I was checking out the possible commence date of the remake of a superb film, the original being a factual WW2 production; true-to-the numbers of dead flight crew members. There was quite a bit of angst and signs of liberals shovelling their heads up their nether regions when it came to the tricky bit where the Wing Commander greets his black labrador upon returning from a mission.
Now as to the rights and wherefores of a word, in common usage at the time: and as I am an Englishman, not American, nor Black; it all depends on individual taste and sense as to the rights and wrongs of such a term. Some may state that it (the word) should never, ever be used again: others take the viewpoint that, if someone gets upset over the term, then that is their problem. I read David’s post about his hero’s recording, and how the Beeb had censored the word off the sound-track, and whilst fully agreeing with his sentiment regarding liberals’ sensitivities; I find listening to the actual track a tad less than tuneful but there again, that’s just me! Just not my cup of tea.
Whilst clicking through late-night TV, searching for summat’ to watch as not yet ready for kip, I came across Reginald D. Hunter, he of the winsomely-entitled Pride and Prejudice… and Niggas show. As he said, ‘That word can be used, and not an ounce of harm can be taken: but the next guy to use spits it out with venom!
So, my viewpoint reckons, if anyone uses the term today, they use it in the full knowledge that it was a truly nasty, derogatory term when used, say, in the Deep South in the days before MLK or LBJ. When the film was made, and, much earlier when those brave men took off to fight their way across France and Germany towards the dams, with their hand-held sights to pick up the dam towers, and their downward-facing spotlights which provided a perfect aiming point for the ack-ack guns sited on both sides of those dams, if anyone thought of the word, he was thinking of Guy Gibson’s coal-black labrador, named as probably thousands more dogs were, without a racist thought made in all of them.
Before ending this small essay, I recently visited a site where this re-naming thing was being discussed: and I would like to copy some of the comments made on that site. I include them because, to my slightly-addled sense of humour, they really ring the bell! If you do not believe that humour sometimes is the best medicine, especially when dealing with terms so upsetting; my reply would simply be: get used to it!
Missing the point!
I think you’re all missing the point here. Imagine a family of diggers moved into your street. You wouldn’t be happy about it, would you? And where there’s one family of diggers, there’s usually more diggers. Before you know it, the whole area is overrun with diggers, your house it’s worth nothing and your car has been stolen.
Coming Next: WWII without anti-semitism
Because you can’t have Jews being rounded up and shipped off to death camps in this day and age. Historical accuracy go screw yourself.
And it’s “just the name of a dog – what’s the big deal?”,… OK so let’s change the Lancaster bombers to B52’s, let’s change Barnes’ name to something more American friendly like Hank, and while we’re at it, let’s have Glen Miller’s St Louis Blues swinging over the end credits instead of that British Imperialistic Dambusters March…
It’s not the dog’s name I object to, it’s having all-Hobbit flight crews and making Barnes Wallis an Elf.
By Jove, I got it!
Instead of removing the allegedly offensive name, why not just redress the balance by calling the rest of the cast ‘Honky’!
Who pays the piper, calls the tune – again
Stephen Fry should heed his own words “you just can’t go back, which is unfortunate” – and refrain from b*****ing around with History. The poor animal will probably end up being played by a chipmunk – all cute and apple pie.
Hollywood has so corrupted it’s output that half the world would misbelieve any actual historical fact presented to it.