Pivot: Let’s talk about a bombing


So I took a short break from the 511, in order to bring you the audio of a Zoom talk I gave for the Cleveland Public Library back in October. Unfortunately, it’s even more relevant today than it was two short weeks ago.

This story is based on an essay I wrote for Harper’s in March 2020: “‘Off the Ruling Class: Notes from a Cold Case at the Cleveland Museum of Art.” It’s about the unsolved case of the March 24, 1970 bombing of Rodin’s “The Thinker,” as well as the museum’s deft damage control that followed. Members of Weather Underground, J. Edgar Hoover, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones have cameos, and this story offers us a cautionary tale about when tempers flair, discourse fails, and incendiary devices fill the void.

The Thinker, behind his pedestal, marred by graffiti: “Off the Ruling Class.” (March 24, 1970)
(Courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz)

For my talk with the Cleveland Public Library, we had a fantastic Q&A at the end, but without NDAs for attendees, the recording is safely tucked away, never to be seen (or heard) again. In turn, I present the talk in three downloadable audio files for your listening pleasure. (Please, of course, don’t re-post the audio tracks elsewhere. Thank you.)

In the event you want to follow along with the accompanying visuals, you can find them here. While they’re not an official sponsor, this talk was fueled by Pin High, the tasty pilsner brewed by the fine folks at Market Garden Brewery, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Track 1

Prelude: On the Legacy of J. Edgar Hoover

Track 2

I. The Bombing: Motive, Ability, Opportunity: Are Weatherman Likely Suspects?
II. Point / Counterpoint: CMA’s Masterful Management of the Message

Track 3

III. The Virtue of the Commons: Making Sense of “The Thinker” in Difficult Times
IV. The Wrap

Thank you for tuning in. Our regularly scheduled programming will return next week.

If you like this project, remember: sharing is caring! Or drop me a line @randaldoane.

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Published by Randal Doane

Living the good life in NE Ohio. I dig science and the written word. Let's build something amazing together.

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