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Gettysburg

Cyclorama

Outside the Visitor Center—patrons queuing up in
khaki camo shorts, baseball caps, Where Big Bucks
Lie
, boxes of MoonPies wheeling by—two black
men with rubber gloves, with Windex, on a July
Monday, polish the bronze Lincoln.

Ted Turner et al. at Gettysburg; or, Re-Enactors in the Attic

What I do want to talk about is the packaging and marketing of the Civil War as part of a larger commodification of cultural desire in which the making of Turner's film and his participation in it become exemplary. I wish to speak, that is, about the matter of Gettysburg as a case study in the ongoing manufacture of the Civil War as the quintessential American item—a product, I will propose, not unlike its cousin, the sport utility vehicle, as dangerous as it is big and handsome, a shining exterior fabricated around the killing power of the machine.