Thursday, February 23, 2012

Idiot's delight

Just in case you thought politicans had cornered the market on idiotic behavior, here are a couple of stories that show the world of sports is no piker when it comes to leaving your brains behind.

First is this ridiculous story courtesy of the fantastic uniform site Uni Watch, where we find out that Major League Baseball is effectively preventing the Houston Astros from offering a historicaly accurate redition of the uniforms they wore at the outset of the franchise, when they were known as the Houston Colt .45s.  The reason?  We don't want, heaven forbid, to have an image of a gun on the front of the uniform.  Because, you know, nothing insites violence in the hearts of rebellious youth quite like seeing a Colt .45 on a jersey.  The image at left shows how the uniform should look; at Uni Watch there's an artist's conception of what the throwback jersey will probably wind up being.

Of course, baseball fans might be willing to chalk that up to Bud Selig; after all, when did the man ever make a good decision?  But, once again, if you thought that, you'd be wrong.  The next one comes from NASCAR, which seems to have some troubles with the General Lee (the car from Dukes of Hazzard) making appearances at races this season.  The reason - well, I probably don't have to tell you.  It's the presence of the Confederate flag on the car's rooftop.

This idea of airbrushing history to eliminate the things we find objectionable is profoundly offensive, not to mention an absolute falsehood.  Imagine, for example, the famous scene from Gone With the Wind in which we see the tattered Confederate flag flying over the battlefield hospital.  Now suppose we Photoshopped the flag out, so that only the injured soldiers remain.  Artistically, would the scene still have the impact that it has in the original?  More important, is the scene more or less historically accurate?  I don't think anyone would argue that elimniating the flag makes the scene look better; moreover, try to imagine a military camp that didn't fly its army's flag.
Abraham Lincoln contended that states could not seced; ergo, there never was a nation called the Confederate States of America.  As such, the Stars and Bars are a part of this nation's history.  You can't airbrush it out, no matter how hard you might try.  And you shouldn't be able to outlaw it, either - it is, odious as some might see it, a form of protected speech.

Likewise, there was indeed a baseball team that was called the Houston Colt .45s.  We can't go back and retroactively name them the Astros, especially since it wouldn't explain why the team was called Astros two years before the construction of the stadium after which they were named.  And if you're not going to acknowledge the team's roots in an accurate manner, why bother at all?

We used to chide the Communists for airbrushing out the images of figures who had fallen into disgrace.  You can't change history, we said.  Apparently the message never reached some people.  And a public which is already too stupid when it comes to American history is even more the poorer for it.  
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