Rewriting History, In A Really Stupid Way

As F3ers go, I’m relatively politically correct.  What can I say?  You can take the boy out of Pelosi-ville, but you can’t take Pelosi-ville out of the boy.

Back in the late 1990s, when the NBA’s Washington Bullets changed their name to the Wizards, I was sympathetic, particularly in light of  the urban violence that plagues Washington, D.C., and Balitmore.  If the NFL’s Redskins ever get around to changing their name and caricature logo, I’d be on board with that as well.

That being said, I just don’t get Major League Baseball removing the image of a pistol from the “turn back the clock” Colt .45s uniforms that the Astros are going to wear for some games this season to mark their 50th anniversary.

Here’s an article about the decision.

I don’t happen to agree with the author when he says, “It’s nice that MLB doesn’t want kids exposed to handgun imagery … ” (pictures of guns don’t hurt anyone, and the Astros’ original name was a tribute to Texas’ frontier days, much like the names of other Texas teams like the Rangers, Mavericks, Cowboys and Spurs), but I share his sense of annoyance.  Is this really the kind of airbrushing that we’ve come to as a culture?

15 Replies to “Rewriting History, In A Really Stupid Way”

  1. Unfortunately, I think we all expect this sort of thing nowadays. There is an entire subgroup that looks for things to get offended by and this is the sort of point that lights up their radar. We all know that a vintage revolver (the gun that won the West) on a baseball jersey is not going to get some kid to go out and hold up a convenience store, but there are people who want to see a villian in every shadow.

    This is far worse than the flap about NASCAR and Bubba Watson’s wanting to drive his authentic General Lee 1969 Charger at the Phoenix Raceway in 2 weeks. Although the car is iconic, the Stars and Bars, along with Dixie, was hijacked by the racists and Klan. I fully understand NASCAR’s reluctance to have any association with racism and the Klan, no matter how tenuous the connection might be. There are still far too many people, especially on the coasts, that think that all NASCAR fans are racists, blue collar, or unemployed.

    The Braves are wearing throwback jerseys on Fridays this season as well, replicas of the ones they wore in their first year in Atlanta. Hank Aaron was pleased, especially as these will not be wool. I imagine someone will start a campaign to have that name changed as well.

  2. Sorry OBT, but you piqued me with the Redskins thing. My first Infantry battalion was called the Warrior Battlalion. Headquarters Company was the Hurons, Alpha Company was the Apaches, Bravo was the Blackfeet (you get the idea). When an officer would encounter an enlisted man on the company street the soldier would say the name of his company with the render of the hand salute (“Blackfeet Sir!”). Man, I loved that stuff. I’m not sure I would know what there was a tribe of Hurons to go with the lake if I were not the Scout Platoon Leader of Huron Company, 2nd of the 4th Infantry.

    I don’t know if there any surviving members of the Huron Tribe kicking around (real ones, not Ward Churchill grievance mongers), but if one of them started complaining about being demeaning, I would tell him he’s got it bassackwards–it’s the highest form of manly praise. I don’t know about you Brother, but If there was a Scotch-Irish Pasty-skinned Debtor-Prison Escapee Battalion, I’d feel pretty darned proud to have my peeps recognized as warriors. But why would we be? We don’t hold a candle to those Hurons baby.

    1. I don’t have a problem with teams named after tribes — Seminoles, Hurons, Sioux, etc. I have no problems with the baseball teams from Cleveland and Atlanta. But unless there was a tribe called the “Redskins” that I’m not aware of, I think the NFL’s Washington team name is offensive.

      1. OBT, I think that’s an odd distinction and not historically accurate.

        The eponymous names like Redskins, Indians and Braves that offend you are just Euro-concoctions ranging from the simply descriptive (man with relatively red skin) to geographical ignorance (Columbus having thought he had landed in India). They were not meant to offend when concocted. It is sad that such words offend now when put to use as an homage to combativeness.

        In contrast, the specific tribal names that do not offend you are also mere Euro-concoctions. There is in fact no such disctinct tribe as the “Sioux”. That’s more a geographically descriptive name for a group of aboriginals living in a particular region than descriptive of any self-described cultural group. Actually, it’s like saying Indians in a slightly narrower way. Since the North American aboriginals had no alphabet, they could only verbally self-describe by something the Europeans may or may not have understood and repeated accurately. Therefore, there is no particular politcally correct honor that need to be paid to the name Blackfeet but that should be withheld from the name Braves, and no logical reason to be offended by the name “Indian” but not the name “Seminole.” They are both inaccurate Euro-concoctions for cultural groups that may not even have named themselves in a way that is recognizable to us or remembered by anyone.

        Finally, I contend that one cannot logically be “offended” by a epitaph that is inapplicable to him by immutable characteristic or at least residence. For example, I may not like it (and I don’t in fact) that Jessie Jackson refers to Jews as “Hymies” and New York City as “Hymietown”, but since I’m neither Jewish nor a resident of New York City, dislike is about the logical extent of any reaction I can reasonably have.

        Would I be offended if someone did hurl a racially charged epitaph that could logically stick to my pasty paleness? I guess not. When Barack Obama called his grandmother a “typical white women,” I wasn’t offended. First, I’m not his grandmorther, and second, the very idea is a lazy conceit. There is no such thing as typification by race. All white people, and black people, and Asian people are as different from each other as snowflakes, if you bother to look closely enough, and those differences have nothing to do with the micro-thin color of one’s skin. Only a racist thinks otherwise. And a racist does not offend me. I feel only sorrow that he is locked in a dark little room with such a small and murky window from which to feverishly peer out at a world he does not or will not understand.

        I love you Brother, and I know you’re trying, but it is time to move past all this fascination with names and skin color. Hibernians need not be offended by Notre Dame’s football team, Mexican Priests need not be offended by San Diego’s baseball team, and Aboriginal Americans need not be offended by Atlanta. And you Brother, need not take offense on all their parts. You’ll live longer. #Peace

        1. You’re not reading my comment. I said I am NOT offended by Indians or Braves. I think Redskins, in its focus merely on the color of a man’s skin as the sole mark of distinction, is offensive, in the same way that I would also find offensive a team nicknamed the “Whiteys,” the “Yellowskins” or the “Darkies.” You yourself say, “There is no such thing as typification by race.” So why make it the basis for a team name? Why allow that to persist?

          You also twist what I say to cast me as personally offended by the name Redskins, which I am not; I did not say I am offended by the name, but rather that I find the name to be offensive. The notion that “one cannot logically be offended by a epitaph that is inapplicable to him by immutable characteristic or at least residence” ironically (given your fondness for this particular historical analogy) describes exactly the willingness to look the other way that started the ball rolling in Nazi Germany toward the acquiescence of the mass of German Christians in the dehumanization and slaughter of the Jews.

          1. Whoops, you’re right OBT. I missed that about only Redskins offending you. I apologize.

            You have a good point about typification by race as a mascot name, but Aboriginal Americans are not a race. They are a migrated off-shoot of the Asian race, so the word Redskin is not meant to be a racial description. Although, in fairness, I acknowledge that is used that way both innocently and derogatorily.

            I don’t see much difference between finding something offensive and being offended by it, but that’s me. I’ll give you that one. It’s a fair distinction in the minds of some.

            As to the Nazi/Jews, the problem with the gentile Germans was not that they failed to take offense, but that they failed to act in defense of the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped, political opponents and a variety of other people who, while innocent of any crime, were nonetheless crushed under the wheel of the lawless Nazi regime. I suspect that many highly educated gentile Germans did take offense to Nazi lawlessness, but the point is that they didn’t DO anything about it. Which is the danger to any society when men turn into racial/ethnic grievance mongers and offense-takers instead of being Centurions who act in defense of the weak and vulnerable. I believe that we are at the precipice of that right now in America, which is why I am bothering to argue about it. I contend that American men need to stop worrying about hurt feelings and start actively defending our culture, constitution and way of life.

        2. Mom always told me not to get in the middle of a dog fight, but here goes.

          First, I have to side with Dredd with regard to the offensiveness of the term “Redskin”. I think the context in which a racial epithet is used influences its level of offensiveness. I find it hard to believe that the original namers of the Washington football team were actively trying to offend anyone. Maybe they were being insensitive, but those were much less sensitive times. The Nazis on the other hand were definitely trying to demean, offend and persecute the Jews. Likening the two is similar to telling your kid he can’t have a BB gun because howitzers are dangerous. Now if the Snyders invade Foxwoods and force the inhabitants into ghettos it may be a different story.

          On the other hand, I do believe it is acceptable and to a certain degree expected, for a person to find offensive (or for that matter to be offended by) any language that is insulting or causes undue distress to another person or group of people. I grew up in southern Mississippi as the son of relatively non-racist parents and remember feeling very uncomfortable witnessing white people verbally abusing black people. The people being abused were very distressed and I was offended. The problem these days is that many people are far too sensitive.

          As for the Colt 45’s issue, I wonder if it would be OK to replace the gun with a picture of a malt liquor can? The latter is probably responsible for more deaths than the former.

          1. PC: Just one final point of clarification before I shut up (having already proved the old Internet axiom that every debate on the Web must eventually result in someone invoking Hitler): I’m not likening the use of the name Redskins to Hitler’s demonization of the Jews (the two are in no way comparable). I cited the Nazis in support of my disagreement with Dredd’s statement that one should not find offensive epithets that are not directed at one’s own group — something it sounds like you and I are in agreement on.

          2. OK, this I promise is my last ride on this one.

            What we have here is a rhetorical preference. The word “offense” means different things to different people. Much of my aversion to men who claim they are offended by something is that I consider offense-taking to be something that American Men should never do. For example, witnessing an act of verbally bullying (in my parlance) should cause anger, not offense–the former being a word that translates into action, the latter not (in my mind).

            But I’m wrong (third time today BTW) about that. I looked it up just now and one definition of offend is: “to cause dislike, anger, or vexation.” So yeah, I guess I would be offended by the site of a powerless person (race immaterial) being unfairly berated by a powerful person, in the sense that I would be angrily vexed and want to do something about it.

          3. Great discussion. Lots to learn and think about from everyone. Just fyi, North Mecklenburg High School’s original nickname was the “Rebels”(they are now the Vikings) and West Meck was the “Indians” (they are now the “Hawks”). I just hope I get to keep Gnarly Goat for the duration.
            I think we might all be able to agree on OBT’s original point that modifying history in order to appease changing cultural norms is stupid. I would say it is dangerous.

          4. #NameChangeGoneWrong TClaps to OBT for pointing this out to me yesterday, but Abe Pollin changed the name of the Washington Bullets to the Wizards because black street violence in DC and the assination of his buddy (Yitzak Rabin) bummed him out. At the time, there had been no great hue and cry for the change, he just did it (after holding a contest to pick the name) and probably felt pretty self-righteous about it (but who knows). And then, BANG, the PC Police got him for naming his team (wait for it) after a rank (Grand Wizard) in the KKK.

  3. Speaking of what happened in Nazi Germany I commend the book “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews to the F3 Nation. I read it in about a half hour. Short book but important topic.

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