Forgotten History

Mythopoeika

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Netflix will be removing real-life disaster footage from their film Bird Box, due to protests.
What I find interesting is that this is being removed from a finished film, as well as from a film which I think only exists in streaming form. Similarly I wonder if unpopular people might disappear from streaming films, or be altered a la the mammy character from Tom & Jerry.
Eventually, they will find a way to edit real life in real time, so that life for everyone becomes suitably bland.
 
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Netflix will be removing real-life disaster footage from their film Bird Box, due to protests.
What I find interesting is that this is being removed from a finished film, as well as from a film which I think only exists in streaming form. Similarly I wonder if unpopular people might disappear from streaming films, or be altered a la the mammy character from Tom & Jerry.
I don't know much about the Bird Box example but I feel the retroactive removal of controversial content from old programmes/films such as Tom & Jerry also removes an opportunity for discussion. Will the next generation even be aware of historic negative racial stereotypes in the entertainment industry, for example, if all of them are edited out?

How can society learn from its mistakes if it has no idea which ones it made in the first place?
 

Ermintruder

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Last year, there were international commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of WW1. Many people are oblivious to the fact that in many respects, that war really saw its end in 1919, making this year the actual 100th anniversary..especially with .the scuttling of the German Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow

In the lead-up to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Admiral Von Reuter of the German Fleet took it upon himself to order his sailors to sink their entire fleet, which resulted in one of the most significant incidents of the entire war.

At least fifty ships were sunk, and a recorded total of nine German sailors were shot (a casualty figure that could reasonably be queried, considering the sheer massive scale of what happened that day). The entire situation must've been horrific for all concerned, and whilst none of us can have a true insight as to the methods and mechanisms, it must be said that the episode was a disaster from every perspective.

It's horrifying to consider that German sailors who refused to turn-off their flooding valves were being shot out of hand, and yet inescapable to accept that the Royal Navy had a responsibility and authority to stop the whole episode taking place.

There is some mainstream media coverage and comment happening just now regarding the anniversary of the scuttling. Keep a lookout for it, and especially during the lead-in to the Treaty signing itself, which could be around late June 2019.

This BBC link from 2015 contains a fascinating letter home from a young Royal Navy Sub Lt Hugh David who witnessed the whole thing

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33152438

(I think I've asked this question before- was the Scapa Flow incident, immediately followed by Versailles, the reason why a minority of UK war memorials are carved with the dates 1914-1919, rather than 1918?)
 

Krepostnoi

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I think I've asked this question before- was the Scapa Flow incident, immediately followed by Versailles, the reason why a minority of UK war memorials are carved with the dates 1914-1919, rather than 1918?
Not impossible that this refers to the poor sods who were sent over to Russia to support/"advise" the Whites during the Civil War, a proportion of whom would not have made it back home again. I don't know for sure when British troops were withdrawn, but I'd guess 1920 is the probably upper bound.
 

EnolaGaia

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maximus otter

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...a minority of UK war memorials are carved with the dates 1914-1919, rather than 1918?)
I’m guessing it’s just a technicality. For example the US was still technically at war with Germany until 19.10.1951. I suppose that, had a US GI been killed under certain circumstances between 1945 and then, his name would appear on war memorials.

maximus otter
 

Ermintruder

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Thanks for that link. Some fascinating perspectives emerge from this re WW2:
Wiki said:
The state of war was retained since it provided the U.S. with a legal basis for keeping troops in Western Germany
(noting that this is a simplified summary of circumstances, and therefore not fully-cited via references)

I've never heard this 'incompetant state' justification used with regard to the retention of British Forces Germany BFG (nee British Army Of the Rhine BAOR) ie that the constituency which was the German state at the outbreak of WW2 being so different from the immediate post-1945 corpus that it justified the continued occupation of the country until reunification in the early 1990s, but it does represent a logical excuse.

It's intriguing that I've never heard this openly-stated previously, either by historians or by friends & family that have served in BAOR/BFG up until....well, the present day, since BFG still exists as a small shadow of its former self. According to Wiki, it is meant to finally cease to exist this year (2019).

Perhaps I never registered this dimension, due to the overarching immediacy of what is called the Cold War, and it was somehow always lurking as part of British foreign policy.

On a related note, I did not know (until now, reading https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_reparations) that apparently following Yalta, Germany paid zero reparations to the UK or other Allied nations. This is actually a real surprise to me.

Whether this was influenced by Germany still paying reparations to recipients arising from WW1 until 2010 (almost a century of payback) or, some gargantuan knock-for-knock reconcilliation (which I have NEVER seen stated in writing) so when I say was Dresden perhaps considered to be a cancellation/equivalency for Coventry and the London Blitz, I mean no offence to be taken on either side.

Amazing stuff (well, it is for olds who were young-enough to be born after it all)
 
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I don't know much about the Bird Box example but I feel the retroactive removal of controversial content from old programmes/films such as Tom & Jerry also removes an opportunity for discussion. Will the next generation even be aware of historic negative racial stereotypes in the entertainment industry, for example, if all of them are edited out?

How can society learn from its mistakes if it has no idea which ones it made in the first place?

I believe there are some old Looney Tunes cartoons that were released on DVD with a disclaimer, and a recorded piece to camera explaining, along the lines of, "this cartoon reflects values which are unacceptable now, and were unacceptable then, however...", in order to frame them in a historical context.

Mammy is an interesting example in that she has been edited back and forth many times over the decades.

I would generally veer towards the "public consumption" version (i.e., the cartoon shown on a Saturday morning) to remove the offensive content, while retaining it elsewhere - as an option on DVDs, in library collections, etc., so long as the disclaimer remained in place.

But it's an inexact science, to say the least.
 
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Here's a sidebar to recording history.

The September-October 2004 issue of "Antique Phonograph News" reported that a copy of "Vecchia Zimarra" (the "Coat Song") sung by Enrico Caruso had been offered on Ebay with an opening bid of $20,000.

The linked page reveals why this rarity was probably worth no more than about $25. Yet the story of how the renowned tenor came to make a record of the bass aria is well worth reading.

Even better, to hear the story from the lips of Frances Alda, who was there, followed by the aria itself as recorded in 1916. Alda recorded her introduction in the late 1940s, when she would have been about seventy. Her beautiful diction is very typical of the period and shows little sign of her New Zealand/Australian background or her long residence in the United States. A double time-capsule and free to enjoy! :clap:

More about the Christchurch-born singer here.
 
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I believe there are some old Looney Tunes cartoons that were released on DVD with a disclaimer, and a recorded piece to camera explaining, along the lines of, "this cartoon reflects values which are unacceptable now, and were unacceptable then, however...", in order to frame them in a historical context.

Mammy is an interesting example in that she has been edited back and forth many times over the decades.

I would generally veer towards the "public consumption" version (i.e., the cartoon shown on a Saturday morning) to remove the offensive content, while retaining it elsewhere - as an option on DVDs, in library collections, etc., so long as the disclaimer remained in place.

But it's an inexact science, to say the least.
The DVD is a dying format. The benefit of watching offensive programmes today, unedited, is that we have a modern lens to view them through - as well as a much more balanced and varied representation of people of a different ethnicity &c.

As a sidenote, I grew up as part of a mixed race family, so seeing how racist previous generations had been in the name of entertainment gave me an idea of what my mother/uncle/grandfather had to face. I remember asking what the "w" word meant as a result of the Major saying it in Fawlty Towers. It's not a word you hear much nowadays, granted, but I read an article recently that complained that the show had no place in the 2010s - completely missing the fact that the whole point of the character was to show an ageing colonialist who didn't know any better. If everything offensive is censored because it causes offence, how will we know what is offensive?
 
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