Saturday, December 3, 2011

On "Damnatio Memoriae" and Making Evil Disappear

Source: Sean Simmers, THE PATRIOT-NEWS                                                                                     



The Huffington Post recently published my post on why denial is the real issue when confronting evil.  The post was prompted after my editor mentioned that a friend of hers had used the phrase "damnatio memoriae" in reference to an artist who painted over the image of accused molester Jerry Sandusky after the sex-abuse scandal broke.

That led me to think a lot of about the painter's reaction as well and our own very human impulse to deny the ugliness that is sometimes right in front of us.  Go here to read the full article.


(Photo: The image of Sandusky on a mural celebrating Penn State was painted over after the scandal broke. All that is left now is an empty chair.)

3 comments:

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Great article chickie, and Huffington Post no less! Woosie. :) e

Steven P. Cornett said...

The modern act of Damnatio memoriae is not so much a denial of evil, but a denial that there was anything to that person but evil.

That is to say, in effect, to those that knew who was sitting in the chair, "there ain't nothing but BAD there."

As such, it was actually an effective communal statement, and much dreaded in ancient times.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thank you, Steven, for your comment and clarification. The problem with the modern act of Damnation Memoriae ("nothing but BAD here"), is that it's the flip side of canonizing someone. In fact, that's the ruse Sandusky used--projecting a personality SO good, that no one would believe he could be capable of such crimes.