Remember the time when Vic Megenity noticed that overnight, without consultation or the involvement of elected officials, the city of New Albany's symbol (seal) had suddenly changed?
Remember when Vic tried in vain to teach history to city council members who squirmed in their seats because they already knew that in a one-party cult of personality, Dear Leader makes the rules and not some old book-reading fart -- and they'd long since resigned themselves to being Yes Men for the greater good of local oligarchs?
Here's a refresher course from April, 2015.
By l850, New Albany became the largest and most important city in Indiana, thanks primarily to its steamboat building.
Of the over 400 steamboats built, the Robert E. Lee was, according to the New Albany Ledger in l866, the grandest ever built. With its Rosewood furniture and crystal chandeliers, it proudly plied the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers until it was destroyed by fire in l882 with the loss of 21 lives. This steamboat had gained national fame by winning its famous race with the Natchez, from New Orleans to St. Louis in l870.
By the late l890s, the city of New Albany commemorated its steamboat building era by making the R.E. Lee its official symbol. That symbol has been prominently displayed with a huge Bruce Fox creation on the front of the City-County Building as well as printed documents and brochures. It was used prominently to celebrate our Centennial Celebration in 1913 and our Bicentennial in 2013.
Several months ago, the city started using a completely different symbol — twin arches with a giant anchor hanging between. That symbol is now used on all city printed material and most recently scores of city street signs have this prominently displayed. No one has been able to explain what this giant anchor represents.
According to the dictionary, it means to prevent movement and to hold fast. Why would anyone want this as a symbol of our city?
The board of directors of the Floyd Count Historical Society recently voted unanimously to keep the historic Robert E. Lee as our city’s official symbol and that was presented to the New Albany City Council on April 6. The council stated it had no input on this change, yet they took no action to make sure this symbol is not lost to history.
We are very alarmed and concerned that this new anchor symbol was apparently created by the mayor’s office without a vote being taken from democratically elected representatives or by involving the public in providing input if it was decided democratically to choose a new symbol. No one could explain to us who, why, where, when or how this symbol was created.
Every citizen of New Albany should be alarmed at the undemocratic method of forcing through this drastic change in our New Albany symbol that has proudly served us for well over 100 years.
The Floyd County Historical Society’s mission is to protect and preserve our rich history. We, therefore, call on all city officials from the mayor to the city council to take immediate steps to restore the Robert E. Lee as our official symbol.
Please do not steal this symbol of our rich history but rather embrace it for future generations.
— Victor Megenity, vice-president, Floyd County Historical Society, New Albany
Who can forget economic dishevelment director Duggins bounding to the council podium to deny there'd been any change, even as a factory somewhere in China was churning out hundreds of streets signs affixed with the antiseptic new "branding piece," or "branding image," or whatever other gobbledygook newspeak term The Dugger recalled seeing on the cover of a business magazine he didn't read, or perhaps heard while dozing through another interminable One Southern Indiana pearly power of wealth luncheon, then rammed through redevelopment's bobbleheaded gravy slurpers while the newspaper promoted cooking school?
Two years later, this anchor has been slapped on virtually every object the city owns, and some it doesn't.
But the gift of an inexhaustible lode of satire?
Hilariously, while the anchor somehow seems a heroic slice of imagery to academic underachievers, it can be construed in a far more accurate way. Of course, Duggins never once considered definitions and broader meanings, merely concluding after an evening of Bud Light Limes that an anchor just looks cool.
We might thank him for this, because by doing so, he inadvertently has provided the best definition of Gahanism yet rendered. As regular reader B notes:
It's sadly fitting they've chosen an anchor as a graphic representation of the city. An anchor fixes a potentially moving object to a place. It gets stuck in the mud and silt and keeps things from moving. That's why it's called an anchor.
This is not a "marketing piece", a "branding image" - it's not a progressive symbol, it doesn't imply a growing and vital city. An anchor? Who designed this?
In 2019, there'll be this.
Helpful links follow.
Branding mud-struck: Why did the city of New Albany steal Anchor Brewing's seal?
W. 1st crosswalk propaganda: Other cities allow artists to create art. Ours merely glorifies its own fix-is-in muddy anchor.
Seals, branding mechanisms and a city anchored into place by sheer dullness of bureaucratic intent.