In another case of the P.C. pleasure police meddling in the world’s culture and history, this Daily Mail article from the UK reports on a ridiculous move to censor one of the country’s greatest heroes, posthumously at that.
As the article shows, digital imaging specialists have removed Churchill’s trademark cigar from an historic picture used in a London museum’s front display, which advertises its “Britain at War” exhibit. According to the Daily Mail, the museum is too embarrassed to release the name of the person or company responsible for Photoshopping the display.
What has the world come to? There is arguably no more iconic cigar smoker than Winston Churchill. When Turner Broadcasting edited all the smoking out of the Tom & Jerry cartoon, or when a picture of someone smoking in a school textbook is Photoshopped — hey, I don’t condone it but I kind of expect it.
But the whole point of a museum is to exhibit genuine historic artifacts and information for people to learn from. Modifying or editing history is the antithesis of a museum’s purpose. Removing Churchill’s cigar doesn’t change history — it only warps our perception of it. Just because a world leader publicly chain smoking cigars doesn’t fit into today’s social norms doesn’t mean it needs to be exorcised from history. Quite to the contrary, the image must be left intact to draw comparisons between 1940’s culture and the culture of today. Without that contrast, we learn nothing of ourselves and are blind to political correctness running rampant over the one thing that makes us who we are — our past.
For another great perspective, check out Cigar Aficionado‘s post on the matter.