The N-Word or The Dam Busters Dilemma

A while back I reviewed one of my favourite war movies The Dam Busters, a movie based on a true story.

There has been a lot of talk about a remake. For a while it was said it would be out soon, now it doesn’t seem so sure anymore. While remakes are always topics of debate, this one is a remake which triggered quite a few, also very heated discussions.

Those of you who have seen the movie, or know the story, are aware that Wing Commander Guy Gibson had a black dog and the dog was called “nigger”. That was the dog’s name in real life as well as in the original movie The Dam Busters. It’s a fact. While it certainly sheds a weird light on the Wing Commander’s choice for a name and is not in good taste, it still is a fact. The dog was important for the Commander and it has an important role in the movie as well. This means, it will be in the remake and it will have a name.

Political correctness seems to dictate that the dog cannot or shouldn’t have his original name in a new movie. It is said it would be offensive.

For me this is an oddity. If there ever was another remake of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I don’t think they would just not use the N***** word, or would they?

I would never use it in my personal life but to change the name of a historical figure, and if it is “only” a dog, seems very wrong to me.

Nobody calls their sons Adolf anymore. If there was a remake of an old movie, set before WWII, in which a man was called Adolf, would they have to change that name?

Such practices are, in my opinion, dangerous. The past has dark patches. We should not forget them.

What do you think? Should the dog keep his real name or should he be renamed? Should so-called political correctness win over historical accuracy? Portraying something in a historically accurate way can always also give a possibility to discuss things.