Saturday, February 12, 2011

No More Heroes

One of my tiny band of commenters took issue with my post about Mississippi commemorating KKK-founder Nathan Bedford Forrest with a new license plate. He said, not unreasonably, that all historical figures are flawed to some degree and that we shouldn't really celebrate anyone. Except "maybe Gandhi".

Now that got me wondering... I wonder if there is dirt even on Gandhi? Time for some Wikipedia-ing... It seems Gandhi had a big problem with the apartheid system in South Africa. Sounds reasonable until you find he mostly objected to the government classing blacks and Indians as equal. Gandhi wrote that Indians were "undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Kaffirs" and that South African blacks were "troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals". Damn. Even Gandhi was at least partially a c*nt? This is depressing... do I now live in a soulless, uninspiring world entirely devoid of heroes?

I guess the lesson is not to dig too deep into heroes and to let some sh*t slide. If bad parts are outweighed by positive achievements within a hero's historical context, just forget about it. Let's overlook Gandhi's racism and remember him for his nonviolent overthrow of British rule in India. Let's forget Churchill firebombing Dresden and remember him leading Britain to victory against Hitler. Let's forget about the Lincoln administration massacring the Sioux and remember him instead for preserving the union and nixing slavery...

But, MG, it still stands that there is absolutely nothing redeeming to remember Nathan Bedford Forrest for. That long-dead piece of sh*t is worthy only of the adoration of people who think slavery, secession and the Klan were good ideas. Forrest's legacy is entirely defined by his odiousness whereas real heroes are defined by great achievements that outweigh their bad baggage.


1 comment:

  1. Right on Herb! Forrest was scum of the Earth. There is absolutely NOTHING good to remember him by.
    Confederate traitors like him should have been shot and we wouldn't have a lot of the problems we have with the south today.


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