Changing names, removing statues while avoiding 1984-ism

Right now, product names like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Eskimo Pie, Mrs. Butterworth’s, Cream of Wheat, the Native American woman on Land O’Lakes butter are being changed, and statues of various Confederate leaders are being removed. There are calls for the Texas Rangers sports team to be renamed (and of course, the Washington Redskins), and calls for racist street names to be renamed. The Laura Ingalls Wilder award has been renamed. College football stadium names are under review. Californian elementary schools (Jefferson, Washington) are being renamed. There are calls for Broward County to be renamed, along with McCarran airport in Las Vegas.

All of these changes or removals may be justified on an individual case-by-case basis. But on a broader, macro scale, this behavior is becoming reminiscent of the quote from George Orwell’s 1984:

“…every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed…And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute… nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

How do we as a society change or remove individual things without eventually morphing towards the 1984 attitude being described here?

Nothing is being rewritten. Nobody’s pretending that the names didn’t exist or that the statues didn’t stand.

Yes, but the sentiment is similar - things need to be edited, changed, removed, renamed to fit what the present-day wants.

Oh don’t worry, I’m sure the writings of Nikole Hanna-Jones and Howard Zinn will still be around for decades to come.

Yes, so what? The things were named according to the contemporary mores and they no longer apply. Are you concerned about the loss of New Amsterdam?

I don’t think so. I mean, removing a wart isn’t an attempt to revise history. And a lot of those statues are warts–they were put up to control Blacks during Jim Crow, not as some public-minded dedication to history.

Right. Previous names are not being completely obliterated from all published reports and gaslighting engaged to deny those names were ever used. People will be able to read about those old racist names when they want.

If the Ottomans could get past the renaming of Constantinople, I think Americans can survive renaming the Washington Redskins, etc.

It’s not erasing the history, it’s acknowledging that this part of history isn’t appropriate, today, to glorify.

When you know better, you (should) do better.

A closer 1984ism would be having history books indicate natives willingly gave up their lands for the new settlers. When, in fact, they systematically slaughtered them.

Even more so, the entire concept that these statues reflect a proud culture, not a shameful past moment in history. Total erasing of actual history.

Statues and such are not about history, they are about honoring the person depicted. In the case of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, again they aren’t about history, but about a hurtful stereotype. Removing the statues or renaming a product isn’t about erasing history. It’s about removing an honor that shouldn’t have been bestowed to begin with, or removing a hurtful stereotype.

That being said, I think that in some cases, the good the individual did outweigh the evil. Washington, Jefferson, etc. were products of their times. My impression is that if they were around today, they would realize that owning slaves was wrong and would fight to erase the negative aspects of their legacies. On the other hand I suspect that someone like Nathan Bedford Forrest, and most of the other Confederates, would still be unrepentant white supremacists if they were around today.

The Ottomans didnt name it Constantinople. And Im sure there are still some Greek-Roman Christians who are still upset about it. The Ottomans did try to erase the christian nature of some of its greatest cathedrals.

They stopped using them as churches and started using them as mosques, but do you have a cite that shows they tried to erase the history of these buildings having originally been built as cathedrals?

They repainted/covered all the artwork and removed all the religious iconary. From the above cite: Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, who subsequently ordered the building converted into a mosque.[24] The bells, altar, iconostasis, ambo and sacrificial vessels were removed and many of the mosaics were plastered over. Islamic features – such as the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets – were added while in the possession of the Ottomans. The Justinianic church was already in disrepair and in 1461 it was demolished and the Fatih Mosque was erected in its place.

The Church of the Pantocrator, a church favoured for imperial burials in the latter Byzantine Empire, became the Zeyrek Mosque.

The Church of SS Sergius and Bacchus, a church built by Justinian I, became a mosque dubbed the Little Hagia Sophia .

yes, they stopped using them as cathedrals and started using them as mosques, but as far as I know they never pretended that these structures were originally built as mosques?

Since there were no internet nor free access to information, I would argue that by so fundamentally changing the structure and interior of the churches so that they could be mosques, within a few years any collective memory of them being churches was forgotten. Also, in 1453, the population of Constantinople was only about 10% of what it had been and most of the 30k remaining population was deported.

In 1453 when the Turks took Constantinople it had already been depopulated to 10% of its former population, following a series of bitter wars – some with the turks, but many others with the Bulgarians, the Knights Hospitallier, etc. Most of Byzantium’s decline came at the hands of the crusaders who tore it down and established the Latin Empire in its place.

I don’t know how to find it, but one of my threads in the old system was entitled something like “How Long Before Reading Gone with the Wind is Socially Unacceptable?”

I should’ve asked HBO.

Are you aware that in the book, it was the government that was doing all of this? It should be obvious that there’s a vast difference between that and the public deciding it was to change some public displays.

This is democracy at work. It’s the opposite of Big Brother.

If you want to avoid 1984-style history-rewriting, then the first step is to tear down all of these monuments, because they were erected in the first place to rewrite history. They exist to commemorate the glorious Old South that never existed.

Personally, I find the presence of these statues to be much more 1984-ish then their absence would be. They are clearly attempts to paint these men who raised arms against their country in support of a repugnant ideology, and were rightfully and soundly defeated in that endeavor, as war heros, worthy of being celebrated – the equals of those who fought against them in support of freedom.

The South has been trying to gaslight people about their history since the war ended.