Historian Unjustly Forced to Walk the PlankRoundup
tags: sports, Cancel Culture, Outrage, Pirates
Michael E. Carter is a historian and professor at Kean University in New Jersey.
We just passed one of the largest advertising days of the year; a time of year when businesses are willing to pay upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars to pull eyes to their website, clicks onto their app, insert jingles into the memories of consumers, and sell their products by any means necessary be it Budweiser, DoorDash, or anyone willing to contract Matthew McConaughey.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went head-to-head against the Kansas City Chiefs, numerous media outlets online followed the same pattern using the Big Game to draw eyes to their advertisement-supported enterprises. Thusly, earlier this month, Dr. Jamie L.H. Goodall, a historian of piracy and military history as well as my friend, was subjected to an onslaught of harassment, personal abuse, and indescribably abhorrent threats because she wrote an article that explained and contextualized the history of pirates in the Tampa Bay area capitalizing on a time when interest in the Buccaneers would be at its highest in decades.
The article’s title was erroneously made confrontational by editors without her consent and she was left to deal with the fallout essentially on her own as it moved into the hands of wider conservative media outlets like the Daily Mail and Fox News Channel. A historian, like the multitude of others working on their scholarship, was engaging in public outreach with no financial incentive and was answered violently by a segment of the public so obsessed with the idea of protecting a mascot from so-called “cancel culture” that they could not even recognize that the mascot was not even under attack.
At no point, to my knowledge, was there an argument to cancel, ban, or change the name of Tampa Bay’s hometown football team. This did not keep the mob that went after Goodall from claiming there was, however. Now, even if there was such an argument, it would be an entirely different argument from the ongoing conversation about indigenous mascots that finally succeeded in changing the name of the infamous Washington Football Team.
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