From a review in the Independent of an exhibition of Norman Rockwell’s art currently showing in London:

By the 1960s, Rockwell, whose wife had died, gave up the Saturday Evening Post to develop a different, more political type of illustration. It was partly out of a desire to engage with issues such as desegregation (he was on the side of civil rights out of an old-fashioned belief in equality)…

Here Dr. Boli stops reading, distracted by an intellectual puzzle. He is still puzzling, in fact, because he cannot answer this simple question: What other reason is there for being on the side of civil rights?

Dr. Boli has a confession to make that will probably disappoint many of his readers, which is that Norman Rockwell’s illustrations always give him a vaguely queasy feeling. But the review in the Independent made him want to leap to Rockwell’s defense. Mr. Rockwell and Dr. Boli do at least share an old-fashioned belief in equality; and if it is old-fashioned, then Dr. Boli will take care never to allow his own beliefs to be brought up to date.


  1. RepubAnon says:

    Funny, I thought that equality was a relatively newfangled idea. Jim Crow laws, racially restrictive covenants, pogroms, and the like were seen as fairly normal up until recently… and there’s always Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” for the more poetic version of anti-equality views.

  2. Some folk seem to think that members of disenfranchised or persecuted minorities only seek “equality” and “civil rights” as a first step towards reversing the natural order of things and putting their group on top of the socio-economic totem pole, to oppress and exploit their former oppressors and exploiters. And to judge by recent changes in regime and government across much of the globe, yeah, that’s pretty much what happens sometimes.

    Take Iraq for instance. Under Saddam, the Sunni-Arab minority was on top, and it was their boot forever on the necks of the Shi’ite-Arab and Sunni-Kurdish minorities, with smaller minorities still like the Yazidis and Christian-Arab community more or less ignored so long as they didn’t make too much trouble. We came in and knocked over Saddam, and tried to establish a more equitable order of things. The Shi’ite-Arab majority accordingly took over via the power of the ballot box, and we didn’t think that odd. After all, they did outnumber everyone else. But they weren’t interested in being first-among-equals or simply having a larger slice of the national pie in accordance to their share of the population. They wanted it to be their boot on everyone else’s necks for a change. And the Sunnis weren’t happy about losing their favored place in the order of things and rebelled. They’re still rebelling, only now the rebellion has been hijacked by Sunni-extremist Islamic State and Shi’ite-extremist Iran has come to the aid of the Shi’ite-Arab Iraqi government.

    One reason Apartheid went on so long in South Africa was that even the more moderate Whites were terrified that a Black majority that got into a position of power commensurate with their numbers would want to exploit and oppress the White minority as thoroughly as the Whites had exploited and oppressed the Blacks for the past few generations.

  3. Sean says:

    Possible other reasons:

    Economic – Not wanting to lose the business of customers who you may be legally required or socially pressured to discriminate against

    Peer Pressure – Even if you don’t have a firm stance on equality, not wanting to look bad in front of progressive friends could be a powerful incentive.

    Cussedness – A desire to stick it to some other group that you hate even more.

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