Digger v Nigger

June 14th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tom Cardy at Stuff reports:

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 Stephen Fry revealed the change in an interview with the BBC.

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, it was 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 go back, which is unfortunate…Digger seems OK, I reckon”.

They were probably going to be damned, no matter what they decided. Fry makes a good point about how unacceptable that word would be playing to US audiences. However I don’t like rewriting history. Shakespeare has a bit of anti-semitism in The Merchant of Venice, but God forbid if someone ever tries to rewrite it, because it is not acceptable today.

Generally audiences can appreciate that in our past, attitudes and names were very different to today.

What I would have preferred is that they kept the original name, but maybe had a brief message at the begining of the film explaining the use of the name.

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103 Responses to “Digger v Nigger”

  1. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    This is a bit different from rewriting the Merchant of Venice. Merchant is about anti-semitism. Dam Busters is not about Guy Gibson’s dog (although I predict youi won’t be able to tell that after a few comments here). Dam Busters is being rewritten and remade, it is not a performance of some text – it’s a fictionalised version of a wartime event. Renaming the dog is pretty small (dog) bikkies.

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  2. Michaels (1,317 comments) says:

    Just more PC bullshit gone mad.

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  3. James Stephenson (2,024 comments) says:

    It’s not just the dog’s name, it was the code word for the successful breaching of the Mohne dam…but I suppose it’s pretty minor in the catalogue of Hollywood history re-writings, at least Barnes Wallis hasn’t become American and the Lancasters replaced by B17′s.

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  4. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Yes, James, the movie’s not being made by Mel Gibson

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  5. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Just more PC bullshit gone mad

    Yeah, being offended by objectionable shit is just pc bullshit.

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  6. KH (687 comments) says:

    I agree. Don’t rewrite history.
    This name change is another part of the ‘dumbing down’ that we endure from the media.
    One of the interesting things about the Dam Buster type stories is that it can all be so familiar to us. But also such another world completely. Not so long ago.
    Avoiding the ‘Nigger’ word actually makes it all the less interesting.

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  7. rouppe (916 comments) says:

    In last night’s interview it said that the dog was called “Nigger” because it is the Latin word for black. Stephen Fry still can’t bring himself to use it in a context that is not derogatory…

    I wonder whether he still refers to female dogs as bitches, since that word can be used in a derogatory way also… I also wonder whether he ever has a conversation about Niger since it is based on the same word…

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  8. Pete Macaulay (47 comments) says:

    The dog’s name was Nigger not Digger. The concept of the word having racist connotations did not exist until decades later. Even then though, calling a black dog “Nigger” was a bit cheeky. It is bizarre to change history to fit current morality. It would be similar to changing the use of the word “gay” to avoid match its current meaning

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  9. James Stephenson (2,024 comments) says:

    @miken – If Mel Gibson was remaking it the raid would have been foiled by a German POW who escapes from a British death camp…

    Who was responsible for the travesty that is U571?

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  10. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Are they still fighting Hitler? Half-expecting them to change it to Sarah Palin

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  11. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    The concept of the word having racist connotations did not exist until decades later.

    Blackface montage from Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

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  12. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    James

    Agreed. Some films are annoying for their distortion of history, when there are so many great stories that don’t need changing. Changing the name of one dog in Dambusters is neither here no there, though.

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  13. nasska (10,659 comments) says:

    Just been looking for Digeria in my copy of the World Atlas. Has it been nuked?

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  14. RRM (9,445 comments) says:

    I’m more confused by the motivations of the “We Must Keep it Nigger” camp.

    Why is faithfully retaining the dog’s now-unfashionable name such an issue?

    Surely the important part of this story is that some very young men took very overloaded bombers deep into enemy territory, and a lot of them didn’t come home again?

    (I hope the details of the bouncing bomb are more accurately drawn than they were in the original film…)

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  15. James Stephenson (2,024 comments) says:

    Changing the name of one dog in Dambusters is neither here no there, though.

    From one angle yes, but sometimes it’s the tiniest imperfections that irritate the most.

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  16. adze (1,863 comments) says:

    It’s a dramatic adaptation done on commercial grounds, so it doesn’t worry me. It would only concern me if it was a serious historical documentary.

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  17. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    nasska

    Black Country in the UK, Black Hills in Dakota, the Black Sea – where would we ever end…

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  18. snowy (106 comments) says:

    there’s an easy solution – Just replace the actors with black Americans. They are allowed to use the N-word.

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  19. RRM (9,445 comments) says:

    IMO it would be far more a travesty if the noise of the engines running on 14PSI boost for take-off is wrong.

    If they get the engine noise right, the movie will be worth watching just for the scenes with the aeroplanes.

    Lancaster bombers in modern digital HD will make RRM a very happy panda :-D

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  20. James Stephenson (2,024 comments) says:

    Ferchrissakes nobody tell Stephen Fry about The Black Dyke band…

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  21. wf (373 comments) says:

    We had a big old black huntaway called Nigger, probably named for the Dambuster dog. the hills would resound to shouts of ‘get in behind nigger, you black b******.’

    Never caused a hair to turn.

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  22. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    It would seem the politically correct thing to do when faced with stupid (but ultimately impotent) rule and regulation changes these days is to utter “[It's] political correctness gone mad”

    Why those exact words? What the fuck is wrong with people, get a new slogan you stupid elderly cunts.

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  23. flipper (3,550 comments) says:

    Interesting discourse, but most seem to have forgottern that Nigger was hit by a car and killed outside Gibson’s air base on the eve (the pre-raid final briefings had been done) of the dams raid.

    Gibson asked that Nigger be buried on the base at the estimated precise time of the bomb dropping. This was done.

    Perhaps the most relevant comment on this could be provided by Squad Leadr Les Munro (a much decorated (for real service, not time serving) Kiwi) who was on the raid, is still alive and now lives (I think ) in the Bay of Plenty.

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  24. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Engine noises for RRM, no Rolls-Royce Merlins though.

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  25. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    If I could just nigress for a little isn’t it scandalous that this hasn’t been altered to suit the new reality.

    http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafscampton/gallery/index.cfm?viewmedia=6

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  26. Viking2 (11,128 comments) says:

    wf (41) Says:
    June 14th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    We had a big old black huntaway called Nigger, probably named for the Dambuster dog. the hills would resound to shouts of ‘get in behind nigger, you black b******.’

    Never caused a hair to turn.

    Ha ditto, except that he was a hunting dog. And got run over and killed.

    Its a bit like the only person who is PC enough to call a maori a hori is another hori, and of course me.
    Get over themselves.

    Its all about lies,(which the left are good at), isn’t it.

    The truth shoudl prevail. Doesn’t need to be seen as derogatory. It is all about context. Which again the left fail to be able to understand.

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  27. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    The Seppos are as dumb as dog shit. So, we have to remove anything that might cause them to think.

    No wuckingfunder Michelle Bachman thinks she can be El Presidente, in a country full of dumbfucks, the slightly less dumfuck can be king.

    Fer crissake, Bachman makes Palin look intelligent.

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  28. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    Had a facebook conversation about this yesterday. I started in the “no kidding, even the 1950s North American release changed the name”, but then the following argument was put, to which I didn’t really have a response I liked:

    It’s not about the “right” to use the word. This dog really existed and was really called Nigger.

    Of course historic dramas script fictitious dialogue merely based on the true events. But that’s not the same thing as revising historical fact because the truth offends someone or the fiction is more entertaining. When they do that they cross a line. The harm is that the lie becomes the truth. The captain of the Titanic becomes a drunkard. The American war of independence becomes a result of atrocities committed by the British against on its own people. And our language is hijacked by fascists and niggards.

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  29. lofty (1,303 comments) says:

    “Why those exact words? What the fuck is wrong with people, get a new slogan you stupid elderly cunts.”

    heh, this made me smile, it conjures up visions of old bastards huddled over keyboards throughout NZ, continually muttering that fraught phrase “[It's] political correctness gone mad” followed by “In my day”.

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  30. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Graeme

    I think there would be shades of changes here. Mel Gibson’s films on Scotland and the American revolution took great liberties and annoyed lots of people. Changing the name of a dog (who hasn’t even got a speaking part) seems pretty minor. Could be a dog-whistle issue though!

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  31. wreck1080 (3,730 comments) says:

    What if the dog was called ‘c**t face’? Should it have been changed?

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  32. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    mikenmild: “Dam Busters is being rewritten and remade, it is not a performance of some text – it’s a fictionalised version of a wartime event”

    You have a habit of not allowing the facts to get in the way of your version. Typical traits of a leftie.

    Dambusters is based on actual events not a novel. Guy Gibson’s bloody dog was called Nigger. The same name (Nigger) was used by the W/Ops on the Lancasters to report back that the Mohne Dam had been breached. The fact that the dams were breached had a major impact in the industrial activities down the Ruhr valley – it is widely accepted that this helped truncate the war effort. Nothing fictional about that.

    http://www.dambusters.org.uk/Dam_Raids.html

    To have the pinko’s come out and suggest that history has to be changed because someone doesn’t like a word being repeated, is PC based bullshit.

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  33. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    ” Niggard”. Now there’s a word that is a bit dodgy! :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_about_the_word_%22niggardly%22

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  34. Mrs Makepeace (6 comments) says:

    Another engine noise for RRM. Not quite a Lancaster I’m afraid – but a Merlin engine at close quarters ain’t to be sneezed at:

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  35. Manolo (13,357 comments) says:

    The Seppos are as dumb as dog shit…

    MNIJ, do not let your hatred of anything American get the best (worst) of you. Remember, you could be writing these words in Japanese, if it weren’t for the intervention of that great country, the United States of America.

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  36. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    Lefties all have bloody short memories Manolo. If it isn’t in the current party manifesto it isn’t true! :)

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  37. James Stephenson (2,024 comments) says:

    The first remake, courtesy of Carling Black Label (sh1t beer, great adverts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYClSGINHyU

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  38. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    Nice to see your concern for the truth. But, wait a minute, wasn’t the dog run over on the morning of the raid and Gibson chose his name as the codeword as a result? And, by the way, it is ‘widely accepted’ that the raids had negligible impact on the German war effort.

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  39. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    Ans this is what’s next:

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/01/05/does-one-word-change-huckleberry-finn/bringing-context-to-the-page

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  40. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    “What if the dog was called ‘c**t face’? Should it have been changed?”

    It wasn’t. It was called Nigger.

    My brother’s cat was called Numb Nuts. Didn’t hear of any neighbours being upset with that. No letters from the SPCA either. No letters of complaint from anyone who’d ‘had the snip’. Indeed, the kids used to love calling for the cat to come and get fed!

    It is patently obvious who the lightweight lefties are on KB – they burst out in indignation because we dare to call a spade a spade and to give Gibson’s dog it’s rightful name – Nigger.

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  41. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    milkmilo: :”it is ‘widely accepted’ that the raids had negligible impact on the German war effort.”

    Bollocks. Again you want to rewrite history. Look it up for yourself. I’ve already provided you with the link, so all you need to do is to click on it / read about it / comprehend it / … Oh oh…. still don’t get it?

    Never mind.

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  42. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    Try wikipedia:
    ‘The raid proved to be costly in lives (more than half the lives lost belonging to Allied POWs and forced-labourers), but in fact no more than a minor inconvenience to the Ruhr’s industrial output. The value of the bombing can perhaps best be seen as a very real boost to British morale.’

    My recollection about the death of Nigger is from reading Paul Brickall’s original book, where I think he reports Gibson asking for Nigger to be buried at midnight, as “we might be going into the ground at the same time”.

    Happy to discuss

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  43. Sonny Blount (1,845 comments) says:

    cha (982) Says:
    June 14th, 2011 at 12:21 pm
    Just more PC bullshit gone mad

    Yeah, being offended by objectionable shit is just pc bullshit.

    Terrible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgIFV7jXBFQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll_goH-aivU&feature=related

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  44. KiwiGreg (3,171 comments) says:

    As it’s not my movie I dont really think I get a say in how they make it. I can always vote with my wallet when it comes out if this vital piece of historical accuracy is omitted…

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  45. nasska (10,659 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    I am fearful of what we are going to call the period of gloom that begins after sunset. We are well aware that it is derived from the OE niht but as we have seen above it is not the derivation or the actual meaning of a word that necessarily counts to a brain dead leftist but the arrangement of the 26 letters of the alphabet we have to play with. Obviously any word containing the letters I & N & G in a certain arrangement is sus.

    Since as it seems inevitable that we will sink further into the stinking swamp that is political correctness should we start hunting around for a more acceptable way of describing our hours of darkness….sorry I meant non light.

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  46. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    I expect the main reason for the change isn’t so much that the studio is PC. It’s probably that they don’t want to jeopardize sales in the American market. This is meant to be a mainstream movie, not some edgy Tarantino thing. Using “Nigger” would certainly cause big trouble over there, could mean the film gets a higher age classification. Not an outcome desired by any sensible commercial film company with hundreds of millions to lose.

    Not a film I particularly want to see, I have to say. Glorifying those particular raids is akin to glorifying the bombing of Dresden. From Wikipedia, this was part of the outcome:

    “1,026 of the bodies found downriver of the Möhne Dam were foreign prisoners of war and forced-labourers in different camps, mainly from the Soviet Union. Worst hit was the city of Neheim (now part of Neheim-Hüsten) at the confluence of the Möhne and Ruhr rivers, where over 800 people perished, among them at least 493 female forced-labourers from the Soviet Union. (Some non-German sources erroneously cite an earlier total of 749 for all foreigners in all camps in the Möhne and Ruhr valleys as the casualty count at a camp just below the Eder Dam.[14])”

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  47. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    Thanks nasska. Now I finally understand the deep seated revulsion Helens mob had for Knighthoods. :)

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  48. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    It’d be nice to have the story unchanged, but consider this.

    Guy Gibson is a genuine hero. But how would he be seen in the US, where people would view the movie and jump to the conclusion that he’s some sort of racist?

    Nigger is a word that has a lot of hateful history in that country. Yes, these days it’s mostly hype but it wasn’t that long ago when there was one fountain for the white man and another for the black and drinking from the wrong one would get you killed.

    I’d rather see a move that celebrates heroism, than attaches the heroes to that legacy – even if it is simply through ignorance.

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  49. Arthur Dent (37 comments) says:

    What I would have preferred is that they kept the original name, but maybe had a brief message at the begining of the film explaining the use of the name.

    Or they could use the name Digger and have a brief message at the beginning of the film explaining that it was changed from Nigger.

    Actually, I’m having a very hard time deciding which is the best option. The film makers are damned either way. It won’t be a documentary, so should never be used as a source of information about the actual events in any case.

    The decision hasn’t been made yet either from what I understand. Stephen Fry has chosen to use Digger in the screenplay, but the final decision will be made by the Producer before filming.

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  50. GL (60 comments) says:

    1. I’m not clear why the name of a dog is a vital peice of history that must remain no matter what hurt it causes to people.

    2. This is a Hollywood film not a documentary. Period-films constantly change parts of history to make the film more entertaining and relevant to a modern audience. In the end the people making the film have made a decision which is probably largely based on making sure the film is a box-office hit in the States.

    I think this is a case of “anti-PC gone mad”.

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  51. transmogrifier (520 comments) says:

    Given the amount of laughter that was generated during the discussion at work this morning on this issue, it is obvious why this decision is made. On a purely functional level, due to the change in attitudes, the inclusion of the name would have a negative effect on the story – it throws you directly out of the film. If it were me, I would change it for that reason alone. Not sure what the big deal is, really.

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  52. SHG (362 comments) says:

    I find the acts of the Nazis during WWII to be offensive.

    Accordingly I expect to see that references to Nazis, Nazism, the Nazi Party, and Nazi imagery have all been edited out of “The Dam Busters”. Because we can’t have me being offended now, can we?

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  53. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    ‘Guy Gibson is a genuine hero.’

    “Bomber” Harris described him as “As great a warrior as this island ever bred”

    Surely if we are accepting of the new PC reality this now makes Gibson a hired murderer in the employ of a war criminal! :)

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  54. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    …and Nazi imagery have all been edited out of “The Dam Busters”. Because we can’t have me being offended now, can we?

    I think modern day Nazis have gotten used to the fact that people don’t like them.

    Personally, I don’t think that black people should have to.

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  55. nasska (10,659 comments) says:

    In the interests of political correctness & in the hope of not offending any minority groups or Labour activists i have been editing the opening paragraph of my new novel……

    “As ###el put on his pyjamas & poured himself a ###htcap he thought back to his narrow escape from the ###gers during the last of his frequent aid missions to ###eria. He walked out to the patio, the cool night air wafting the perfume of the ###elias in the garden below. the ###rescent clouds obscuring the full moon & was glad he had turned his back on the ###htmarish ###htlife of the city.”

    Should keep the handwringing wimps happy.

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  56. Ryan Sproull (7,028 comments) says:

    Sorry I’m late. Did I miss everyone having a big cry at their delicate anti-PC sensibilities being offended?

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  57. Chthoniid (2,028 comments) says:

    I’m not entirely sure the outrage at switching the name is justified. It’s going to be a war movie, not a documentary. Scripts for war movies always include some modifications for for that format. The issue isn’t that the dogs name is likely to change, it’s whether this suffices to destroy the story. Most battles fought by Patton for example, didn’t consist of 2 post-War War II tanks shooting aimlessly. I’m not entirely sure the British paratrooper killed trying to retrieve a container of- as it turns out useless berets- actually happened- in A Bridge too Far. But it’s a good way to convey the agony of isolated 6th Airborne Div.

    I can’t see that someone watching this movie would come away with an erroneous view of these raids based on the tweak of a consonant the name of a dog. This isn’t a Hollywood-style U-571 rewrite (where the Americans, not the British, capture an enigma machine). It’s merely the inspired use of a homonym that will assist commercial success in the US market.

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  58. Brian Smaller (3,989 comments) says:

    Can you imagine a remake of Alex Haley’s Roots, with all those references to Diggers? Will the sequel to Three Kings have references to Sand Diggers?

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  59. Brian Smaller (3,989 comments) says:

    It’s merely the inspired use of a homonym that will assist commercial success in the US market.

    Then I guess the Dambusters will be flying good ol’ Avro B17s.

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  60. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    @Brian Smaller – Roots is currently being shown on TV (Ch7?) and it is still a good watch the second (or is it the third time?) around.

    But according to Pinko Law 3,574, its OK for African Americans to use the term ‘Nigger’ in the Roots series (because it’s used in context), but not when palefaces want to use the correct name for a WWII pet mutt. FFS!!

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  61. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    milkmilo: I read Paul Brickill’s books as a boy but for the real version of events, try a bit if research beyond Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia can be edited by anyone – you just have to try and digest the crap about dear leader (and try to convince yourself that the two photos could be of one and the same person), to know that.

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  62. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Nigger would seem perfectly appropriate to use in Roots. It could hardly have dialogue using a substitute.

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  63. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    milkmilo. Your hypocrisy is predictable – given your pinko affiliations.

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  64. RRM (9,445 comments) says:

    And if we are going to get really stuck into some serious moaning about how PC everything has become, one could argue that the original Dam Busters movie was itself an exercise in liberal, politically-correct window dressing.

    The vast majority of RAF bomber command operations with heavy bombers consisted of fire bombing German cities with incendiaries and blast bombs, in the hope that one might hit a factory or something of value.

    If you really wanted to make a truly representative movie about RAF bomber operations , picking one of the more oddball missions where an isolated, tactical target like the Ruhr dams was attacked with a specialized high-tech weapon merely shows that even in the 1960s, hand-wringing Britons were already a bit uncomfortable acknowledging that the RAF bombing targeted civilians and it killed more of them than the Hiroshima bomb.

    I mean, come on they were Germans. It’s bloody political correctness gone mad I tell you!

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  65. Brian Smaller (3,989 comments) says:

    I actually think that American audiences do make the connection between historical use and modern usage. Hence the fact that nigger is used to describe blacks in even the latest westerns and historical films made – there is no way to pussy foot about it. In this case we are talking about a real life character in the story – albeit one that was a dog. I think the idea of name changing says more about the film makers than the potential audience.

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  66. KiwiGreg (3,171 comments) says:

    I hated the way some of the storm troopers in Star Wars were different heights. That lack of historical accuracy just ruined the movie for me.

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  67. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Elaycee
    I can understand that you are upset that you had some key aspects of the Dambusters story wrong, but it’s okay. Using nigger in Roots but not in Dambusters is all about context.

    RRM
    Well, actually the Dambusters did kill a lot of German civilians, along with allied POWs and forced labourers. I think the appeal of the story is the technical ingenuity and the derring-do of the mission. You could make equally compelling films that tell the story of the aircrew and their victims – I’d love to see a movie of Len Deighton’s Bomber, for example.

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  68. Brian Smaller (3,989 comments) says:

    RRM – the Germans dropped firebombs and incendiaries on London in 1940. If they had large four engineed heavy bombers that could carry a 14,000lbs bomb load instead of the piddly 4500lbs of a HE111, they would have used them. They started it, the RAF finished it.

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  69. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller: Perhaps Jackson could ring a bell everytime the dogs name gets mentioned? :)

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  70. gravedodger (1,514 comments) says:

    I still recall with clarity the gobsmacking stupidity when the’ Black and White Minstrel Show’ became a casualty of such inane nonsense.

    That an iconic Music hall/Vaudiville show and it’s successful transition to the TV medium with over a century of history, counted for zilch when correctness reared up to smash it down.

    Truly idiotic and virtually everyone just accepted it.

    First they came for……….

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  71. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    It seems this whole shambles was driven by the american financiers of the Dambusters film – they didn’t think ‘Nigger’ would be seen for what it was (woof) by the american public. So the person writing the film script (Steven Fry) rolled over and had his tummy tickled.

    But sheesh – based on the sensitivity rules promulgated by the (usual) lefties here, I guess we won’t see a re-run of the Black & White Minstrel Show. Or Sooty & Sweep. No Golliwogs of Goldham Green either. No more laughter courtesy of Sambo Quack.

    I met a chap in Alice Springs a long time ago who introduced himself as Charlie Darkie. Best I try and track him down and tell him the pinko’s on KB think it best if he changed his name by deed poll. Someone wee soul may be offended. FFS!

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  72. nasska (10,659 comments) says:

    Why stop with renaming a dog. The phone book has pages of poor souls who list their surname as “Black”…..even a few “Blackmans” who no doubt will be dragged forcibly to courthouses & made to change their names by deed poll under threat of death or worse.

    After that there’s the Browns to be taken care of. Should make Stalin’s purges seem benign.

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  73. Johnboy (14,973 comments) says:

    Well we have all been doing our best to rename BlackWithAVengance.

    Perhaps we righties are really in the forefront of social change!

    May I suggest DiggerWithAVengance! :)

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  74. redeye (631 comments) says:

    Well said Chthoniid @ 2:36pm

    I’m surprised by the self titled right wingers on here.

    It’s a commercial venture and the producers have as much right to make that as attractive to their market as they can.

    If they deviate from history too much they’ll get canned like the Pearl Harbour remake.

    The free market will prevail:-)

    It did remind me of this story though; http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/nigger-stand-goes-controversial-name-stays/story-e6frfkp9-1111113583872

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  75. nasska (10,659 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    Good, but it doesn’t have the ring to it of Poorly Bleached Brown with a Matai Bridge Beam on Shoulder.

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  76. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    If history is to be altered at this low level in order to make it more paletable what the hell else is open to this revisionism?

    Well obviously everything.

    This is why Beleich is a “respected academic” instead of a penniless vagrant.

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  77. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    It’s been a slow day, so I’ve done a rough trawl through the comments and count 14 votes for Nigger and 12 for Digger. Very even split for a KB debate.

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  78. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Murray

    Do you mean James Belich?

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  79. snowy (106 comments) says:

    Can see how this would be an issue in the US, and it would negatively impact the box office takings.

    So why dont they just change it to “Digger” for the North American release, and leave it as is for the rest of the world?

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  80. thedavincimode (6,531 comments) says:

    “in the 1960s, hand-wringing Britons were already a bit uncomfortable acknowledging that the RAF bombing targeted civilians ”

    RRM, not so sure there was much hand-wringing going on from the poms, or even here for that matter, back in the ’60s – or the early ’60s at least. More likely still hating Jerries’ guts methinks. And the japs. If it hadn’t been for the Russkies, that state of affairs would likely have continued a bit longer.

    And I don’t think that film was window-dressing – more about a remarkable technical and operational achievement. What’s more, any casual viewer of the Hitler channel would know that there is a reasonably blase and unapologetic approach in acknowledging the calculated attack on the Jerry civilians. Same with fire-bombing Japan before the big one. Not much hand-wringing going on with that channel.

    It strikes me that even in these more “sensitive” times, the fire-bombing of jerry and the japs attracts little if any criticism, and in fact continues to be implicitly approved, whereas events in Vietnam, Iraq, the ‘stan and Guantanemo attract mega criticism. WWII can certainly be distinguished on the basis that it was a backs-to-the-wall fight for survival meaning anything goes, whereas those other conflicts were not.

    But who are we to sit in comfort and in judgement on doing whatever it took in WWII? It was literally a fight for survival; irrespective of who threw the first tomatoe at the neighbours’ washing.

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  81. GL (60 comments) says:

    If the dog’s name stayed the same it would highlight the racism that was prevelant in the UK at the time. This is possibly a good thing as it would stop the film from becoming a simple “good guys vs bad guys” Hollywood cliche. However, it is probably in the best interest of the box-office success of the film that the pilots are seen as unblemished good guys.

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  82. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    Outrageous, it’s just free-market incorrectness gone mad!

    Changing history to pull in a bigger audience – just like U-571 or whatever it was called. Capitalists pull these sort of stunts all the time.

    BTW I seem to remember reading – it might have been in Max Hastings book ‘Bomber Command’ – that the Brits were disappointed by the limited effect of the raid, and the speed of repairing the dams – so they didn’t bother to try the same thing again.

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  83. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Just contemporise it with a ghetto edge – so when the dam goes up have the co-pilot say something like ‘Sheeit, dawg, dat Gibson, he’s ma nigga…”
    and Gibson goes “Nigga?, No Homey, he’s ma dawg.”

    Job done.

    Or something.

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  84. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    We had a dog called ‘nigger’ when I was a kid! I didn’t even know it was a “bad” word, it was all very innocent.

    But I do now understand the pained look on Nana’s face when walking to Linwood park in Christchurch when we visited.

    Us kids would be yelling at the dog “nigger!! get out of that rubbish!”….”nigger!! get home!!”…

    It all makes sense now! :)

    Oh dear!!

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  85. Longknives (4,454 comments) says:

    Sheesh! All the fuss…I know it is an old and outdated terminology but the dog’s name was in fact “Nigger” and the dog IS an integral part of the story- I don’t particularly like many of the ‘Hip Hop’ songs that promote racial violence and ‘Cop Killings’ etc but every leftie and Tiki Taane fan howls ‘Freedom of Speech’ in those cases….what’s the difference??

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  86. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    The dog is an incidental character and didn’t even participate in the raid! This isn’t a freedom of speech issue. Just because some artists choose to use offensive language doesn’t mean that Stephen Fry needs to use the N-word in his screenplay.

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  87. Longknives (4,454 comments) says:

    Hmmm …So it’s okay for Tiki Taane (not that I’d classify him as an ‘”artist”) to scream “fuck the police” and incite a crowd into violence against them is okay (as it’s ‘Freedom of Speech’)- Yet to recreate an old war film with ONE offensive word is an outrage that must be abolished???
    That seems to me an awful double standard Mr Mild….

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  88. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Not a double standard at all. I don’t care what Tiki Taane chooses to scream and I’m not worried about what Stephen Fry puts in his screenplay. Straightforward enough?

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  89. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Shunda

    Christchurch would be one of the few places where yelling out “nigger” wouldn’t get you any strife. Totally acceptable in that fair town

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  90. GazzaW (30 comments) says:

    Wreck1080:

    “What if the dog was called c**t face. Should it be changed?”

    Not unless you’re selling tee shirts in Invercargill.

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  91. Crusader (279 comments) says:

    Calling the dog “Digger” might offend Australian returned servicemen (sorry service-persons, I mustn’t allow the letters “m” “e” and “n” to occur together, must I?)

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  92. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    I find it weird that Fry should be lambasted for not using the word that Murray Deaker was lambasted for using, although if Deaker had said “working like a digger” there would have been no issue.

    However, there are a number of people that will take things well out of context and be offended. I remember that about the time the second LOTR movie was released there was an online campaign to change the name from “The Two Towers” to something else in deference to those who were affected by the 9/11 attacks.

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  93. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    @ longknives says: “That seems to me an awful double standard Mr Mild….”

    Milkmilo is the proven master of the double standard. And the dog whistle. As such, posts should be read accordingly.

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  94. TM (98 comments) says:

    It’s just a dog’s name FFS. And also happened to be what they used as a codeword. As has been said before, if it was a documentary, this would be outrageous, but as a movie they have licence to do what they want. If the producer/director/scriptwriter think more people will see it if they change the name then it’s a no brainer to change it.

    People can shout and scream all they want, but the box office is what matters in the end.

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  95. James (1,338 comments) says:

    The dogs name was Nigger…..accept it and get over it.On TV at present the series Roots is being replayed with the word Nigger being used frequently….and so it should be as its historically accurate.

    Bed-wetters who can’t handle this fact should fuck off and die.

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  96. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    I thought you might have got over being so wrong about the facts of the Dambusters. I’ll be happy to help cure your ignorance in any other areas when you make further comments.

    BTW, my user name is mikenmild.

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  97. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    mildmike: As usual, your Wikipedia based version of the events surrounding the dambusters, lacks veracity. Apart from the fact that the raids achieved their objective of breaching the dams, the bombs required to do the job had to use new technology (courtesy of Barnes Wallis). But in addition to the damage, the obvious result was that thousands of men had to be redeployed to work on the dams and the downstream repairs. I’ve already provided you with the link, but clearly you have (a) not read it (b) don’t understand it or (c) are still dog whistling, so I’ll cut and paste a little more for you:

    From the British Government Archives:

    Within hours of the raids, reconnaissance Spitfires had brought back dramatic pictures of the broken dams and the destruction brought about by the flooding. The King, Prime Minister, and Air Staff united in congratulating 617 Squadron on their magnificent achievement and an outpouring of national pride followed in the newspapers and radio in the following days. Leaflets were dropped over the occupied countries in Europe showing before and after photographs of the Möhne and Eder dams with an explanation of Operation Chastise.

    Though the Germans repaired the dams quickly, the impact of the raid on German industry in the Ruhr valley and indeed on the civil population was significant. In the Möhne and Ruhr valleys 11 factories were totally destroyed, 114 seriously damaged, 25 road and rail bridges were destroyed and throughout the region power, water and gas supplies were seriously disrupted. The breaching of the Eder dam caused severe disruption to road and canal communications and destroyed over 50 hectares of valuable agricultural land. In the flooding below the Möhne there were 1,294 casualties including 593 foreign workers. The flooding below the Eder resulted in a further 47 deaths. For the remainder of the War the Germans had to divert an additional 10,000 troops to guard the Dams.

    For his outstanding leadership and bravery Guy Gibson was awarded Britain’s highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. 32 other members of the squadron were also decorated for their part in the raids. Over sixty years on, the Dambuster Raid is still one of the most famous operations of the Second World War. The breaching of the dams at Germany’s industrial heartland became a hugely evocative symbol. While the impact and significance of the raids has been hotly debated over the years, the ingenuity of Barnes Wallis and the sheer courage, skill, determination and self sacrifice of Gibson and his Dambusters has never been called into question.

    http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Dambusters:_The_Dam-busting_Raid

    Now you may still want to quote Wikipedia, but for my money, the British Government Archives would be a more accurate synopsis of events.

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  98. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    James says: “The dogs name was Nigger…..accept it and get over it.On TV at present the series Roots is being replayed with the word Nigger being used frequently….and so it should be as its historically accurate. Bed-wetters who can’t handle this fact should fuck off…. ”

    Well written, Sir!

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  99. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Thanks Elaycee, now we’re on proper grounds for a debate.

    My starting point would be this quote from your excerpt above:
    “While the impact and significance of the raids has been hotly debated over the years, the ingenuity of Barnes Wallis and the sheer courage, skill, determination and self sacrifice of Gibson and his Dambusters has never been called into question.”

    I agree with all of that. The source of my comment yesterday about the effects of the raid came from Jonathan Falconer’s The Dam Busters Story. published in 2007. It seems a reasonable position. Some have gone on to say that the greatest effect of the raid was the boost to Wallis’s credibility, enabling him to go on and develop the huge Grand Slam and Tallboy bombs used with devastating effect against the Tirpitz, V1 sites and U-boat pens. These undoubtedly had a greater effecton the war than the Dambusters raid.

    Nothing I have said should take away from the heroism of the aircrew involved. I continue to honour the memory of those who gave their all for the privilges I enjoy today. “Their sacrifice: Preserved Freedom”

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  100. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    mildmike –

    Jesus wept! You now prefer the version written by Falconer, rather than the material in the British Government Archives sourced from the Air Ministry / the War Cabinet / Bomber Command and even the Germans themselves???

    Good on ya.

    I hope you enjoy your happy place.

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  101. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    I’m going to be as kind as I can. Your link to the article at the UK National Archives was appreciated. It is a short, unreferenced article. Having said that, there is nothing in the article to disagree with, and it makes a couple of suggestions for further reading, including John Sweetman’s The Dambusters, 2003. Interestingly, Sweetman’s book is also cited as a source for the comprehensive Wikipedia article. Nothing in the Wikipedia article contradicts the NA article, but the Wikipedia entry is far more detailed.

    So, yesterday you said that:
    “the fact that the dams were breached had a major impact in the industrial activities down the Ruhr valley – it is widely accepted that this helped truncate the war effort. Nothing fictional about that.”
    Your statement was quite simply wrong and is not supported by the references you have given.

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  102. Elaycee (4,301 comments) says:

    MM – stop being a total fuckwit. Let me spell it out for you (for the last time) – I added: “11 factories were totally destroyed, 114 seriously damaged, 25 road and rail bridges were destroyed and throughout the region power, water and gas supplies were seriously disrupted. The breaching of the Eder dam caused severe disruption to road and canal communications and destroyed over 50 hectares of valuable agricultural land. In the flooding below the Möhne there were 1,294 casualties including 593 foreign workers. The flooding below the Eder resulted in a further 47 deaths. For the remainder of the War the Germans had to divert an additional 10,000 troops to guard the Dams.”

    That is from the British Government Archives. Not the writing of some bloody novelist – its from the the official archives. I don’t actually give a fuck if you appreciate the facts being presented to you or not. But if you still think this raid had no effect on the war, then I give up.

    In the Club of thick pricks, you are without doubt a life member.

    Foxtrot Oscar.

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  103. mikenmild (10,686 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    I’ll try to keep this simple for you.

    I am not disputing any of your quotes. I have no argument with any of the material from the UK National Archives. I am disputing your original assertion that “it is widely accepted that this helped truncate the war effort.” That proposition is nonsense and unsupported by anything you have since presented.

    Nice dog, Digger, what a good name.

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