way.

    2. There are two aspects of jury nullification which seem to get confused –

      The first is acquitting people the jury believes to be guilty, based on the jury’s assessment of a broader public interest – which can be a good or bad thing based on whether the enforcement of legal penalties would have been a good or bad thing (punishing union-affiliated killers would have qualified as a good thing).

      The second form of so-called “nullification” is when the jury simply interprets the law differently than the judge does – think of that case a few years back when the judge excluded a potential juror from a federal drug case because the guy dared to question whether the federal drug laws were constitutional.

      1. Yes, the problem being that you cannot separate the good and bad uses of jury nullification. Arguing for the good uses inevitably enables the bad uses. The preventive is the integrity of the juries.

    3. Since abstractions cannot rule physical persons, the only choices are between self-rule and other-rule. Self-rule always has the possibility of breaking down as illustrated, but other-rule has a positive tendency toward oppression. Until we get robot-rule, no other choice.

    4. There was also jury nullification in ku-klux cases, as literarily exposed by Mark Twain in “Hucklebery Finn”

  11. “The Painting Our Art Critic Can’t Stop Thinking Hopping on His Jump to Conclusions Mat About,”

    Fixed it for them.

  12. Cadmus reminds us that they could be thuggish…

    Speak to a lifelong labor union member. They can be Mafia-like.

    1. Mafia-like? I guess you forgot who ran the northeast industrial unions for decades. To paraphrase Thornton Mellon, it wasn’t the boy scouts.

  13. The specific part of the massacre this painting is depicting was especially gruesome:

    “Six strikebreakers were recaptured and ordered to remove their shirts and shoes. They were told to crawl to Herrin Cemetery.[13] By noon a crowd of about 1,000 spectators had gathered at the cemetery. They watched as the strikebreakers were roped together, and union men took turns beating and shooting them. They were also urinated upon. Those still alive at the end had their throats cut by a union man with a pocketknife. Townspeople came to watch and taunt the dead and dying along the route to the cemetery. A reporter tried to give a dying man some water and was told that if he did, “he wouldn’t live to see the next day.”[13]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H…..d_massacre

    1,000 spectators. It sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone or Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”.

    1. art often depicts life, even Frankenstein is not to far off when we think about re using body parts

    2. or Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”

      *Cue obligatory OBL comment about Trump’s America and A Handmaid’s Tale.*

      1. The Left is far liklier to enact THE HANDMAIDENS TALE than Trump.

  14. Strangely, despite my interest in U. S. History, I never heard of this incident. I’m the one to blame for my ignorance, of course, though I should add that I *would* have known of it by now if the victims had been, say, IWW organizers, since those sort of lynchings are what mainstream history focuses on.

    1. This too.

      I’d never heard of this either. And now that I do, I’m not at all shocked why I was never taught this in school. I know exactly why.

    2. The worst mass lynching in American history was of a bunch of Italians in New Orleans. but only black oppression sells and fits today’s narratives.

      1. The worst mass lynching in American history was of a bunch of Italians in New Orleans.

        One of the worst.

        Not to undermine your point about omitting facts to fit history to narratives, I just wouldn’t want you to get lumped in with the revisionist Neo-Confederates.

    3. Honestly, its not really common knowledge for locals.

      Grew up about 30 miles from Herrin. I only knew of this from random wikipedia browsing.

  15. Read “Meet You in Hell” for an honest history of the Homestead steel strike; regardless of union propaganda, it was the union thugs who attacked the Pinkerton security force.
    And Standiford is anything but a ‘capitalist tool’.

  16. But as Saltz briefly acknowledges, in a single sentence, the subject of Herrin Massacre is a real historical event: a mob attack that resulted in the deaths of 23 strikebreakers in Herrin, Illinois, in 1922. The Herrin massacre had nothing to do with homophobia; it was a labor dispute that ended with union workers massacring a bunch of people who had been hired to replace them.

    Maybe it identifies as a painting about homosexuality.

  17. I think all of us on the committee to determine the winner of the most obscure libertarian grievance column award can pack our shit in and go home.

    1. Hold your horses! Certain progressive critics have identified a gay subtext to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. They need to be corrected.

      1. I don’t know what’s gay about a sperm whale named Moby Dick.

  18. Never heard of this incident before in my life.

    Yet somehow, I know exactly who Emmit Till is…

  19. Was this a same sex union? Maybe that’s where inference originates.

  20. Why it is hard to believe anything a LEFTIST says,,, I mean Clinton and loads of the democrats knew for two years that the Trump never colluded with the Russians,,,

    The Republicans are not anywhere ear perfect but this example is not unique to the LEFT, it happens all the time.

    These are not HONEST differences of opinion they are false propaganda to push and ideological agenda.

    Feel free to list your examples of this, there are many from taxes, abortion, illegal immigration, support for NGOs, to support for Despots around the world… Pick a subject and someone will give you an example of what I am talking about.

  21. I’m liberterian because of social and cultural issues (I’m useless when it comes to finances and economics so I don’t bother piping up on it) so I love it when Reason features culture articles.

    I’m a fan of Jerry – he’s really put some interest back into the arts. He would always post Trump in drag images until people convinced him it was homophobic and he then begged for forgiveness! 😀

    Nice article, Rico.

  22. I’m liberterian because of social and cultural issues (I’m useless when it comes to finances and economics so I don’t bother piping up on it) so I love it when Reason features culture articles.

    I’m a fan of Jerry – he’s really put some interest back into the arts. He would always post Trump in drag images until people convinced him it was homophobic and he then begged for forgiveness! 😀

    Nice article, Rico.

  23. You don’t think I intended to post this twice?? Think again, cubicle fucks. I meant to do it to freak out the ScrollBy-ers.

    Shitheads.

  24. He couldn’t think any harder because he was thinking with his little head.

  25. What a fucking con man.

    No education, sets himself up to criticize others art.

    Becomes political of course and has twits following his tweets.

    Now using his con man influence for propaganda.

    What a waste of skin.

    1. He’s a shining example of the free market.

      Art is worth what this dipshit con man says.

    2. I don’t know what I hate more. Free speech or those who exercise it.

  26. From what I see, New York magazine does a lot of reinterpreting to fit their preferred narrative. I much prefer City Journal.

  27. “I was flipping through the latest New York”

    …looking for hair gel ads.

  28. All I know about art.

    “Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… now you tell me what you know.”
    Groucho Marx

    I do not see anything homosexual in that painting. Not any sexuality at all.

  29. It’s not quite Eric Zuesse, but this is exemplary Reason magazine journalism. Just as Republican looters are blind to reality and invent alternate truths less disconcerting, so too do the other less churchly looters filter and refract reality through their own glass, rosily. Somebody give Robby a prize for this one!
    Incidentally, a search on Zuesse using looter search engines goes for page after page without a word about the Love Canal expos? in Reason in 1981. I predict Robbie’s article will earn the compliment of being as pointedly ignored by looter intelligentzia of the LeftandRight for 30 or 40 years as well.

    1. No one reads your word salads anymore. Get on some meds

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  31. Of course the unions were “tuggish”. They were/are socialist organizations and brute force is and always will be one condition of socialism.

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  34. It’s always impressive how much having the right politics outweighs having no brain in many literary circles.

  35. The Herrin masacre is known in flyover land, with the monument to Mother Jones just an hour east of St. Louis. Mother Jones led worker rights movements in the Chicago and outstate illinois area beginning in the 1890’s. Corporate malfeasance was at it’s all time peek in that era; those who plaintively demand a ‘safe’ workplace now don’t know what it was like in the past.

  36. Yeah, there wasn’t even the internet.

  37. On principle I have no qualms with collective bargaining, if entered into voluntarily. The problem is that it never stops there.

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  40. The lesson being, “Don’t be a dirty scab.”

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