Friday, July 8, 2011

The history of the shamepole

I'm just going to copy and paste from wikipedia  I really don't know how to cite that so if anyone has any info on that or even if I need to please let me hear it. That said  here's what Wiki says about shame poles.

Shame poles

Poles used for public ridicule are usually called "shame poles", and were erected to shame individuals or groups for unpaid debts. Shame poles are rarely discussed today, and their meanings have been forgotten in many places. However, they formed an important subset of poles carved throughout the 19th century.
One famous shame pole is the Seward Pole in Saxman, Alaska. It was apparently created to shame the former U.S. Secretary of State for not repaying a Potlatch to the Tlingit people. On this particular pole, it is apparent that it is a shame pole because his nose and ears are painted red, indicating his stinginess. It is a common misconception that the Lincoln pole, also located in Saxman, is also a shame pole but was actually erected to commemorate the U.S Revenue Cutter Lincoln in its role in helping two rival Tlingit clans establish peace.
Another example of the shame pole is the Three Frogs Pole in Wrangell, Alaska. This pole was erected by Chief Shakes to shame the Kiks.ádi clan into repaying a debt incurred by three of their slaves who impregnated some young women in Shakes's clan. When the Kiks.ádi leaders refused to pay support for the illegitimate children Shakes had the pole commissioned to represent the three slaves as frogs, the frog being the primary crest of the Kiks.ádi clan. This debt was never repaid, and thus the pole still stands next to the Chief Shakes Tribal House in Wrangell. This particular pole's unique crossbar shape has become popularly associated with the town of Wrangell. It was thus used, without recognizing the meaning of the pole, as part of the title design of the Wrangell Sentinel newspaper, where it is still seen today.
A pole in Totem Square, in downtown Sitka, Alaska, designed by George Benson and carved by CCC workers in Wrangell in 1942, depicted Russian governor and Russian American Company manager, Alexander Baranof naked. After a Sitka Tribe of Alaska-sponsored removal ceremony, the pole was lowered on October 20th, 2010 with funds from the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services due to safety concerns. The Sitka Sentinel reported that it was "said to be the most photographed totem [pole] in Alaska" while standing.
A Shame pole was erected in Cordova, Alaska on March 24, 2007. It includes the inverted and distorted face of Exxon ex-CEO Lee Raymond, representing the unpaid debt that courts determined Exxon owes for having caused the oil spill in Valdez, Alaska.

I was just thinking about public shame in our society.

 Recently we all heard the verdict in the Casey Anthony case. It seems most people agree that this woman just got away with murdering her child. One of the most heinous crimes a human being can commit, in any social circle.  We've all seen the post on Facebook and similar networking sights, people wishing her death, people comparing her to O.J. Simpson, and everything in-between. It really bothers me that things like this happen in our "model country". I don't understand how the 12 people on the juries could actually acquit these obvious murderers. It just makes me sick, of course their's a part of me that would love to see them meet justice. But our country is ruled by laws and I would hate to see an other person take this into their own hands and then get wrapped up in their own legal battle defending their actions. So that got me pondering, I love to research anything and everything, what role does public shame have on effecting people's lives. And to be honest, I think there's plenty of examples of the power of public opinion out there. From the building up of public icon's and our love affair with them to their ultimate demise and public character assassinations. Michael Jackson is a perfect example regardless of how you feel about him. At one point  he was loved and adored by the world and in the next breath stripped of the public endearment. I think similar principals can be used to make the world a prison cell for people that really deserve it. (O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, many other's I'm sure) I just wanted to create a public forum for this thought, and see what people thought about it. I really think it could be a powerful tool in the treatment of societies worst. Shame is what they should feel for their actions and the more that we place upon them the better.