Thursday, June 03, 2004


Lileks thinks the ACLU's anti-cross crusade (against the official seal of the City of Los Angeles) is a case of bad prioritization. He's right. We need a legal concept that protects historical artifacts and customs against being destroyed in the name of modernity. It should be a balancing test (the law is chock full of these anyway): balance the harm caused by the historical artifact/custom against how cool it is. Kind of a laches concept, but dusted with aesthetics.

Italy has such a legal concept. It protects the reenactment of the battle of St. Constantine involving guys on horses trying to push other guys off their horses with sticks, all while galloping at break-neck speed around an old church ringed with cheering townspeople. Horses get hurt, people get hurt (all of which is lovingly videotaped and played over and over again in slow motion for visitors so we can understand the full glory of the experience even though it is late at night and I am dead tired and I don't understand the dialect). Of course, Italy has laws against cruelty to animals (and, I suppose, endangering spectators) all of which are violated by this spectacle. But it's cool, and it's been around for a long time so it's allowed to continue and I hope to go back and see it again someday.

Plus, come se dice, "slippery slope"? Dustbury admits that Oklahoma City's seal has a cross in it too. Eugene Volokh points out that the Spanish translation of "Los Angeles" is even more churchy than the seal and suggests that it be renamed. Then there's the Warrior "Monk"! Well, perhaps the ACLU could do some good there...


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