Facts are now history

13 February 2021

9:00 AM

13 February 2021

9:00 AM

Your quiz for the week is to make the connection between the following people: fun-loving Greek hack Homer, veteran US centrist Democratic party politician Dianne Feinstein, dodgy-night-at-the-theatre president Abraham Lincoln and Middlesbrough-born peripatetic James Cook. The answer is that they are the latest individuals to have been ‘cancelled’ by the woke Taleban. Don’t worry, they’ll get around to you soon enough.

Homer is being kicked off college curricula in the USA because his character, Odysseus, had a habit of mansplaining to thick Greek women. It has always been my view that mansplaining means ‘telling someone, often a woman, something they don’t want to hear, but need to hear nonetheless’, as is that other modern excrescence, ‘gaslighting’. But still, Homer is disappearing.

Feinstein is an interesting case, being achingly liberal. A school was named after her in San Francisco but the city’s Board of Education is removing her name from the institution after having convened a panel of ‘local community’ activists to cleanse all bigots, racists and scumbags from living memory. Feinstein’s crime was that in 1984 she allowed a confederate flag to fly among a large display of flags when she was mayor of the city. A protestor pulled it down but — allegedly — Feinstein put it back. She claims she didn’t put it back, but nobody cares what she says, racist cow. They’re renaming an awful lot of schools in Frisco: that panel of maniacs did a thorough job.

Abraham Lincoln is also getting his name chiselled off some state school. Perhaps those activists believe the old Bob Monkhouse joke that on the morning of 23 September 1862 someone approached the president and said: ‘It was a wonderful thing you did yesterday, Abe, freeing the slaves.’ And Lincoln replied: ‘I freed the WHAT!?’ Or perhaps the fact that he was not in favour of black suffrage easily outweighs that declaration of emancipation. Who knows?

Certainly not the magnificently idiotic Gabriela Lopez, head of the San Francisco Board of Education, who canvassed those community activists and acted upon their advice. Paul Revere is another named to be scrubbed from history in the wholly mistaken belief that in the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 he intended to colonise the Penobscot Indians, which he most certainly did not. Many of the names were cast into darkness on the basis of grotesque historical inaccuracies — but Lopez was at pains to point out that historical accuracy did not matter one jot and that the panel had taken pride in not consulting with historians regarding whether something happened or it didn’t. I mentioned the Taleban earlier — but hell, even they were less stupid than Lopez. The Taleban were following a primitive, totalitarian belief-system when they dynamited the Persian Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan — but at least those statues were actually of Buddhist origin. Lopez is following a more modern but even more deranged faith in which facts do not matter at all: they are quite beside the point. Some locals have pointed out that it might be seen as a bit remiss to spend a million dollars renaming schools that have been closed for months. None of this cuts any ice with Gabriela. For Lopez, facts themselves are racist.

Captain Cook has also given his name to a school — a smallish primary school in Marton, Middlesbrough, which my school nearby regularly beat at football back in the 1970s. Cook was born in Marton and Middlesbrough is rather proud of its second most famous son (after Paul Rodgers, lead singer of Free and Bad Company). But now the demented Black Lives Matter activists have Cook in their sights, demanding that two museums bearing his name be closed down or ‘re-imagined’. One of those museums is a particularly charming affair in the village of Great Ayton, just south of Marton, where Cook went to school. It is his actual old schoolroom, a slice of 18th century history.

According to BLM, Cook ‘invaded’ Australia and New Zealand and murdered loads of people because he was a white supremacist bastard. Again, the facts do not matter a jot. Cook never sought violence and was — to the dismay of many who sailed with him — rather smitten by the Maoris, who he reckoned were a good sort. You cannot ‘invade’ a country with 50 people. I suppose it would be entirely beyond the pale to ask what future may have lain in store for Australia had Cook (or Abel Tasman) not ‘discovered’ the place and if instead it had lain pristine and undisturbed. Would it now be one of the most affluent countries on the planet, a liberal democracy which affords all its citizens a standard of living which is second to pretty much none? Or would it still be in a kind of perpetual Dreamtime — and all we would hear of it is the eerie sound of a didgeridoo drifting across the Coral Sea? A bit like those islands the Indians won’t let you visit — North Sentinel, for example, in the Andaman and Nicobars — where the locals have yet to escape from a Paleolithic culture and still wave bows and arrows at the sky if they see an aeroplane (much as they do, actually, in Bridgend).

It is less the activists against whom we should take up cudgels in this continuing, ferocious, de-enlightenment. It is the authorities who connive with them, out of stupidity, ignorance or fear of being labelled themselves as ‘racist’. The corporate, institutionalised woke-by-proxy. The craven idiots at the Football Association and the Premier League who still make players kneel in support of an organisation which loathes everything about our country. I notice the English rugger-buggers are kneeling down now — but not, thank God, the Scots. The Scots won and I was delighted. We need a few more victories like that.

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