Sunday, March 11, 2012

The South is Avenged... at least one of the phrases witnesses to the Lincoln assassination heard John Wilkes Booth shout as he jumped to the stage from the presidential box. The other, and of course the most well known phrase that Booth bellowed to the audience at Ford's Theatre: Sic Semper Tyrannis!

Greetings Cosmic Americans! I wonder which of these phrases the Gettysburg Visitor Center employee had in mind when he or she decided to stock their gift shop with a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead? Both Kevin Levin and Brooks Simpson reported on this event - the story hit the Internet yesterday and didn't take long to find its way to the Civil War blogosphere.

I offer only a few words in critique. It entirely trivializes a dreadful chapter in the Civil War epic (as do many of the souvenirs available in Gettysburg gift shops - remember the Kitty Cats?). But worse yet, poor taste aside - the toy is pretty vulgar. For shit's sake - the man murdered the president.

Feel free to chime in.




  1. I have Ulysses S. Grant bobblehead - I bought it at Grant's Tomb in 2010. It's definitely a kitschy thing, and no doubt there are other examples including Confederates. Yet, a Booth one is despicable. Why not ones for other presidential assassins? I hope that they make no more.

  2. Yes - but a Leon Czolgosz bobblehead would probably not garner as much attention.

  3. What gift shop was it? I'm curious. Booth seems to be a bit of a stretch. I've bought numerous items in Gettysburg over the year. Never of him though. That being said I don't have a problem with them selling it. Gettysburg markets things to get people to buy them. It isn't like they are endorsing the assassination, just profiting from it. No problem here but it is a stretch.

  4. The original piece in the Evening Sun says it is in the Visitor Center book store. And really - I am not so much offended....I just find the bobblehead tawdry and in poor taste. Whatever...only a few were made - my guess is that they won't be around for long.

  5. The thought that strikes me is how many Southerners actually visit Gettysbutg.
    It's not like it's the most cherished memory of the war as it was their heaviest defeat.
    There is a very narrow market for such an item , SCV and League of the South members .
    They don't venture very far North.

  6. I often think that Gettysburg is a shrine to Confederate-leaning Southerners who go there and dream of what could have been. Of course, that stance is riddled with problems. Turning points - or the idea that the whole thing hinged on this one battle - I find troubling.

  7. The responses from the white ciitnezs of Troy, Alabama to this statue intrigue me. The period in which Parker created it is renowned for being the height of Jim Crow. We have this image of the white South being solidly pro-Confederate, constantly ingesting the Lost Cause narrative as if it was the Gospel. However, the outcry against Parker's Booth monument indicates that this was not the case. It could be the rejection of a radical's view, but it proves that the Solid South wasn't quite so solid.