It’s one thing when a murderous dictator forces his family name onto towns, hospitals, orphanages and STD clinics, Kim Jong Il style. It kind of comes with the evil-dictator territory, much like army fatigues and hilariously oversized glasses. It’s another thing altogether when well-meaning folks deliberately choose to name their library building after a puppy-maiming drunk-driving serial rapist. Which hasn’t happened to our knowledge, but wouldn’t it be awful if it did?
Here are some other awful kinds of people you should never, never name anything after, but people did anyway.
College dorm-naming is tricky business. On the one hand, you know fully well that kids are going live, eat, shower, play beer pong, smoke the doobie and have countless hours of awkward teen sex in the building, so you’d kind of feel guilty naming a college dorm after Jesus or Mary or Buddha. On the other hand, ‘Drunk Screw Hall’ doesn’t exactly inspire anyone to take your school seriously, does it?
So a lot of times schools end up naming their buildings after distinguished graduates and professors, which was exactly what the University of Texas thought they were doing when they named a new residence hall after former law professor William Stewart Simkins back in 1955. Simkins taught at UT from 1899 until his death in 1929. But during that time he gave speeches discussing his colorful past as in the Civil War, practicing law, and as Florida Klansman:
He admitted assaulting a black man, participating in a train robbery and sowing fear in Florida’s “black belt” as a masked night rider. “The immediate effect upon the Negro was wonderful, the flitting to and fro of masked horses and faces struck terror to the race,” Simkins wrote.
YIKES! It’s bad enough that the school knowingly named a dorm after a known Klansman at the height of the civil rights movement, what really sucks is that it took 55 whole years to rename the place, which they just did this year. And that was after a 21 member advisory group recommended the Board of Regents take a vote on the issue. Progress take ridiculous amounts of time, red tape and lively discussion, obviously.
A Guy Who’s Actually Worse than Mugabe
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo took over Equatorial New Guinea by murdering his Uncle President in 1979 and has ruled the country with an iron fist ever since. One journalist claimed that he’s worse than Robert Mugabe, especially after he declared himself a god in 2003. And not in a tongue-in-cheek Howard Stern kind of way, either. In a literal ‘I can kill whoever I want to because I am a god’ kind of way. And when you’re a god you’re totally covered in the ‘torturing political dissidents to death’ department, too. Which is a good thing, because his regime is really excellent in that department. Another thing Mbasago is good at is straight robbing the national treasury by depositing half a billion dollars of government money into his own private accounts in Washington D.C. Gods gots to eat, you know!
For these, and hundreds of other horrible reasons, everyone in the universe was pretty not cool with the UN naming a humanitarian prize after this fool. It turns out the prize rewarding individuals or organizations working to better humanity was named after African Dr. Evil because he donated $3 million big ones to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization in an effort to improve his reputation. Which is apparently how your mind works when you’re that diabolical; that you can buy back your reputation by honoring people who are your complete opposites.
And is anyone else alarmed that Scrooge McDuck is in charge of UNESCO? No? Just checking.
Usually Germany is uber-conscious about wiping out their Nazi past, but a recent study revealed that there are still over a dozen schools named after Hitler’s buddies, including a fellow named Rainer Fetscher. The school named after Herr Fetscher is interesting for two reasons: one, Rainer wasn’t a Nazi, but he was a Stormtrooper who wrote about racial hygiene and sterilized those determined to be mentally inferior. Two, the German school named after him is a school for the disabled. Naming a school for special kids after Fetscher is like naming the Minnesota Twins stadium after Joseph Mengele. Not cool, in other words.
Germany’s got it tough in a way, though. For the years that they were in power, practically everyone had to be a Nazi just to exist in Germany. So, pretty much every German who ever accomplished anything in the post-war years probably had their names on the books at one point. Fair enough. But what was really weird was when a school decided to name itself after the guy who developed the Nazi V-2 rocket bomb that killed 30,000 Allied civilians…two years ago.
A Mass Murderer
Kind of. Even if you’ve never heard of William Mulholland, you’ve heard of the Hollywood street named after him, the movie named after that street, or the other movie not so loosely based upon his evil shenanigans. So who was William Mulholland? The simple answer is that he was a self-taught engineer who was responsible for bringing water to Los Angeles. In the process, he cut off nearby farmers from the water they needed for irrigation in what became known as ‘the rape of Owens Valley,’ but whatever. Without Mulholland, LA wouldn’t exist as we know it, and that’s why he almost died a hero.
The minor footnote to Mulhollland’s legacy came when the dam that he had engineered, built and personally inspected failed only hours after its completion. By the time the reservoir water hit the Pacific Ocean, over 500 Californians were dead, making the collapse of the St. Francis dam the 2nd worst disaster to hit California ever. Although Mulholland was not held criminally liable for the disaster, witnesses testified that the dam was leaking before it was even finished, and that Mulholland himself knew of the leaks and dismissed them. To this day, only the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 killed more people than Mulholland’s little project. So why Jack Nicholson doesn’t live on 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Drive, we’ll never know.
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