When a person wins an award it is all celebration, publicity, and inscriptions in the record-books. Now we face the flood of “revelations” that many recipients of such awards do not deserve the honor. So a small article is typed out to state that the award, distinction, title or honor has been revoked. Yet no transgressor worries much about this because no parallel kind of pomp and circumstance is given to the shaming event. It is done quietly.
Is a record even made of the person returning the plaque, medal, award, moonman, gold coin, ring, watch, crystal paperweight etc. And then what happens to this hunk of semi-valuable material? I advocate that we begin to host a revoke award show each year, of course the Weinteins and Cosbys wouldn’t attend, and in fact the event would not even have to focus on the specifics, the directors could decide on how to best celebrate the act of revoking an award.
Same with the removal of Confederate statues – where is the ribbon cutting, the public officials in suits, the expensive flower arrangements, the local beauty queen, and the celebratory appetizers and drinks afterwards.
To truly honor the moment where false idols come crashing to the ground, when men in power are stripped of their facades, when everyone can point at the emperor and call-out his nudity, then people may begin to feel it worthwhile to risk their own peace and security to confront abuses of power, histories of oppression, casualties of silent wars, masks made and worn to hide vulgar actions.
So no it is not enough to plaster their face on the newspaper or to change their label from innovator to abuser. Assemble a team of Repo women to collect the awards and a machine that spits them out into a tangible good. Take back the award money, the honorary diplomas, the tassels, the carved names. Let’s make a big deal out of it so that the next time they hesitate, they question if it is worth it, they see their comrades fall from grace and count their blessings.
Until then no one is doing right by the victims, no compensation has been made, no honor bestowed on those carrying the burden of how those bad people still came to power. Let us honor these warriors of truth and light with sparkling dresses, designer tuxedos, indigenous woven shawls, clogs, boots – whatever it is that they please. But with cameras flashing, a meal served in their honor, their names emblazoned in lights, telecast on every channel for us to celebrate the people who truly deserve it.