Bil Browning

Roland Burris: A monument to himself

Filed By Bil Browning | January 02, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Rod Blagojevich, Roland Burris, Roland Burris grave, Senate

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's appointment to Barack Obama's former seat in the Senate, Roland Burris, is one classy guy. You'll notice cutting spending has not been one his top priorities. Maybe this marble monument to himself can explain why.

burrisgrave.jpgYes, that is the grave of Roland Burris, Illinois' is-he-or-isn't-he junior Senator. The edifice lists Burris's former accomplishments to date under the state seal.

Of course, one huge monument doesn't necessarily make the man an egotistical bastard, but combine it with naming your son Roland Burris II and your daughter Rolanda and you have one conceited guy. If this appointment doesn't stick, maybe Vanity Smurf is available.

By the way, Burris has a history of being gay friendly.

(Clickety the picture to embiggen.)

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Just for the record, Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois, not Michigan.

James Baldridge | January 2, 2009 5:23 PM

Michigan's governor?

Dammit. Thanks James and Chris. I don't know why I did that. I had Illinois everywhere else. What in the world was I thinking?! Geez.

You'd think there'd be an editor around here somewhere. *grins*

Rolanda Burris? Better than "Keelee Breeze van Winkle," aka Vanilla Ice's daughter.

Oh, but she has a son. His name?


Roland Burris III

Mary Weismantel | January 3, 2009 12:00 PM

at a time when relations between the African-American and queer community are strained, this was an unfortunate commentary. African-American burial traditions and naming traditions are different from Euro-Americans, and can strike someone who is unfamiliar with them as laughable, but it's an impulse that is better avoided. I don't know anything about Mr. Burris, but an older black Dem who supports us should be honored, not ridiculed.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 4, 2009 12:14 AM

Mary, I would add that Mr. Burris is widely respected in Illinois, is squeaky clean without scandal, and his personal burial decisions are his own business at his own expense. Yeah, it looks kind of big, but you should see what goes up in many "memorial parks" for people who have accomplished nothing in comparison to Mr. Burris.

He is a role model to his community and a certain level of respect is appropriate.

Mary Weismantel | January 4, 2009 11:09 AM

Thanks Robert, I didn't know that.

And btw, the big showy mausoleum is not just a personal decision. There is a long tradition in South Chicago of big burial monuments. It's one way that Black Chicagoans have made their history visible. Many important Black politicians and businesspeople have large monuments in the city's cemeteries.

And not to get pedantic here, but the tradition of remembering one's parents through first names that echo the parent's name is also an old African-American tradition. And if you think about the fact that under slavery, people either had no last name at all, or their master's name, it's not that surprising.

Gay people know what it's like to get laughed at for stuff that makes sense inside our community, but looks funny to the outside world. Let's make sure we're laughing with our straight allies, not at them.