Comes to light that a Canadian school commission has burned or destroyed near five thousand works of the Ontario libraries as they considered that they presented stereotypes of the indigenous peoples, they were disrespectful with their cultural practices or, simply, they contained terms such as “Indian” or “Eskimo”, considered today derogatory. Among the destroyed works are copies of Asterix or Tintin, as well as novels and stories aimed at children and young people.
Not because they are expected, these things cease to cause concern. I say hopeful because culture wars have long become a new opium and source of political adrenaline for the people. Judging others morally always puts, and in this resurgence of the Puritan spirit, many people are getting used to demanding (or worse: tolerating) that everything that seems offensive to any minority or group with the capacity to convene be prohibited. They started with popular culture, censoring TV series, rap songs or Walt Disney movies. They then stuck their heads in museums, with campaigns to remove “unedifying” works of art. And for years they have been destroying libraries and removing statues. All this while maintaining campaigns of harassment and demolition of everyone (artists, teachers, comedians …) who does not agree with the well-thought pack.
Beyond how difficult it is to bear these hordes of enlightened haters (obsessed by the “hate crimes” of those who do not hate what they do), their insufferable moral superiority complex (which impels them to paternally protect us from any pernicious message, as if we were moral cretins), and the utter ineffectiveness of their methods (is there something that encourages reading more than forbidding a child a book? And something more educational than reading it with him?), the biggest and deepest problem that this type of Puritan ultras seems to have is that of laughter.
And they are not lacking in reasons. Note that arguments, no matter how reasonable, can be easily defused with fallacies, slogans, attacks, or appeals to activism or emotion, but laughter is always irrepressible and almost always unanswerable. A good joke leaves us without reply. If the insult usually disqualifies the person who emits it, the mockery, when it is effective (that is, when it gives the laugh), exposes the mocked. And this, always so convenient, that they laugh at you and what you say, not just anyone can bear. And less a fanatic.
Perhaps because of this, the league of Catholic schools Ontario fond of burning books took it with Asterix the Gaul, the hilarious comic collection of Uderzo and Goscinny in which the authors kindly make fun of everything and everyone (starting with the Gauls themselves, who are constantly caricatured, along with the Belgians, the English, the Spanish …) and in which, curiously, what is transmitted – in a very naive – it is an uncompromising defense of indigenism against Roman imperialism.
And I say naively because – now that statues of Columbus and others are moving and tearing down -, indigenous peoples are not and have not been some angels that do not deserve, like every god, his share of mockery and criticism. I am sorry for those who continue to believe in the biblical (or Rousseauian) myth of Eden, but there is no people or civilization, no matter how colonized, that does not have its lights and shadows. In fact, some of the conquered peoples were, before, tyrannical and cruel conquerors of others like them. And many hunter-gatherer societies are and have been as warlike and bloodthirsty as their means have allowed them. Disappoint yourself: until now, and except for marginal cases, no human group has settled on a territory without using force to occupy it and / or to avoid the intrusion of others, and I am afraid that very few, if any, have left to take advantage, when the opinion painted her bald, of the weaknesses of the neighbor.
This is not to say, obviously, that one approves or tolerates humiliation, marginalization, or the genocide of indigenous peoples, nor that it puts those who are now powerful and those who are no longer on the same level, nor that it is not necessary to compensate, in justice, all the possible victims of all the nearby abuses. What must be clear is that the battle to eradicate relations of domination has to be projected into the future, without denying or mythologizing the past, but recognizing it as such and learning from it. Whoever does not know and understand history is condemned to repeat it. The proof is in watching these Canadian Torquemada trainees.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.