Hooray to the Journal Gazette for reprinting over the weekend its classic editorial decrying what a long line of its editors has found to be the offensive use of “Redskins” in sports names. This famously progressive newspaper, though, no doubt will go further.
At question is the name of the newspaper’s hometown, proudly incorporated into its own masthead. Fort Wayne, of course, is named to honor Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne. This is a man who — well, he actually attacked Indians as a profession, his only recorded command at the Battle of Fallen Timbers being “bayonet the (expletive deleted).”
And what about the name of our state itself, in itself a most offensive characterization of Native Americans? How can the sensitive in the newspaper’s executive suite overlook “Indiana” as a stereotype, applied by exploiting Europeans, based on skin color and the ignorant assumption that the disparaged were people on another continent entirely?
One more thing, as a full-blooded journalist (both my parents are of newsroom descent), I find offensive the use of “Journal” in the trademarked Journal Gazette. Its editorial made mockery of a noble professional heritage of a long-suffering, ink-stained, overworked and underpaid people, a heritage going back to giants like Martin Luther and Ben Franklin but also winding its way through the twisted brain of a Hunter S. Thompson.
Indeed, Thompson, founder of my generation’s Gonzo Journalism, could have had the Journal Gazette in mind when he said: “With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as objective journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”