While sauntering up and down the Fort Bay Channel in Boston, while searching for a huge cup of glorious coffee, I came across a bit of commercial public history, the Boston Tea Party, Ships and Museum. It seemed worthwhile to share some photos and provide a bit of analysis and description, at least of the aesthetics. You’ll notice the superstructure of this twenty-first century Tea Party is built on a foundation of modern concrete and modern steel pilings, and this supports a Disney-like façade that shoves visitors through one particular interpretation of the past. The Tea Party seems to be floating just above the Fort Bay Channel, this perhaps a metaphor — visitors can pay some money to float in a romanticized delusion of the past?
It is unfortunate that my flight takes me back to the gravitational pull of the northern Great Plains tomorrow. It’s unfortunate because the Tea Party museum opens on June 26, 2012, and this is cutting it too close to when we on the northern plains purchase massive quantities of Chinese-made fireworks to celebrate explosions and things that blow up. It’s important to know your priorities.
The Tea Party is situated, of course, in Boston, and Boston is home to the famous minister John Harvard, whom I’m told created some kind of magnificent beet sauce (or at least he was the catalyst for its inception), this along with pushing the brain to pontificate on matters of theology and metaphysics. Eventually he became the first benefactor of the oldest friggin’ university (est. 1638) in the U.S. of A. Today you can pound around Harvard yard (and attempt to park your car) and come within range of all sorts of asserted universals. One of these universals takes the form of the following signage put up in or near a construction zone. Is this for the construction workers or the Harvard students? If it’s for the former, it seems fairly anti-labor and anti-blue collar. If it’s for the latter, well, that makes sense:
It’s good they put this signage up, because it’s important to know the rules up front. They list them chronologically, although I don’t know if this is a hierarchy as to which is more bad [sic] than the other. Here they are: “No swearing, no inappropriate comments, no smoking, zero (!) tolerance for drugs and/or alcohol” — Harvard, isn’t alcohol a drug? — “keep noise levels to a minimum” — okay, I can do that — “no parking on campus” and “do not enter other buildings[?]”.
It seems there is some kind of dialectic at play between the Tea Party museum and Harvard’s administrative rule makers.
Anyhow, I’m off to find the Union Oyster House just down the Congress Street way. The UOH was recommended to me via phone by Justin Vinje, and it is the oldest functioning oyster house in all of North America, or America, or the oldest restaurant at least, so goes the argument. Daniel Webster used to frequent it regularly, guzzling who-knows-how-many raw oysters and tumblers of brandy and water. I’ll do the same, spending a fine Boston afternoon while pontificating the meaning of Harvard gentrification, this along with Tea Party History gentrification. Again, a dialectic is at work here, folks. Something is indeed happening. More on that later. Perhaps I just gotta get back to the northern Great Plains…