The merit of Mount Rushmore

I went there once, I think in 1988.  To me it was a nightmare, aesthetically and otherwise.  The art of the monument was “not even as good as fascism.”  (Various Soviet-era memorials are far superior as well.)  I am not into the whole cancelling thing, but I didn’t feel I needed to pay additional homage to a bunch of well-known presidents.  The surrounding food scene appeared quite mediocre, although probably that has improved.  Overall it was crowded, tacky, and unpleasant, with absolutely nothing of value to do.

The main value of the scene was to liberate space and ease congestion in other parts of the universe, so I certainly hope they never abolish it.


Tyler taking some heat off his blog for a while....

When the mob finally comes around for Tyler for having visited a landmark of hate in (he thinks) 1988, he will be very confused. He said the right things, after all.

Before they go for Tyler, they will go for Barack and Bernie who praised the monument's beauty and message

As I just posted below, the problem with turning leftists' logic back on them is that it presupposes that they have logic. You have to have standards to have double standards, in other words, and they are not going to be able to overcome their own emotional response to the people they're told to follow to see that.

Just tell them that Mount Rushmore is a monument to the exceptional greatness of the American people, it commemorates heroes to the American nation, and you'll defend America to your death. Definitely don't apologize like Tyler and Alex, the left feeds on weakness and nothing says "weak" like economics professor.

And don't worry about the security of the monument itself, the good people of South Dakota, although regrettably only having the 18th highest rate of gun ownership in the country, will see to that.

“ the problem with turning leftists' logic back on them is that it presupposes that they have logic. You have to have standards to have double standards, … they are not going to be able to overcome their own emotional response to the people they're told to follow to see that.”

The problem with the above statement is that Shark Laser does not realize that it holds true to a much greater extent when one substitutes Trump supporters, Republican senators, or Shark Laser for the word leftists. And here is the test to show this is the case. Just substitute the word Obama for the word Trump for each statement and action by Trump (and vice versa) and ask what the response would be.

I have a hard time conceptualizing Obama giving a speech in front of Mount Rushmore and vowing to stamp out far-left fascism. Outside of that, you're "I'm peanut butter and you're glue" argument (with the "but it's much worse when you do it" multiplier) is not very entertaining.

Starting with the fact that President Obama was aware that far left fascism is an oxymoron, both in the eyes of fascists and in the eyes of the far left.

I, too, wish he would have called them what they are (i.e., far-left insurrectionists), but still: a) I can't envision Obama denouncing paid rabble-rousers, seeing as how he was formerly one; and b) I imagine you would have still had a problem with it.

only in postmodern sociologyland is an indepence day
speech at mt rushmore "divisive" 1,2,3,4, (another stupid buzzword)
but wreckoning, burning, looting, shooting and chunking bricks is
mostly peaceful protesting

1 newwoketimes.on
2 cnn.con
3 narrative propaganda radio
4 msnbc

Because I agree with this point, and because I don't see it made by anyone except me, I conclude that this is a good comment.

I also think the reasoning underlying it is important, because centrists and conservatives, rather surprisingly, don't think about it much.

Consider: non-leftists (and leftists!) often say things like, "leftists should worry about lowering standards of evidence for believing accusations of sexism, because once they lower the standards, accusations will boomerang against them." This line of reasoning assumes at least three things:
First, that people have a clear understanding of the standards at play.
Second, that analogous situations will be seen as analogous.
Third, that the standard will remain in place once we reach the point where the boomerang hits the leftist.

But there is good reason to deny all these assumptions.

Against the first assumption, that people have a clear understanding of the standards in play, the "believe women" case is instructive. When "believe women" was first articulated, in practice the standard meant: if a woman accuses a man of sexually assaulting her, you should believe her. But practices, of course, don't wear their proper interpretations on their sleeves. To many of us, "believe women" meant simply, "if a woman accuses a man of a sexual infraction, your first instinct should be to believe her." But it didn't *necessarily* mean that. There were a lot of meanings compatible with its practice. It could have meant "when a woman [liked by the most important people in our sense-making institutions] accuses a man [disliked by the most important people in our sense-making institutions] of a sexual infraction, you should believe her." There was no fact of the matter. So, what standard was in play was not clear.

The second assumption, that analogous situations will be seen as analogous, is easy to deny because, again, whether situation 1 is analogous to situation 2 is a matter of interpretation. If a woman accuses a powerful man of having committed a sexual crime many years ago, and there are lots of gaps in her memory, and many ways in which her story doesn't pan out, and she's politically interested, and the man has no record of having committed sexual assaults any time since, perhaps we're told not only to believe her, but that questioning her is evidence of misogyny. Then, when another situation emerges that has all the same features, we're told that the situations aren't analogous, either because of some factor that no one cared about before, or because of some factor that doesn't clearly seem relevant. It's the easiest thing in the world to find ways in which two situations are dis-analogous.

The third assumption, that the standard, once established, will remain in place, is also easy to contest. For instance, the rationale behind the "believewomen" movement is that only between 2 and 10% of sexual assault/harassment allegations are false. Consequently, if a woman accuses a man of sexual assault/harassment, then he probably did it (there's a base rate fallacy here, but whatever). However, imagine that in 2018 a woman accused a man of sexual assault, but then in 2020 a different woman accused a man of sexual assault. In that two-year time frame, who knows how much could have changed about the likelihood of a woman making a false accusation? Once "believewomen" is internalized, then perhaps the chances of false accusations increase, so it's likelier than it was before that a woman could make a fraudulent sexual assault allegation. And, it could be that, as long as the chance of a woman making a false sexual assault allegation is, say, between 2.1 and 10.1%, the earlier "believewomen" standard should no longer apply.

tl;dr (and yes, I know it's ttttttl), the idea that new standards set lasting precedents is just false.

re: the believe all women meme
there was an innocence project doc. about 10 years ago that suggested 80% of the dozen or so African americans in the film were falsely convicted of rape based mostly on misdentification by the women.
this was long before senator &frittata hirono (men shutup and standup)tried to frame Kavanaugh with the help of cnn.con and
that nutty avenatti lawyer

>To me it was a nightmare

Sure it was. I defy you to come up with anything that shows you used this word to describe your experience to anyone at all. You know that did not.

Over-rated? Dull? Hard to get to? Sure, we hear those all the time.

You want us to think you found it to be A NIGHTMARE? In 1988?

You only decided that when you found out Trump was giving a speech there.

It’s sad. Tyler and Alex are two of the most insightful, thought-provoking writers on the planet, yet they attract some rather unintelligent individuals, at least in their comment sections.

Cheer up, don’t get offended over a mountain.

I am not "Pants Apparatus," but I have always hated that thing, including in 1988. They should have left the mountain alone, and so should the Indians trying to memorialize Crazy Horse. Let them build a statue.

I agree on the Stalinist feel of Rushmore, which is no doubt why Trump wants his likeness added to the mountain. For my part, I think we should instead have a separate monument, necessarily small and obscure, for impeached presidents.

As for food, Spearfish has a few decent restaurants, including, surprisingly, an Italian place. You just don't want to be there this time of year, when the place is overrun by bikers—some the tough kind, some just dentists from Minneapolis.

Plenty of space left on Stone Mountain.

A rural state on ear mark welfare the otherwise is only capable of growing cows. They have a population less than a million, one of the dumbest governors around. We should cut them off from their ear marks.

You don't seem to understand how earmarks work. Congressional earmarks do not transfer money between states, they redirect money taxed in a state to do something the congressman wants to do in that state.

There do exist mechanisms that transfer money between states, but earmarks are not them.

We are changing that a bit. After the uprising we are going to hand cash to each state capital at each budget period. The cash will be about 3 billion per state capital. flat. This is the cash transfer account negotiated between House and Senate. A simple change, it will work wonders for efficiency. Partially solves a 250 old problem.

"A rural state on ear mark welfare the otherwise is only capable of growing cows. They have a population less than a million, one of the dumbest governors around."

Ah, liberalism. We knew you well. But now, thy name is bigotry.

Earmarks are a tiny fraction of the federal budget, and an even smaller fraction of domestic product.

The distribution of earnings in South Dakota is as follows:

Government & public enterprise: 15.9%
Health care & social assistance: 15.4%
Finance & Insurance: 10%
Manufacturing: 10%
Construction: 6.9%
Retail trade: 6.9%
Wholesale trade: 5.3%
Agriculture, fishing, forestry: 4.9%
Professional, scientific, & technical services: 4.4%
Accommodation & food service: 3.4%
Real estate: 1.7%
Information: 1.6%
Private education: 0.9%
Utilities: 0.8%
Arts, entertainment, recreation: 0.6%
Extractive industries: 0.3%
Misc.: 7.7%

South Dakota's employment-to-population ratio in 2019 - 0.667 - ranked 9th among the states.

MR satire gold, that is - The surrounding food scene appeared quite mediocre.

Along with an honestly entertaining observation that seems to have originated here, “not even as good as fascism.” Though an astute observer might say Mt. Rushmore is outsider art, with a commercial culture origin story, a triumph of capitalism uber alles The Minuteman missile national historic site probably was there in 1988, but not yet open to the public as a monument to state capacity, compared to the vision behind Mt Rushmore.

Personally, I had the same reaction to visiting the Grand Canyon in 2017 as Tyler had to Mt. Rushmore in 1988: the food was not up to my standards, the site was too crowded, and the scenery was inelegantly over the top,

Of course, admittedly, I was hung over, as the previous evening had been our very happy 30th wedding anniversary. But that left me worried that the next morning my poor wife might fall into the Grand Canyon.

There's two things worth seeing in the US: the Grand Canyon and Manhattan. Three things: the Grand Canyon, Manhattan, and San Francisco Bay.

Four: The Grand Tetons National Park. If you're able and interested in hiking into it, at least (it's somewhat crowded around Lake Jenny, but much less so once you gain some altitude above the valley).

Unfortunately food and accommodations in Jackson Hole remain overpriced, often pretentious, and of mediocre quality. As one would reasonably expect of this sort of tourist town.

Five: Yosemite Valley. Awe inspiring natural beauty, though the ant farm feel of bumper to bumper traffic did take away from the experience.

Six: The eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, which rises ten thousand feet above the desert below. Food scene? There is a French restaurant in Independence that is pretty good, if not quirky.

Oh come on, there are mountains all over the place. The GC and Manhattan are unique. SF Bay, if not unique, is perhaps equalled only by Sydney Harbour.

It's true that I prefer SH but I may be biased by having visited it more often and in more varied circumstances. It's ages since I last visited SF, and it was before it became a huge public lavatory, but I declare myself a huge fan.

I'll admit that there are little treats in the US that I remember with pleasure e.g. the French Quarter in Noo Awlins, a pretty suburb of Minneapolis, some Art Deco buildings in LA, ... But there's better elsewhere in the world.

San Francisco Bay is just a body of water with a bunch of cityscape surrounding it. I found it no more charming than Tampa Bay.

The American West has an amazing amount of scenery.

I spent a week rafting through the Grand Canyon. Of my many travel experiences, that may be my favorite. From what I've heard, visiting the tourist trap on the rim off of I-40 may be uninspiring (I haven't been there). But that doesn't take away from the Grand Canyon itself.

I also spent a week in Yellowstone NP. Visiting "Old Faithful" was the only 3 hours of the visit that I didn't enjoy. Tacky, touristy, crowded, traffic problems. The rest of the park is wonderful. It's important to get off of the beaten track.

What Tyler needed was some barbecued elk.

Unsurprisingly we have an American Fascist in our ranks. Posting under an ever changing pen name.

An elegant solution would be blasting most of the faces off of the monument since it would create an appropriately disgusting tableau achieving a true artistic metaphor. A gorgeous new world now ruined and defaced and left scarred by millions of ignorant obese white supremacists.

But he loves his script even more, since that is what he is paid to follow.

Killing symbols is a power play. The aesthetics are irrelevant.

Which of our (non-urban) National Parks/Monuments have a good 'food scene', in your opinion? I agree Mt Rushmore seems more a work of excess than a memorial to some great men. You can drive past on your way to someplace of more recreational (or cultural/historic) interest, which is what I'd advise.

Bar Harbor at leasts offer the chance for some fresh downeast cooking - fresh lobster or other seafood has a certain cachet, especially when you can talk with boat owners and sailors unloading their catch before you have it served.

Clearly you win the Internet for today. Gimme a New England lobster/clam bake.

Do national monuments count? Because there are a bunch in New York City.

Had a surprisingly delicious cafeteria around 5 years ago, probably the best I have ever experienced of such places at the Smithsonian / other historical sites.

I agree on Acadia. We had poppins (like a muffin) and tea at Jordan’s pond and I thought it was a scene out of a movie. Really beautiful setting.

This is a little silly, but you will not eat a better thing than the soft serve ice cream after a long hike in Zion National Park. You sit on grass under these huge trees and just enjoy the ice cream. Little slice of heaven.

It appears not all monuments are bad, but confederate soldiers and inappropriate sculptures (slaves in chains) will be removed and replaced. Maybe this should make us pause and think about how this may be how history is created and recreated and how what we know of the past may not be that accurate.


The food along the Sierra Nevadas (Sequoia, Yosemite, etc.) is good. Microbrews, gamey burgers, and even vegan fare for the millenial/Gen X crowd; excellent varieties of red wine and farm-to-table for the Boomers.

Jackson Hole WY, the town nearest the Grand Teton National Park has much better food than Rapid City.

Jackson Hole is the area, Jackson is the town.

It would be beyond dispiriting to find a "food scene" near a national park.

But there's a great breakfast/lunch spot outside Arches; look for the sign proclaiming it "Moab's first solar-powered coffee shop."

The beauty of a day spent in a park subsisting on granola, or noodles cooked on the camp stove, you are super-hungry for whatever fare is offered. Big Bend is probably the worst, food-wise, and the servers in some state of mental derangement, but you'll love it just the same.

Mt. Rushmore was literally conceived as a tourist destination so having a food scene would be in line with its buck-chasing origins.,_design,_and_funding

The little cafe in Moab makes my favorite cinnamon rolls anywhere. The best food in Big Bend is the stuff you cook yourself at a back country campsite in the middle of nowhere. That said, there’s excellent Texas brisket and live music to be had in Terlingua.

The Inn at Little Washington is within a few miles of Shenandoah National Park. I could eat a grand meal there and within 5 minutes or so begin a hike into the Park via Harris Hollow road.

The neighboring Black Hills however are worth a visit.

Ah yes, Tyler has gone full Straussian. It's been a while. Welcome back.

Alright Tyler, why not just cut to the chase ... what did you think of the speech? I was personally shocked he managed to stay on script for more than 30 minutes.

Better question. Who actually listens to his speeches?

That Trump is not a fascist in any way, shape, or form. A true fascist would never sully fascism's good name by attaching far left to it. The Fash bash the left, they aren't members of it.

We used to get "Democrats are the real racists!"

Now we get "Democrats are the real fascists!"

The answer is not to try to turn leftists' rhetoric back on them, and allow them to frame the argument. The answer is to say you don't care what leftists think is racist or fascist, you and most other normal people know what words mean, and you're going to keep saying what you believe and defending your values without apology. The left can't argue against the values themselves, we see that on this blog all the time. That's why they resort to violence and #cancellation.

What Trump should have done last night was declare a new independence, one from the leftist menace. Except this time we won't be the ones who are leaving.

As a moral and political foe of the president, I'm tremendously happy that he was not smart enough to pretend to unite the nation last night.

Of course if he were a genuine uniter, and a believer in the Constitution, I would not have to be a moral and political foe.

The nation is already united, against leftist insurrectionists. The problem is that the united people don't yet feel compelled to drive the insurrectionists out. One wonders how long that will last.

In terms of actual insurrectionists, the shoe might be on the other foot(*).

But it is actually a bigger deal that you and Donald lump the left with imagined criminal enemies, in order to make leftism itself a crime.

You and Donald think that law abiding American citizens with left-wing views are an "enemy."

Rather than just political foes.

* - Supplemental reading:

It's not that leftism is a crime per se; it's just a cancer to civilization. I don't know about you, but I like civilization. My ancestors worked hard to build one that I can enjoy, and I intend to improve it and pass it on to my descendants as well, for their sake, rather than have it destroyed by leftists with defective amygdalae.

And it is a bona fide insurrection. Paying people to loot and burn American cities is an insurrection. Tearing down a nation's monuments and erasing its history is an insurrection. Extorting people and businesses to endorse your twisted worldview, on pain of more violence and cancellation, is an insurrection. None of these things are rooted in simple political differences. We have a small minority of people actively working to uproot this nation and its values, to replace them with their own, against the wishes of the public. There's no other word for it.

The leftists like to tell us that silence makes one complicit. Well, since you're so "law-abiding", here's your chance to put that into action. Either you can denounce this activity, and work to defend America and American interests, or you can be evicted with the rest of the leftists. It's up to you.

So let's imagine the bell curve. At the center are centrists.

Where do the bad people start? One infinitesimal tick to the left?

Or alternatively, where the good people start? Do you actually have to be a ways out on the right side?


I personally don't think good or bad people map very well into the right left axis. There are good people who disagree on the best approach. As long as they all seek something good, humane, and just, great.

But there are also bad people in the world, and our goal should be to keep them from the buttons and levers of power.

After all this time, you still seem to misunderstand the problem. Not all people with views that might be described as left-of-center are leftists (although the vast majority are), nor is anyone with views that might be described as right-of-center absolved from being a leftist. It's simply a term of convenience, because leftists tend to gravitate towards leftist positions. There are many leftist "conservatives". Virtually all libertarians are leftists. Not all (but most) liberals are leftists, etc.

It's not, to a certain extent, a matter of good versus bad, either. As I often say, this is not a Harry Potter novel. There are plenty of leftists, such as yourself, who are simply dull, naive, and easily cowed. I'll be honest; I'm not really that worried about you. You do what you do because that's the way the political winds are blowing; when we give you the ultimatum, you'll return to normal and never look back. No hard feelings, forgive and forget, etc. I don't think you're bad at all, just maybe making some mistakes we can get past. Now there are plenty of evil leftists, mostly at the top. They know what they're doing, and they'll have to answer for it, one way or the other. But we're talking a minority.

Maybe it would be clearer to just say r-strategists, although that is not an entirely applicable term. You might remember Dubya saying, if you're not with us, you're with the terrorists. The reason that hits leftists so hard (as it did at the time, they reached levels of hysteria we wouldn't see again until you-know-who took office) is because it lays bare their out-grouping r-strategy.

As r-strategists, leftists seek to reverse their in-group and their out-group. In our current situation, that means they hate America and Americans (of the historic national type), but they love, for example, immigrants and immigrant cultures, or inherently anti-American causes such as BLM, etc. This is, psychologically speaking, a survival strategy from early humans. Your village gets invaded by a rival tribe, some villagers fight and die, and others may run and be chased down, but some may kneel and attempt to ingratiate themselves with the rival tribe so they can be spared. That's what leftists (or r-strategists, if you prefer) do. It doesn't work anymore, as the actions of the current mob should show, but that's where it comes from.

This is just an example, there are plenty of reasons why leftists (or r-strategists) are the way they are. Free resources, low threats, etc. But it's applicable to this point in time to focus on the in-grouping/out-grouping issue. Leftists want to tear down statues and destroy America in order to appease the new leaders of post-America, because they're terrified of being out-grouped.

The problem, of course, is that it only works as long as your actual in-group (i.e., normal Americans) doesn't catch on to what you're doing and out-group you first. We're catching on to what you're doing. So now might be a good time to decide if you're with us, or with the terrorists.

An interesting delve into the reactionary-paranoid worldview, but fortunately, it never was a broadly American view.

You can say it 3 times, jump up and down, and all that will still lose the next election.

Keep on out-grouping.

lol. Do you seriously think that works? You just spent 500 words defining your out-group. Do you really think my criticism of it is what makes the "group?"

You did not write a big block uniting all law abiding citizens of our great republic, nor did you endorse their democratic views:

Majority agree with Black Lives Matter and say major police reform is needed — CBS News poll

You are actually an angry minority whose latest trick is "don't call us an outgroup!"

It obviously does work, since you felt the need to come back even after your dismissive non-sequitur that signals you're slinking away.

Again, I'm not the out-group. I love the American nation. It's the GOAT, nationally speaking, I appreciate my forebears building it to this point and I hope to leave it a better place for my children. Most all of us feel the same way. We aren't looking to radically transform it, as you are, or claim that it's built on evil.

I don't expect you to understand it natively, but you should know that we can tell who is and is not part of the in-group almost instantly. Sometimes by looks (no man buns, for example) but generally just talking to someone about anything for a few minutes will give it away. It's almost like you can smell it. We know that we can trust this person, that he stands for the same values that we do, and that he will defend it with us, whatever it takes.

I wonder if r-strategists ever get that feeling at all. It must feel terrible, if you don't. Like a big gaping hole.

PS: I'm starting to wonder if I was too generous in thinking you were a useful idiot.

"Again, I'm not the out-group"

Time stamp noted.

Indeed, I would not count my chickens before they hatch.

Sharklaser - The image of a skinny white guy with glasses with a lot of friends that are girls but no girlfriend pulling down his mask in order to let loose a high pitched snicker when responding to your posts is comforting. You're wasting your time.

Bonus link:

And you sound disappointed that he had no plans to burn the Capitol down.

The Capitol, if we follow the "logic" of the leftists, is a relic of white supremacy, built by slaveholders; I'm shocked it hasn't already hasn't been burnt down by the mob. I suppose their handlers are able to keep them away from what really matters.

We used to get .... Now we get .......
Well, they are pretty famous for their projection.

The heads look a lot smaller than you think they'll look before you see it. I remember thinking it was kind of neat when we saw it, but that the Reptile Gardens attraction nearby was more fun.

Exactly what I thought. It looks much better on the postcards. But otherwise the Black Hills are a wonderful place.

Rushmore the movie was better. A Wes Anderson classic.

For me, the movie North by Northwest is the best thing about them monument. It alone might make it worthwhile.

But in a way it kind of proves Tyler's point.

Still it's fine as backdrop. And we should be very thankful that we did not become the kind of country that had to build one of those things every year.

Statue of Liberty: Holding ice cream cone aloft, has a book tucked under other arm, and broken chain on ankle. So after the apocalypse primitive survivors probably won't assume she was a warlord, despite the metal spikes coming out of her head.

The four dudes on Mount Rushmore probably won't be so lucky as they're just faces. It will probably be concluded they must have had many slaves to carve their faces into the mountain, and that they were probably related, as four apparent equals is way too unstable for a raider coalition.

The Statue of Liberty was an import from France, a sculpture that could just as well have designed and erected by Americans. The US doesn't need imports, especially free imports, which, in this case, took money out of the pockets of needy Yankee artists. At least the images on Mount Rushmore:

"Mount Rushmore, located just north of what is now Custer State Park in theBlack Hills National Forest, was named for the New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore, who traveled to the Black Hills in 1885 to inspect mining claims in the region. When Rushmore asked a local man the name of a nearby mountain, he reportedly replied that it never had a name before, but from now on would be known as Rushmore Peak (later Rushmore Mountain or Mount Rushmore)." Of course it already had a name but the linguistically ignorant gold prospectors didn't bother to determine what it might be.

were carved by Americans, no French or, God forbid, Chinese were involved.

But you already knew that, undoubtedly, since it is (was?) taught to every American school kid.

Obama should get his likeness on that mountain; his Libya policy re-established slave markets in North Africa.


A Tuna Sub from Jimmy John's?

More than 2,800 franchised locations, the jewel in the pendant of Inspire Brands?

Some Big Business lover you are!

As the anti-hero.

What about the Crazy Horse Memorial just around the corner?

That is indeed interesting given it has been under construction for over 70 years and is not halfway done. Is it a scammy boondoggle or will it actually be completed some day? Very Straussian and I think TC would find it of greater interest than Rushmore.

Three generations of the same family have worked on the Crazy Horse Memorial. Korczak Ziolkowski used to tool around in a bulldozer as he worked on the outstretched arm. Of course, some Lakota don't like it, because the world is full of grumps. Tyler wouldn't like it; there's even less interesting food nearby than at Mt. Rushmore.

No pemmican?

It's not any worse than the standard SD fare (think "hot beef sandwiches") but Bobkat's Old Fashion Purple Pie Place in Custer is worthy of at least guilty pleasure status.

However, the most underrated place in western SD is the Mammoth Site.

Setting aside the choice of visages, Mount Rushmore would be easier for all to receive as a monument, perhaps, if the artist Gutzon Borglum's vision were maintained. I was rather moved by the introductory film, when I visited some time ago, which clearly expressed his hope that these busts would weather through the years, crack, crumble, and so demonstrate the ephemeral character even of stone, let alone republics. Of course, this artist interview was followed by videos of the (understandable) efforts of the NPS to "maintain" their monument with constant caulk and vigilance for decay, "plasma" hardening of the surface, and even reconstruction. Oh well.

I have extremely fond memories of visiting the western half of South Dakota as a kid. There were so many fun things to do there, including Reptile Gardens, some kind of drive-through nature park where I could both see buffalo and eat buffalo, just so much to do. I saw Mt. Rushmore too but it wasn't the highlight: but none of that other stuff would be there if not for Mt. Rushmore.

I don't know what happened to Tyler but I am enjoying this new guy with the liberated opinions.

He's been a lefty since Day 1. Fear is making him more open these days, though.

"I don't know what happened to Tyler..."

Eh. Conquest's Second Law at work: "Everyone and every organization not explicitly conservative will eventually move to the left."

Also, see "Strange New Respect."

+1. I feel the same way. Tyler is speaking truth to his feelings. Food complacency is a crime. Would it kill the tourism bureau of South Dakota to put up Lakota cuisine and highlight the hell out of it? This is how you get people interested in your state. If you serve the same uninspired fare as everybody else you deserve to get called out.

I was there in the summer of 1969 (yeah, I missed Woodstock). What struck me most of all was that it looked a lot smaller than in all the photos I had seen of it. Beyond there, it was pretty boring. I'm glad I didn't go out of my way to see it, as it was more or less along the route I was taking back to New York from California.

I've been camping in the badlands (misnamed) and the Black Hills region of South Dakota, and they are extraordinary places. That was over 40 years ago. We didn't visit Mt. Rushmore because it's so out of place and offered little or nothing to our time there. And that was back when Washington and Jefferson weren't remembered for owning slaves and TR wasn't remembered for being an imperialist. Cowen's two blog posts this morning capture the culture wars, the first post the culture war between the U.S. and China and this one the culture war within the U.S.

Mt Rushmore gets 4.7 out of 5 stars from Facebook reviewers and even higher from others. The people love it!

One man's nationalism is another man's inspiration.

"The people" are not known for good taste.

That comment says a lot more about you than about "the people."

For $10 parking, it's not bad to try once. The faces do look smaller in person than you would think and it feels like there could be more but isn't. Once is enough for me.

Sturgis had one block for motorcycle parking in 1964. Over 300 miles of bikers on I90 to Sturgis in 2015. Escargot perhaps not the top seller at Sturgis.

Never been, but I’d like to go just to tour the Vandamm house built on top and wander down to the spot where Roger and Eve nearly fell to their doom.

If it were real, I’d buy a ticket too.

Autistic art appreciation 101. Thanks for that.

Tyler obviously forgot, or never stopped at, Wall Drug and their nickel cup of coffee. And free ice water. That's a big part of the experience.

Westbound I-90 from Sioux Falls is decorated with a picket fence of billboards alerting drivers to the scenic wonders of the Black Hills. Eastbound I-90 from Gillette, Wyoming has no corresponding advertising.

Re: Westbound I-90 from Sioux Falls is decorated with a picket fence of billboards alerting drivers to the scenic wonders of the Black Hills.

As well as the Corn Palace ("It's amaizing") and the wonders of Wall Drug.

There is almost nothing so modest, on a road trip, that is without interest or amusement if you have a companion or companions of the right outlook and openness; maybe T.C. has never had that.

Telling me that "free ice water" is a "big part of the experience" is exactly the kind of complacency that America needs less of. EVERYWHERE has free ice water. Don't lie to me and tell me it is something special. This is rot masquerading as achievement. It is the participation trophy mentality that is a cancer to society.

JR you gotta put yourself in the place of a family traveling across South Dakota (from the east) in the summer, in a 1953 Plymouth with one of those torpedo swamp coolers hanging from a window, 4 kids in the back seat, and seeing the Free Ice Water sign. That was something special.

What an odd take on Mount Rushmore. Are you sending up the louche upper class types' typical attitude to anything the unwashed masses like? If this is an honest opinion, you have my sympathy.

The unwashed masses tend not to have good taste, and tend to be wrong about most things.

It may not be PC to say so, but it’s the truth.

Best National Park I’ve ever been to was Dry Tortugas on a tiger cruise back when my old man was a staff officer Joint Interagency Task Force East. Coasties are obnoxious little shits, but their dads know how to throw a decent shindig. Plus, they’ve got some big guns, not that they let us shoot any.

Food was Cuban sandwiches and cafe con leche made with evaporated milk, which would probably make Tyler frown. In any case, food was good until one of the girls with anorexic tendencies upchucked and we all got to watch her mother spoon that fresh chum back into her. Ended with me and the daughter of the Royal Navy liason officer trying to paddle the inflatable kayak to Havana. Only to be betrayed by the Dutch before we could even get of the anchorage.

Of course up at Hurlburt the squadron’s idea of a good time was getting a whole hog and slow cooking it in a pit. For fun they used to lop off the head, put it on a pike, and let us kids parade it around camp. Then we got to shoot fifty cals. To spice things up — as if shooting a fifty cal from a humvee turret wasn’t doing it for us, a helicopter swooped in, some of the bachelors zip lined down, maybe five hundred meters out from our cookout, pulled out their pistols, and charged us, shooting blanks. Well, our dads herded us into a firing line, showed us how to sight an M-16 (or whatever the hell it was) and let us rip. More bam with your meal than even Emeril Lagasse could dish out. Your tax dollars at work, for which, you have my thanks.

With that as way of background, let me get to the point.

Tyler, you philistine, the merit of Mont Rushmore isn’t the aesthetics. Any frog can do you a pretty bit of rock and stuff your face with some tartare.

The merit of Mont Rushmore is it used to be a mountain and now it’s not. We pwned that granite.

As for the Reds, have you seen Lenin’s tomb? Looks terrible. Just really shoddy. Bigly disappointing. As for the damn Krauts, Bryan Ferry beat you to that punch, but I hear Formula 1 might be looking for a new president.

Aesthetic merits.

Now excuse me while I pop into the kitchen and degrade my Dallmayr coffee by using to it whip up a proper cafe con leche . I’d shoot something, but the Chinese generally frown on that sort of thing. And much as I’d like to roast a pig, I hear the swine flu might be catching.

Happy 4th of July, Tyler, you connoisseur of GREs and granite!

Yeah, there's no beauty at all in the Black Hills, the Badlands, Devil's Tower, Jewel Cave, the scenic canyon leading to Deadwood (which admittedly yes, is a miss except for the cemetery, but I guess the biker one-armed bandit-loving demographic deserves an attraction too), or the huge bison herd in Custer State Park, and it's not at all cool to drive or hike through the Needles tunnels even though they prolly inspired some of the scenes in Disney's "Cars" movie.

Overall it sounds like T.C. doesn't care for Lakota Sioux culture/food; I have no opinion about that - everybody's a hater about something - and further, he screwed up (unsurprisingly since he has no interest in landscapes and probably never studied a map in his life) and didn't take the right approach to Mt.Rushmore, the Iron Mountain road which carefully frames your first view of Mt. Rushmore and absolutely will take your breath away if your husband didn't tell you beforehand how you would get your first glimpse.

After that, i could have actually skipped entering the monument itself, as LBJ's NPS screwed up and tore down the cool restaurant that looked out on the monument, where Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint filmed a pivotal scene in "North by Northwest"; and "North by Northwest" was the primary source of my interest in Mt. Rushmore.

P.S. Travel tip: there's a nice KOA campground a couple miles from the entrance to the Badlands; it's shadier and pleasanter than the very windy NPS campground.

Please don't come to new mexico. stop in texas or go on to arizona. you won't like nm. and you must have a visa and passport and shots. just keep going. nothing to see here...

All idolatry is deeply offensive, whether two or three dimensional. All idols must be destroyed in the interest of civic health. Congress immediately should authorize and fund a program to destroy all federally owned representations of the human form. Morality and ethics demand it.

i think we can leave up a trans statue, though.

It’s never too late to actually honor the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.

Nice trolling TC...or is it toeing the party line? Yes, I like to go outdoors to enjoy the food scene?

I agree it is a Boomer RV AARP type monument also. But no one forced you to look at the ugly monument or comment on them in this derisive manner - yes, it’s your blog. So, if you’re going to bothering to weigh in on it then: Blow it up and give it back to the Native Americans? What about the rest of the tacky monuments in DC?

The Nat’l Park Service is a multi-tiered system due to accessibility and to generate Congressional funding like any other US federal agency. In order to appeal to more than the avid outdoorsmen, they pave over areas and create 'drive thru' viewing for those that have no interest in walking around, create shorter trails with paved walkways and gentle slopes for walking for the next tier, and add things you may deem tacky including food stands at visitor centers.

The difficulty and austere-ness increase from there depending on people's comfort level as they leave those areas.

Any thoughts on the Centrist Liberal’s favorite play ‘Hamilton’ should be cancelled given the problematic history of the whites that it depicts and idolizes?

In related news, this CNN column is magnificent (not for its content, but for its masterful juggling of self-contradictory messages):

Tyler, you get what you pay for. Did you pay for the monument?

According to ABC News, our national parks are facing an "existential crisis" because they are racist. Really, you cannot make this stuff up.

I went there once, I think in 1988. To me it was a nightmare, aesthetically and otherwise.

Of course. It was a tangible accomplishment. Academics hate that.

The last sentence appropriated the novo-Aristolean argument for monogamy, so I approve.

Museums of modern art, and the galleries devoted to "transgressive modern" painters (the oldest of whom were born not in the last century but in the century before that, amusingly enough, if English is your native language) allow me to spend more uncrowded time with the Old Masters and with the modern artists who understood God's visual universe in a similar way.

But I DO FEEL SORRY for the hoodwinked, the gaslighted, and the "fans" of "progressive" art, but then again, they are usually fairly well off, so it is sort of like feeling sorry for San Diego Padres fans ---- their team stinks, and will always stink, but they get to live in San Diego. I mean, it isn't Pleasanton or Ojai or the Napa Valley, but it is still a great place to live.

But let's get to the crux of the matter: Is keeping Mount Rushmore “white nationalism”?

How are Centrists Libs spinning this one? Those Nevertrumpers can only absorb so many culture war losses on behalf of Joe.

Mount Rushmore is an insult, but not because of the mediocre food scene. It’s an insult to the Lakota and their heritage.

Didn't the Lakota steal Cheyenne land?

And when will the activists start calling for the White House to be dismantled since it was built using slave labor?

And what of the Pyramids, the ultimate monument of slavery?

Apparently the pyramids weren't built by slaves any more than the great medieval cathedrals were. Is there evidence in the other direction?

The evidence that the Pyramids were not built by slaves is a list of provisions, which doesn't prove anything. You have to feed slaves. There is no list of paychecks.

I know that the great medieval cathedrals were not built by slaves. Our records from the 1100s are a bit clearer (and in a more familiar language) than the records from Pharaonic Egypt.

Has TC composed a more smugly supercilious ode to mediocrity than this? Control yourself! You don't need to have a clever opinion on every bit of cultural flotsam that offends your sogannante aesthetic. Sorry about the food. But there really are other sources of emotional satisfaction in the world. Revealed preference.

Surprisingly little to do. You'd think you could at least visit the monument, as that would count as an activity. But it was pretty underwhelming, and seeing it from the road without even entering the boundary of the monument was satisfactory. The area was indeed crowded, tacky, and offered completely unmemorable food. Pure granny trap. I'm all for tacky, but Mt Rushmore was too dull and completely outdone in tacky factor by the Crazy Horse thing (if and when finished will actually look impressive), Deadwood, Wall Drug. That road trip continued west, where I was really impressed by Devil's Tower and Yellowstone. Alas, I found no memorable food there, either.

I strongly suspect it's hard to get too, there's probably a line of some sort, and once I'm there it is going to seem smaller than it should be. Could be wrong.

I visited Mt Rushmore of a frigid December day in 2001 during a cross country road trip to the Pacific Northwest. There were rather few people there owing to the weather (in the teens plus a stiff breeze). And because of that I spent some time browsing the visitor center, ho-hummed at the actual mountain in the distance, and left after maybe twenty minutes. Favorite thing: a very docile mountain goat was hanging out at the edge of the patio off the visitor center and it deigned to have its picture taken with the mountain in the background.

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