Epcot removes Confederate flag from hall at American Adventure

Posted Thursday, July 9, 2015 9:11 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney has removed a version of the Confederate banner from a flag display in Epcot's American Adventure. Disney acknowledged it took down the flag recently but would not comment further. The banner, which was among more than 40 displayed from throughout America's history, was the third flag of the Confederacy.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015 9:28 PM

As a somewhat related side note, when I had the chance to visit Germany for work, a colleague and I were trying to find an amphitheatre where Hitler was said to have given speeches. We had the most ridiculously difficult time actually locating it and when we asked some locals about where to find it, they weren't really open to talking about it. One finally explained that no one likes to admit that the Hitler era happened, as they aren't proud of the history. To us, there was no emotion about it at all. We just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go beyond reading about things in a textbook and stand in the actual area and imagine what it might have been like. But clearly, the folks we talked to at least, still carried emotion about it and weren't so keen on sharing it with foreigners for historical purposes.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015 10:12 PM

Exactly: Disney -- and Walmart and Amazon and TV Land and any other business that no longer offers products (or programming) that involves the flag aren't motivated by any moral implications.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 12:25 AM

Jeff said:

I wouldn't go as far as calling it a museum. The adjacent Kinsey Collection exhibit, featuring artifacts of African-American advancement, is a museum piece. The American Adventure in the larger context is more entertainment than anything else. The hall with the flags, contextually, is more about the sense of pride in the nation's persistence and advancement, and in that sense, the flag is probably not appropriate. Regardless, I don't think Disney cares one way or another about the moral implications, and would rather just stay away from it.

And your comparison to post-Nazi Germany is completely ridiculous. I don't think that there's any chance that the Germans' law against displaying Nazi symbols is going to rewrite history or cause anyone to forget that the Nazis existed, let alone killed six million people. Similarly, I don't think anyone is going to forget there was slavery. God knows we can't forget racism is a thing, since it's still very real today.

Fun fact time: There are a few attractions around WDW that have dedicated curators*, and one of them is the American pavilion, and that curator is responsible for the Hall of Flags as well as the exhibit downstairs, paintings, and other artifacts hanging in the lobby. That is considered a museum of sorts, and the flags displayed are treated as museum pieces in most every way except for being individually enclosed and protected. This is an unfortunately necessary (from WDW's view) case of CYA and getting in front of something that is sure to draw some unwanted attention in the near future if they had left it up. The pavilion as a whole is actually my currently favorite part of EPCOT, as well (Voices of Liberty and a look through the exhibit in the lobby and the paintings before the main attraction).

*The other attractions with individual curators include One Man's Dream, Great Movie Ride (the queue props), and the Hall of Presidents.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 2:10 AM

Everyone has an opinion, and everyone will fight until they can't breath to try to convince everyone else in the entire country that their opinion is actually fact. Right and wrong is not black and white in this country anymore.

There are people near my old hometown near Charleston, WV who are actually trying to get a middle school's name changed because it is named after a General who led the south in the Civil War. Everyone is an activist these days. Everyone feels the need to argue, and get offended, and fight and cry. Everyone has a cause. The United States is full of crazy people. We've all gone mad.

A while back my life instantly got much better. All I had to do was not care. Let everyone else care. There is a saying that my family always says when regarding any kind of drama that does not belong to them. Not my monkeys; not my circus.

People have already said it - As for the flag, the context of its use should be considered to anyone who owns it, displays it, or sees it, before taking any action or jumping to any conclusions.

And my opinion could be totally wrong. I don't really care one way or another. :)

Last edited by LostKause, Friday, July 10, 2015 2:30 AM
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Friday, July 10, 2015 9:55 AM

Do government offices fly the flag of any other nation that the United States defeated in war? Iraqi flag? Nazi flag? Vietnam (I know, "defeat" is debatable)? Japan? Great Britain? So why should the Confederate (actually Virginia Army) flag be any different? Just sayin...

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Friday, July 10, 2015 1:13 PM

birdhombre said:

There's also the flip side of the "outsiders" notion: I'm always baffled whenever someone from Ohio tries to make the "Southern pride" claim about the Confederate flag flying proudly from their flagpole/truck/Facebook profile pic. Does the Mason-Dixon line go through Lake Erie now?

I get so tired of all those carpetbaggers comin' down from Put-In-Bay.

A large amount of people in Ohio are not from Ohio or come from families that moved north only for jobs and still have close ties with places farther south. My husband's family came from WV and Virginia and fought for both Union and Confederate. My husband used to be a reenactor. I don't wave one around or drive around with a confederate flag on my vehicle but there is one hanging inside my garage and I plan to leave it there. I think if Bubba Watson does paint over the flag on his original General Lee car he's an idiot. If he does that he won't have a collector's item anymore, just an over priced orange car.I can see how flying it over a state building can be problematic but I just get tired of how easily offended people are anymore.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 1:29 PM

LostKause said:

Everyone has an opinion, and everyone will fight until they can't breath to try to convince everyone else in the entire country that their opinion is actually fact. Right and wrong is not black and white in this country anymore.

There are people near my old hometown near Charleston, WV who are actually trying to get a middle school's name changed because it is named after a General who led the south in the Civil War. Everyone is an activist these days. Everyone feels the need to argue, and get offended, and fight and cry. Everyone has a cause. The United States is full of crazy people. We've all gone mad.

Yes. Life was much better when we blamed victims and turned a blind eye to injustice.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Friday, July 10, 2015 1:31 PM
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Friday, July 10, 2015 1:47 PM

slithernoggin said:

Speaking of Ohio...

During the Civil War, Confederate prisoners were held on Johnson's Island (close to the Marblehead Peninsula in Sandusky Bay), and the 24th Ohio Independent Battery was stationed at the tip of the Cedar Point peninsula to protect against possible Confederate attacks out of Canada.

So is that where the name Battery Park comes from? I was wondering why it was called that.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 2:12 PM

ApolloAndy said:

Yes. Life was much better when we blamed victims and turned a blind eye to injustice.

Blech. Nobody's saying that.

My take, though, is that in moving to make things better the pendulum seems to have swung too far and another correction is due. We went from ignoring victims to allowing everyone to be a victim of everything. We zipped right past the happy, sensible middle ground.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 2:30 PM

Thabto, that I don't know, but it seems logical.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 3:14 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
We zipped right past the happy, sensible middle ground.

I completely and totally agree with you. That said, if we both accept that as fact, it does not mean that social injustice has ceased to occur or that it shouldn't be addressed. And I'm not suggesting that you were suggesting that, but it does tend to be an underlying tone for a lot of people.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 3:32 PM

Absolutely.

I think the propensity is to push back when the proverbial pendulum swings too far and that accounts for a bit of the tone.

However, if anything, I think the overcorrection that occured causes more harm than good because it overshadows real issues. I think that tone, that feeling, that injustice has ceased to occur to some degree becuase what gets an adundance of the attention and focus is the bull****. When everyone is allowed to play victim, it's hard to sort out the people truly being victimized.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 4:07 PM

Lord Gonchar said:We zipped right past the happy, sensible middle ground.

I get what you're saying and I'm inclined to agree, but I'm not even sure what this middle ground looks like. I mean obvious it's when people who are actually victims are spoken for and people who aren't victims don't make a big stink about their non-victimization, but how in the world does that line get drawn? I mean, I'm not sure I even know what I think about where that line should be.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 4:31 PM

I think the so-called "middle ground" might permit the flag to fly at Fort Sumter (although it would have to be below the US flag), and probably would also allow them Duke Boys to stay on TV.

Then again, Wal*Mart and TV Land are private companies, and no one TELLS them what to do in cases like this - they simply respond to perceived market forces and act in the best interests of their shareholders.

Public land is different, regardless of what you might hear from conservative judges in OK and AL.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 4:33 PM

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of materials I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it....

He, of course, was speaking of pornography, but I think it's a similar situation here: we can't necessarily define that middle ground, but we know it when we see it.

I wonder if some of the "everyone's a victim of something" mentality results, in part, from the social media-connected, 24-hour news cycle world we live in?

Forty years ago, a tragedy like that in Charleston -- most of us wouldn't even have learned of it until Walter Cronkite told us about it on the Evening News. And those, offended or pleased by that tragedy he reported, would have had to share their opinion, person by person, with a telephone call, or by writing a letter.

Today, we post and like on Facebook, we tweet, we comment on whatever websites best reflect our political views, we have news and opinions and lists and kitties being adorable videos at our fingertips whenever we want. Does that pendulum swing wider because it's so easy to claim and communicate how and why we're each a victim?

Hope that makes some sense.... it's a lazy Friday afternoon off with a cold beer...

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Friday, July 10, 2015 5:27 PM

The most annoying thing about social media is that everyone thinks that they're an activist, but rarely has any skin in the game or does anything beyond speak to their echo chamber. Great, you want to feed the poor, but what have you done about it? You want equal rights, but what have you done about it? In some ways, my optimistic side says that's a good thing, and I honestly believe it's the reason that the same-sex marriage issue moved so quickly. On one hand you had people (and their allies) pissed about the situation, and on the other, people who were at worst uncomfortable but weren't going to get off the couch to do anything about it.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 5:34 PM

Obviously I participate in social media (hello, Coasterbuzz!) -- I'm on Facebook and Twitter, and, by default, on Google Plus :-)

One thing that frustrates me about social media is that is so easy to express your support of something -- look, I clicked "like" about this important issue -- and for too many, that's the extent of their support. I agree that the interconnectivity we enjoy does contribute to more rapid social change, such as marriage equality or the Confederate flag issue.

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Friday, July 10, 2015 6:53 PM

Yes, yes, and yes. I'm even a little bit jaded about the whole Kickstarter or whatever crowd funding thing. I mean, I give quite a bit of money to charitable causes, but all it takes is a few clicks and then I don't think about it until the next year. It would probably actually be more helpful in the long run if I invested some time and/or some personal contact in these organizations...but hey, I'm a busy guy.

Ex: I recently donated "a bunch" of money to an international adoption organization who put me on their mailing list and started giving me updates about specific children they were trying to place. I immediately unsubscribed to all their communications. It takes way less financial investment to "like" something or post something on Facebook and results in about the same about of emotional investment.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Friday, July 10, 2015 6:54 PM
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Friday, July 10, 2015 7:03 PM

I'm guilty of throwing money at stuff too, but I've tried to put in more physical hours where I can. Obviously GKTW is my pet cause, but all of the volunteering I've done has been back office type stuff. I'm not even registered to volunteer with the families! (Fortunately, Diana does more to make up for it.)

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Saturday, July 11, 2015 12:51 AM

ApolloAndy said:

... all it takes is a few clicks and then I don't think about it until the next year.

That's the thing about so much of social media: the sites allow us to feel like we're involved -- because we've clicked a button on a computer.

For my birthday a few weeks ago, my parents took me to Ryan's Steakhouse Buffet (they were buying... one of my rules of life is, the people paying for dinner get to pick where we eat, and they love buffet restaurants). There was a family of five at a nearby table and all five were poking away at their smartphones, and not talking to each other. At all. And yet, I'd guess to them they'd had a nice family dinner...

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