Losing Our Heads...er, Minds

Written by Shiva Rodriguez (2014)

Can we please cut out all the manufactured outrage? I am so tired of seeing companies jump from one foot to the other in order to be “politically correct” because someone decides to connect two completely different things together, get upset, and then proceeds to rally the masses.

Recent example: The Busch Gardens incident where someone decided that a headless Halloween character was offensive because it reminded them of the pastimes of contemporary terrorists. I'm very disappointed that Busch Gardens tucked its tail between its legs and pulled down the decorations. I'm pretty sure that many (if not most) Americans that have reached trick-or-treat age heard of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow long before they ever heard of ISIS.

Time for a quick history lesson here: Beheadings have been used to make political and religious points for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were pretty good about sticking a freshly-severed head up for public viewing to let everyone know whose views were out of favor. London Bridge was regularly decorated with the severed heads of the opponents of the English Crown until 1678.

Granted, we didn't have too many decapitations or make a display of heads here in the United States.Instead, we liked to string people up by the neck and let them dangle for a while. Sometimes we even painted the corpses with tar to make them last longer for everyone's viewing pleasure.

My point is, using decapitation to make a point is nothing new. Neither is finding a beheading in popular stories, both fictional and those based on historical events.

Many years ago I saw similar manufactured outrage over a prank that was pulled at a school involving nooses dangling from trees. Granted, the tree ornaments were in very poor taste and there probably was a smack of racism behind the whole display, but it got so blown out of proportion that I half-expected to hear about a ban on neckties because they also can “remind” someone of lynchings.

At the time I told people that if you look up anyone's family tree you will very likely find at least one branch with a noose dangling from it. Hanging was not a punishment specifically created for and exclusively used to punish slaves. It has a very long history that might even pre-date beheading.

If we're going to insist on being outraged because something reminds us of a horrible event, what about the many victims of terrorism that are simply shot? I don't see anyone raising Hell about guns because they remind them of terrorist activities. For that matter, didn't Disney just make a movie about airplanes?

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