The Department of Revisionist History announced on Tuesday that, as part of a wider effort to put a more “positive and palatable” spin on history’s various “past let-downs and mishaps,” it plans to confer newer, less troublesome names on the events currently understood as history’s darkest moments—spanning fascism, communism, genocide, racism, slavery, religious persecution, and colonialism.
“The new names are far superior to the old ones, which carried all the baggage of emotional trauma, moral failing, and sociopolitical catastrophe,” explained history professor Ike Herman. “Broadly speaking, we’re emphasizing the need to replace general terms like ‘assassination’ and ‘coup’ to ‘surprise’ and ‘military-fun-time.’ Specifically, we’re hoping to change ‘World War I,’ ‘nuclear bomb,’ and ‘The Cold War’ to ‘Big Oops I,’ ‘flash-boom ground-shaker,’ and ‘The Period of Prolonged-But-Peaceful Passive Aggression’ respectively.
“Some of the old terms were downright inaccurate, though,” Herman continued. “For example, what we used to call the Rape of Nanking is a gross exaggeration of the type of violence that occurred at the time. Sure there was rape, but really what the majority of the population died from was the brutal machete attacks. That’s why we think the new name we’ve given that event, The Machete Mayhem at Nanking, while being more accurate, also has the ‘it’ factor that gets students excited to learn, something the previous name clearly lacked.”
The History Department has come up with a variety of names it thinks has strong potential. Further examples include changing the Trail of Tears to the Bungled Blanket Incident, and renaming the Medieval Crusades the Persian Incursion.
“Look, I’m not gonna sit here and tell ya that we didn’t have some fun coming up with these,” admits Professor Herman. “The Atomic Bombing of Japan by the United States posed an interesting challenge, but then the inspiration struck. If the word ‘bikini’ supposedly got its name from the nuclear bomb testing at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, why couldn’t we take the word back, make it history’s again? We thought of the Bikini Bombing that very night.”
When reached for comment, survivors of history’s various blunders simply stated that members of the public were free to call these goof-ups “whatever the hell they want.”
Originally published November 2013