History, Hero Worship, and Being Problematic

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There has been a lot of talk about taking down monuments and changing names. Mostly this is due to things the people have done that are horrifying.

Removing the name or monuments to these people has been likened to sanitizing our history or hiding the horrors of our past.

The whole debate is complicated by the fact that most of these people have also done good things. So do we let one mistake destroy the legacy of a great historical figure?

Vintage still life. Vintage compass lies on an ancient world map in 1565.

History is a very human practice. It’s not a science and relies on what people wrote down and what they chose to leave out. Walt Disney smoked like a chimney but you’d never know from his pictures at the parks or the official videos. It’s possible that future generations will never know.

To get an idea how much we can confuse and conflate history have a look at this video.

Columbus was a genocidal idiot, yet I bet most people didn’t know that.

History is messy and the moment you start worshiping someone you start ignoring the bad they did. Very few historical figures are perfect and it’s important to remember. If we ignore the bad that historical figures did, we risk repeating it.

We also have to not go too far the other way and forget the good that they have done (not Columbus, he’s horrible). It’s a common practice now to demonize people for things they’ve done or said in their past. It’s important to balance out what people did with how they tried to make amends and how they grew. Just because someone was a dick doesn’t mean they didn’t change.

My Opinion

Having a statue in a public space, having your name on a street or building is an honour. If the historical figure has done something horrible (Genocide, mass murder, slavery, etc) move their statue to a museum with the proper, balanced, historical information. Or take their name off and replace it with something more innocent or someone more worthy. Leave a plaque explaining the old name and why it was changed.

 

Later days,

Éric

Blue Victory VS Doctor D.U.M.B.

“You have besmirched my good name!” The man in a long purple lab coat bellowed as he took a step closer to the edge of the building.

“What name is that?” I asked, trying to sound calm. I had no idea who this person was or why he’d taken my date hostage.

Waving the weird contraption in my direction as he spoke he said, “Doctor Umberto Michael Berman! World’s premier interdimensional scientist.”

Laura squeaked as he pointed the device back at her head.

“Oh… Doctor D.U.M.B. You were running dangerous experiments on runaway teens. You smirched your own name.”

“Not helping, Verity…” growled Laura. Even held captive by a crazed scientist she still had time to glare at me. She looked good, even captured by a mad scientist. I should have asked her out earlier. Her long orange curly hair flew in the wind, and there was a lot of wind on the roof of an 80 storey building.

“Your article destroyed my credibility. You and that blasted Blue Victory!”

“Okay Doc… You’re really close to the edge of the building, you have my date hostage, what do you want?” I took a small step forward, trying to look harmless by spreading my arms out.

“I want you to pay for what you’ve done. I want you to suffer as I have suffered. I lost everything, my wife left me, my company disowned me, and I’m wanted by the police… I want you to suffer.”

“You realize that you’re holding my boss and editor hostage, right? She tortures me on a regular basis.”

“I’m not an idiot. I can tell this is a date. No one shows that much cleavage for a business meeting.” He gestured at me with the device again. Looking down at myself, I had to agree I’d never wear this to the office. Laura was my boss and editor and had I worn this to work she’d have given me a sweater.

“So you want to make me suffer. How can I make that happen without anyone getting thrown off the roof?” I took another step forward, if I could get close enough I could grab her and blame my speed on adrenaline.

I shouldn’t have mentioned the roof, he looked behind him, startled, and still holding Laura, fell backwards.

A quick spin helped me telepathically change into my Blue Victory costume and I ran and leapt off the building. I ran down the building for a little trying to spot the Doctor and Laura. They were both falling fast, as one does without the ability to fly.

As quickly as I could, I flew towards Laura and gently grabbed her by the waist. I did the same with the Doc and slowed our decent until we landed gently on the pavement.

The Doc’s eyes were wide with terror as he said, “Thank you Blue Victory. I thought I was going to die.”

In contrast, Laura’s eyes were equally as wide, but in surprise and recognition, “You’re…” she started and reached out, taking off my glasses. I had forgotten to take them off.

“Where did my Dimensional-Tunneller go?” The Doctor asked and I saw the device fall a few feet away from Laura. A beam of yellow energy shot out from it towards her and I rushed to push her out of the way. For the first time in my life I was too slow and we were both caught by the ray.