In 1729, English essayist Jonathan Swift wrote a piece that got folks really riled up. It was called “A Modest Proposal,” and with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek Swift wondered if the poverty problem incurred by the Irish might be solved if they sold their children to wealthy folks to be used for food. It caused a huge stir, and Swift was soundly excoriated.
So now, nearly 300 years later, I shall give you my modest proposal. But first, have you noticed that as a country we’ve recently lost our minds? Each time we can even remotely find a connection to something in our history that could possibly offend someone, it is destroyed, defaced, taken down, moved, or its name changed. We are killing our history, we are obliterating our very foundation. History is history and cannot be changed no matter how much you choose to scream, yell, march, deface, or replace. Whoever said history was perfect? It was a series of past experiences, both good and bad, but since folks want to change things, I hereby propose the following:
1. Burn all the history books in every school in the country since there are “bad people” mentioned in them who did bad things ... that’ll teach ’em.
2. Change the name of those frozen vanilla ice cream treats with the chocolate covering and call them Inuit people pies.
3. Change the Wendy’s logo to a little girl with transparent hair of no particular color, so as not to offend redheads.
4. Stop calling a left-hand person a “southpaw.” Instead, call them “wrong-handed twits.”
5. Change the following state capitals’ names: Columbus, Ohio; Jefferson City, Missouri; Bismarck, North Dakota (name of a Nazi ship); Boise, Idaho (the girlsies might feel left out); Lincoln, Nebraska; and Juneau, Alaska (the first syllable is derogatory to Jewish people).
6. Tell Syracuse University to throw out their sports teams’ nickname, “The Orange,” as it is troubling to vegetarians and light-skinned people who suffer from carotenosis.
7. Get rid of all movies that have been “colorized.”
8. St. John’s University was pressured years ago to change their sports teams’ name from the Redmen to the Red Storm. So the Native Americans were placated, but those of Russian heritage objected. I therefore propose “the St. John’s Scarletts.”
Hmmm ... of course people would then say that was a reference to Scarlett O’Hara and the movie, “Gone With the Wind,” and that movie portrayed mammies, and well, you know the rest of the story. Six degrees of separation indeed!
9. Rid supermarkets and fruit stands of apples as it is yet another derogatory name for Native Americans (“red on the outside, white on the inside”).
10. Do not refer to an area of young spectators as a “peanut gallery.” Some 300 applications of the peanut were developed by George Washington Carver, who was Black. Also, peanut is derogatory for a short person, and we can get into a whole realm of descriptive words that could be misinterpreted as targeting a specific group of people.
I wish we could just go back to when history was taught as something that happened in the past, right or wrong, but nevertheless shaped us as a country and a people. Drag down every monument, but you cannot change it, so wouldn’t it be nice if we created our own history and legacies for those who will come after us? What a shame it will be when they look back to 2020 and see us as foul-mouthed, angry people who quite often protested without knowing why, or opening our mouths to utter statements we never fully researched first. When rioting in the streets was almost a daily occurrence and looting was acceptable to many as payback for a certain socio-economic class. Maybe the solution is to just stop conversing with one another, to stop writing, to stop participating in intelligent discourse, and to stop respecting anyone’s views but our own. Or maybe we should just sell our children for food. The whole thing’s got my Irish up, so I guess I’ll just have to find a Philadelphia lawyer and whitewash the whole thing!
In 1961 Anthony Newley premiered a Broadway show called, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!” Perhaps the score’s most famous song that has endured to this day is, “What Kind of Fool Am I?”
No doubt Newley was a visionary for his time.
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 18 years, including her “In Their Shoes” features. She can be reached at email@example.com or 401-539-7762.