the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Political Correctness Strikes Again!

Last night I saw the following article on about the Jackson remake of the classic war story and movie The Dambusters.Now this to me is just plain madness. It doesn;t matter what impact or controversy comes about from certain subjects or situations, at the end of the day history is just that; history. And for future generations this must be upheld. If anyone has an issue with it they need to take a serious look at themselves as I would love the only issue in my life to be name-calling. And it is such a shame coming from a true gentlemen, Stephen Fry, a person who has never shied away from telling as it is…

It reminds me of a similar story. While going through my rebelliosu years I hung out with a guy called Robert who had a Black Lab called “Darkie”. We were walking to the Tearooms to get some smokes and walked past the Cheviot Pub when the dog went round the back of a van in front of the main doors. As loud as he could muster, Robert called out “Darkie, get ouf of there!” to which the dog didn’t respond, but two very large, and somewhat surprised Maoris came round from behind the van – they were the band in the pub that night and were unloading their gear! Thankfully Robert apologised very quickly trying to explain it was his dog…


HISTORICAL INACCURACY: A painting of Dambuster Guy Gibson and his pet dog Nigger, renamed Digger for the Peter Jackson film.

One of the big questions hanging over Sir Peter Jackson’s Dambusters film has finally been answered – the dog Nigger will be renamed Digger as it might offend Americans.

The film’s script writer, actor Stephen Fry, revealed the change to British newspaper The Daily Mail.

In the original 1955 film the name of pilot Guy Gibson’s black Labrador is spoken 12 times as a code word to report successful dam breaches to the RAF’s bomber command, The Daily Mail reported.

Fry said: “there is no question in America that you could ever have a dog called the N-word. It’s no good saying that it is the Latin word for black or that it didn’t have the meaning that it does now – you just can’t got back, which is unfortunate … Digger seems OK, I reckon”.

However some historians and aviation enthusiasts were unhappy with the name change.

The dog is buried at RAF Scampton in Britain, where the Dambusters 617 squadron was based. Curator of the RAF Scampton museum accused Fry of trying to “rewrite history”.

“It’s not a problem with coloured people, it’s the people in power creating the problem. Sod their political correctness and sod human rights,” said Mervyn Hallam.

“They should keep the dog’s name the same – it’s ridiculous that they are trying to rewrite history. His grave is still here with his name on it.”

Dambusters historian Jim Shortland said it was sacrificing historical accuracy for political correctness. “One wonders what else the film might get wrong. Once you know something is incorrect, you’re going to be suspicious.”

But Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire spokesman Phil Bonner told The Daily Mail the dog’s name was emotive. “In some respects it’s a reflection of the changes that have happened across the generations.”

Jackson first announced plans for the film, to be directed by his protege Christian Rivers, in 2006. Fry, who also has a small part in The Hobbit, joined as script writer in 2007.

As of last year, Jackson was fine tuning Fry’s script, with no set date for shooting. It is understood some pre-production work has been underway for some time, including full scale replicas of Lancaster bombers, some of which were made in China.



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2 thoughts on “Political Correctness Strikes Again!

  1. While I am less than thrilled about this renaming, I would be surprised if this is the greatest error made in the movie—or if it would have been in any other movie. Unfortunately, historical movies and movies “based on real events” tend to be approximate at best, severely flawed at worst. Apart from historical problems and anachronisms, there are issues with actual persons who are demonized, invented love interests, characters that are merged into one, and similar. We are not talking about removing “nigger” from “Tom Sawyer”, but of rewriting it to make Jim white, Tom black, Hucks father a heroin user, Huck a girl, the Mississippi the Rio Grande, whatnot.

    • Keith Eleftheriou on said:

      Nice call Michael. However, and I hope I am right in this judgement, Jackson and Fry are not the kind to “Americanise” a historical movie especially with romance and sensationalism, its not in either of their psyches, nor interests to do so. If anything they will likely ‘exhaust’ the audience with detail to the point that some watchers may find it dull and true historians find it brilliant. My biggest fear (other than the dog name) is that CGI will ruin the movie, and I say that using Star Wars as an example; the first trilogy (pts 4,5,6) were so much more enjoyable than 1,2,3 due to the ‘naievety’ of the special effects, but gave a more honest approach to movie making…the modern CGI makes it seem too real as opposed to seemingly real if that makes any sense.
      As an aside, last night I watched “Blazing Saddles” – now 30 years on, it was good to see Sky TV did not alter the words or phrases that are such considered taboo by the bleeding hearts and artists.

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