Gettysburg Gift Shop Pulls Lincoln Assassin Bobbleheads
It’s true. You can no longer buy a John Wilkes Booth bobble-head doll at the Gettysburg National Military visitor center bookstore. But that’s not the real story here.
The Union Army’s successful resistance to the Confederate forces at Gettysburg in July of 1863 is regarded as the turning point in the Civil War. Today, the battlefield is regarded as hallowed ground by descendants of the victors and the defeated.
Two years later, just after the war’s end, Booth assassinated President Lincoln, so the real story is why the tasteless Booth bobble-heads were being sold at Gettysburg to begin with.
Even more shocking, the 7-inch bobble-head doll depicts Booth holding a handgun. It even comes in a box made to look like Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where Booth shot Lincoln.
The dolls were on sale in the Gettysburg gift shop for about a week before a reporter started asking questions. A Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman admitted some people were concerned and upset by the dolls, so they were taken down.
One historian says it desecrates our national memory of Lincoln and his death, and it desecrates the ground on which thousands of soldiers died. He compares it to selling Lee Harvey Oswald dolls at the Kennedy Center.
Here’s a link to a story with a photo of the Booth bobble-head doll.
You really have to wonder how an idea as tasteless as this could come to fruition. Can’t you just imagine the marketing brainstorming session that came up with it?
“Hey, Let’s make a toy doll of the man who assassinated President Lincoln, and for added effect let’s put a pistol in his hand and make the box look like the place where it happened. Think anybody will buy it?”
Well, the privately owned and managed Gettysburg Visitor Center bought 250 Booth dolls and had sold 150 of them before they were removed. The company that makes them says they were popular items at the gift shop, so they’ll keep making them for online sales.
No one ever went broke under-estimating the taste of American consumers. We do, after all, live in a country where people can get rich making and selling fake vomit and fake dog poo.