Wednesday, January 7, 2015

An E Ticket Ride on the Slave Train

Yesterday, I promised a rant about the abhorrent condition of advertising.

I lied.

Today, I'm writing about our visit to Vacherie, Louisiana, where we got to see what slave life was like at the Oak Alley Plantation.

You can draw your own parallels.

My wife noticed the brochures for the plantation, and twenty others just like it, in the lobby of the hotel.  It was about an hour drive from New Orleans and we thought it would be a good idea to get out of the city and learn more about about our country's troubled past.

We had made several trips to the Manzanar Internment camps in the Eastern Sierras, where the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese citizens was given a certain amount of gravitas. And expected the same degree of honor at a slave farm, where, only 150 years earlier kidnapped and sold Africans were subjected to unspeakable horrors.

We were wrong.

What should be a somber memorial to inequality has been turned into a Disneyfied exploitation where guests are, according to the brochure, invited to "experience slavery."

Oh really, some douchebag from Dayton, Ohio flies in, sees the reconstructed sheds, feels the warm bayou sun and gazes out onto the massive sugar cane fields, then goes home having experienced slavery?

Think I'm exaggerating? Check out the last line in this description of the Big House, where Mr. and Mrs. Asshole lived.

I don't know what kind of funding they were getting from the state, but the fine folks at Oak Alley were big on hawking Mint Julips.

And what proper slave plantation be without its own Plantation Bar? A cavernous room serving all manner of spirits that is also available for birthday parties, weddings and anniversaries.

I'm sure given the opportunity, they'd be happy to host a Bar Mitzvah, but I like to think fellow members of the tribe would find a more appropriate setting.

I've never been to Auschwitz or Dachau, I'm guessing they don't have a catering facility.

Or an available chocolate waterfall.

1 comment:

george tannenbaum said...

You might be interested in this, Rich.