With the passing of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, the internet has done what it does best - descend into chaos arguing about it.
To some, she was the Notorious RBG; a champion for womanhood and feminism. To others, she was Darth Bader; a callous juggernaut who cared nothing for the Black, Brown or Indigenous people she hurt as long as it served her purpose.
The truth, in all honesty, is the same simple truth we see in almost all humans. She was capable of great advancement and great destruction in equal measure. History books, in all likelihood, will teach only half of her legacy, as they often do with great figures.
The problem with that is that celebrating a persons great achievements while glossing over their colossal failures and shortcomings creates a sort of "perfect good guy." Nobody is a perfect good guy.
One Reddit user asked:
... so listen, if you're the type to idolize folk like John Lennon, Mother Theresa, or Ghandi - you're about to have a really bad time.
Hitler's HeroGIF by US National Archives Giphy
Henry Ford was so anti-Semitic that Hitler considered him a hero.
He published 500,000 copies of the roundly debunked propaganda book that inspired Hitler, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," even making abridged versions in Germans for school children in Nazi Germany. Gave out a subscription to his anti-Semetic publication with every new Ford purchased as well.
It's covered in the book Aushwitz and the Allies.
Mind-blowing. Without Ford and Watson (IBM) and their assistance, the machine apparatus that enabled the extermination of humans would not have been possible.
Ford and Watson got medals from the Nazis for their work.
Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle on his 75th birthday (30 July 1938) specifically due to his essays in a paper he owned "The Dearborn Independent". In Germany, Ford's antisemitic articles from The Dearborn Independent were compiled into a book titled "The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem".
Heinrich Himmler described Ford as "one of our most valuable, important, and witty fighters".
Ford was the only American Hitler praised in Mein Kampf and Adolf Hitler wrote of him:
"only a single great man, Ford, [who], to [the Jews'] fury, still maintains full independence ... [from] the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one hundred and twenty millions."
In 1931 Hitler called Ford his "inspiration", and said he kept a life-size portrait of Ford in his office.
Hitler didn't admire Ford for his industrial efficiency, he saw him as a fellow anti-semite and champion of capital.
He also created the projects in Detroit with the purpose of making it so that black people, who made just as much as white people, would not live with the white people and their money would not go as far as they were over charged for workmanship that was not as good quality as the houses in the neighborhoods were. They were also charged more for services so that even though they made as much as white people, they didn't make as much.
Wishing The "Anonymous" Part Was More Accurate
This is a little more niche, but Bill Wilson, the founder of alcoholics anonymous.
The guy did great things, and created a program of recovery that has saved millions of lives since its inception 85 years ago.
He was also an arrogant @ss that cheated on his wife even in sobriety.
Violent wife beater, vicious and hateful little sh*tbag.
He used to scream at his baby boy when he was crying because "it distracted him".
He wrote "Imagine" speaking about dreaming of no possessions, from his multi-million dollar condo overlooking Central fcking Park in NYC. Didn't speak to George Harrison for months after he published his autobiography because it didn't praise Lennon quite enough for his taste.
Absolute piece of sht.
Don't forget he essentially ended his marriage by lounging around nude with Yoko, who was wearing his wife's robe, when the wife and kids got back from vacation. His response? "Oh, hello."
And when Julian giggled as a young child, he'd ask him to stop as "he had the most repulsive laugh."
His son Sean admitted that John screamed into his ear so loud for not being able to cut steak as a child that it made him partially deaf.
He was a shtty father. Julian's story is proof of that. He was an adulterer who cheated on both of his wives.
Also he used to make fun of disabled people and was homophobic.
We're Hearing Bad Things
Alexander Graham Bell!
This man did not invent the telephone. Several people were working on similar technology at the same time. Antonio Meucci invented it first, but there was a court case over who got the patent rights. Meucci died before the case was settled, and Graham Bell won the glory he didn't deserve.
Bell was also a eugenicist who sought to end sign language in schools and wanted to ban deaf people from marrying each other. He was a staunch Oralist and the repercussions of his actions are still being felt in society today through such Audist institutions like the Bell Institute.
He also worked hard to suppress the use of sign language in the education of Deaf children.
Holy Mother Of ...
Mother Teresa. An old co worker worked with her. She was a former nun who said mother Teresa was ruthless and cruel to all of the nuns who worked alongside her.
Wait til they find out about the tens of thousands of people who died under her watch at her "hospitals" without getting basic medical care. Turns out the nuns weren't the victims.
Many people point out that Mother Teresa provided hospice care, not hospital care. This is my exact point. Her establishments were being described as medical care to locals and really being rooms to die in. That is the problem here, not the absolution.
She believed in salvation through suffering so her aims were not to heal people but to "park" them and let them suffer without painkillers before dying.
Also she used her celebrity to amass charity money and use it to other goals like missionary work and line the pockets of the Vatican.
This is the key to her delusion. She believed the poor were redeemed through suffering, that suffering brought them closer to God. So they got no care and lived in horrendous conditions - but when she herself was sick she sought the best care money could buy. She was a dreadful, hypocritical and performative c*nt.
Three Little Birds Told UsHappy Bob Marley GIF Giphy
And there's a very good story to back this up that also explains how he grew to be no.1 reggae singer of Jamaica.
He had a posse of friends that would intimidate radio networks of Jamaica into playing his music, as well as destroying the alpha discs of other newer artists (I don't know what they're officially called, but the copy the radio networks were given in order to play on the air.)
He might have been trying to promote feel-good music and peace and all that but he was a gunner when it came to getting that music out. Also he regularly beat and cheated on his wife.
The Seuss Suicide
Dr. Seuss was a total piece of sh!t who cheated on his first wife with her friend. His first wife, Helen, had Guillain-Barré syndrome, and knowledge of her husbands affair drove her to eventual end her life. He then remarried her friend.
Helen's final note read in part; "I am too old and enmeshed in everything you do and are, that I cannot conceive of life without you. My going will leave quite a rumor, but you can say I was overworked and overwrought. Your reputation with your friends and fans will not be harmed."
Also, this part does not make him terrible, but he had an "adult" nudie book called the seven lady godivas. It's weird y'all.
That Doesn't Sound Peaceful
Gandhi was a racist, sexist and actively encourage Casteism in India. The inspiring story you hear about his protest in South Africa is a myth. Gandhi was actually pissed that he was asked to sit with the Blacks in the train, a race he considered inferior.
Natives Know What They're Doing
I'm not seeing John Muir in here. Yes, the Father of the National parks made absolute certain indigenous people were NOT included in any of this process as he wiped them out and they're practices. Yosemite would most likely be much more lush and fertile had he let the native people take care of it.
I like to think that the intentions were there, but the execution was completely off. Obviously he wanted to save the natural beauty, but could you imagine if he listen to the natives and took their advice? Controlled brush burning would absolutely be a normalcy, which means our forests wouldn't be so dry, which means there wouldn't be as many devastating forest fires.
I guess moral of the story is: don't try to be the smartest one in the room and ACTUALLY LEARN from different cultures. There's so much value in learning from others.
Fulfilling a Contract
Einstein: He cheated on his wife, called his son mentally useless, and demanded his wife make tea for him and his lovers. Also, he made a 'marital contract' between him and his wife.
A. You will make sure
1. that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
2. that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
3. that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
B. You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons...
There's more, including "you will stop talking to me if I request it."
The Chicken Isn't That Good
Colonel Sanders. Portrayed as such a great person, but in reality was a huge dick. You can do a quick wiki on him for an almost comical read.
I'm a local to where he lived and descendants of people who worked for him tell stories of how rude he was. One example that comes to mind is that if the dishes weren't cleaned to his standards, he would round up every dish, throw them in the parking lot, and have the employees gather them back up and re-wash them.
"The Voice" Doesn't Make It Okay
Strong mafia connections, was believed to have people killed through them. Also beat the crap out of his first wife to the point of putting her in hospital.
Walked out of a politics lesson years ago after arguing with my teacher about him whose defense of him was "But he's the voice, he's incredible so it doesn't matter." Fuck that shit. Will never understand why people still idolize him.
Jeffersondaveed diggs hamilton GIF Giphy
Thomas Jefferson. Dude was hypocritical AF. He spoke against slavery WHILE having HUNDREDS of slaves.
Jefferson had a long-term sexual relationship with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings (his late wife's half-sister) and fathered SIX of her children. Whether she gave him consent or not is arguable, but let's be honest... Sally was an enslaved woman in the late 18th century, she was seen / treated as his property; she didn't have much choice, did she?
Detecting Some Drama
Elliott Ness, was a huge drunk and used the work of his juniors and other detectives to make a name for himself.
Not one particular person or anything but during World War II, the Allied powers committed just as many war crimes (chemical warfare, civilian killings etc.) as the Axis powers.
It's just that the Allies won, so history paints the Axis powers to be the villains. Who knows how people today would have looked back at WWII if Germany had actually won.
George Washington during the revolutionary war. Most people think true patriots helped fight the war, but in reality he would go and find people who were too drunk to even think and force them to sign up for the military. He would also go to those who barely spoke English and lie to them to get them to enlist.
He even did the same thing to slaves saying "if you serve then after the war you'll be free" but since they couldn't read the contract that was a complete lie and any of them that did not show would be arrested and the forced into the military and the jailed after the war. And anybody who tried to dip out was jailed or executed.
He didn't rally those who wanted to be free from Britain (most didn't even care, it was more a political thing than freedom) he forced and manipulated people to fighting for a cause he wanted.
The idea that there are "good guys" and "bad guys" is a massive over-simplification that doesn't do anyone any good. If we assume all bad guys are pure monstrosity from the moment they show up, it allows us to miss major red flags and warning signs.
If we assume all good guys are perfect flawless creatures who can step outside during a storm and have the clouds part, rays of goodness shine down on them, and choirs of disembodied voices sing their praises - well, it convinces us that we "regular people" are powerless.
We aren't. Every single hero was pretty much a regular person who found themselves in some "interesting" circumstances. Just like you.
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