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British Museum Now Banning Term “Mummy” to ‘Respect’ Ancient Dead

British Museum Now Banning Term “Mummy” to ‘Respect’ Ancient Dead

The woke cadre running the museum has now taken a running leap off the cliff of relevancy.

The last time we visited the British Museum at Legal Insurrection, I wrote that the Egyptians petitioned to return the iconic Rosetta Stone, which was used to decipher the hieroglyphics of the long-dead language.

While I defended this venerable institution then, the woke cadre running the museum has now taken a running leap off the cliff of relevancy.

It might seem impossible to hurt the feelings of a 3,000-year-old corpse. But woke museum chiefs have stopped using the word ‘mummy’ to describe the remains of ancient Egyptians, all in the name of ‘respect’.

They say the term is dehumanising to those who died and – of course – an unwelcome throwback to Britain’s colonial past.

The phrase now deemed politically acceptable is ‘mummified person’ or ‘mummified remains’.

The British Museum says it uses the latter phrase to emphasise to visitors that they are looking at people who once lived, while the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle says that it has adopted the new terms for its mummified woman Irtyru, who dates from around 600BC, to acknowledge the history of colonial exploitation and to give her the respect she deserves.

National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh has also removed the word ‘mummy’ from labels on its human remains.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Where we know the name of an individual we use that, otherwise we use “mummified man, woman, boy, girl or person” because we are referring to people, not objects.

They want to be more sensitive.

Using the term “mummified remains” can encourage visitors to think of the individual who once lived, the museums told CNN.
Initial findings from visitor research into the Great North Museum: Hancock’s display of the mummified Egyptian woman known as Irtyru found that many visitors “did not recognize that she was a real person,” museum manager Adam Goldwater told CNN in a statement.

By “displaying her more sensitively,” Goldwater added, “we hope our visitors will see her remains for what they really are — not an object of curiosity, but a real human who was once alive and had a very specific belief about how her body should be treated after death.”

One must ask: How do they know if those remains want to be identified as man, woman…or sheep?

But seriously, if those visitors do not understand those remains were once of a living person, then the region’s education system is seriously deficient. Language policing is not going to fix ignorance or increase sensitivity.

This has been a busy time for the language police. My colleague Mike LaChance recently wrote about a memo from the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworek-Peck School of Social Work that says it will be doing away with the term “field” to adhere to anti-racist practices.

Mike also reported on Stanford University’s attempt to ban the word “American,” which had to be rescinded because of the backlash.

This also aligns with concerns Professor Jacobson outlined in an interview on how campus word policing is a serious and ever-increasing manifesting of authoritarianism.

Jacobson also claimed that the people engaged in word banning on campuses come almost entirely from the left, utilizing speech control as a “power play.”

“They don’t really care about the origins of these words. They don’t really care about the history. It’s just a way of imposing their political viewpoint on everybody,” he said.

It also corresponds to a critical point Catholic author Peter Kreeft once made: “Control language and you control thought; control thought, and you control action; control action and you control the world.”

As an amateur Egyptologist, I know that the ancient Egyptians felt they would live again if their names were said. So to those running the museums, I suggest it would be more sensitive and sensible to post the term (if it can be discerned) next to the display and do a better job teaching history…rather than trying to manipulate someone’s words to appease the gods of wokeness.

Besides, “The Curse of the Mummified Man’s Tomb” doesn’t pack the same dramatic punch.

The “experts” and “smart set” who pronounce this have become a laughingstock.


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B. Musuem: You must show proper respect for these ancient remains.

Tourist: What are they remains of?

B. Musuem: Super privileged royals who lived in luxury and were waited upon by thousands upon by thousands of slaves.

Tourist: You mean the slaves who built the pryramids?

B. Musuem: Yes.

Tourist: Maybe we should honor the slaves.

    Paula in reply to Paula. | January 24, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Proofreader: Hey! You misspelled “pyramids” and “museum”. Show some respect.

    Paula: I will show tons of respect to whoever adds an edit function.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Paula. | January 24, 2023 at 8:17 pm

      “Paula: I will show tons of respect to whoever adds an edit function.”

      You and me, obth!

    GWB in reply to Paula. | January 25, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    B. Musuem: Super privileged royals who lived in luxury and were waited upon by thousands upon by thousands of slaves.

    Tourist: I’m an American. We don’t think much of royals.


I had feared that we had already reached Peak Dumb. It’s good to know that the upward trajectory is alive and well.

Instead of a Mummy I’m going to call a Deady. Who’s your Deady?

I highly recommend the 1999 Brendan Fraser movie, “The Mummified Remains.” It has some genuinely creepy moments and Arnold Vosloo gives an excellent performance as the mummified person.

I have to sign off now so I can feed my puppified and kittified persons.

George_Kaplan | January 24, 2023 at 8:03 pm

Given Woke ideology claims gender has no correlation with biology, how is the Woke brigade assigning gender to these mummies given they only have biological remains and artifacts, not the preferred pronouns and chosen gender of the mummy in question? There seems to be an inconsistency in their reasoning.

Then again it’s the Left. Without double standards they’d have none.

Ghost Town (2008) museum curator Téa Leoni talking to Ricky Gervais

– But what’s really exciting about Pepi is how they handled his organ.

– His organ?

– Yeah, his dick. I got it right here. You wanna see it?


There’s nothing unusual about the phallus itself.

– Sure.

– It’s the way it was stored. You know, normally, the penis and the heart are kept together and mummified along with the body, but in Pepi’s case, they removed it and preserved it in this separate gold-encrusted jar.

God. I can see why he was king.

– You okay?

– Yeah. I’ve got to get used to looking down at a shriveled, old penis, eventually. Oh, geez. I see he died happy.

That’s it. That’s enough.

He must have had huge hands.

– No, no.

– Yeah.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to rhhardin. | January 24, 2023 at 8:20 pm

    I have quite big hands, and 13EEEEE or 14EEEE feet.

    Sadly, all it means is, I buy big shoes and gloves.

      Notting Hill (1999) Julia Roberts to Hugh Grant.

      You have big feet.

      Yes. Yes, always have had.

      You know what they say about men with big feet.

      No, I don’t, actually. What’s that?

      Big feet… large shoes.

Call them fetuses that have evolved and returned to the mummy’s tomb.

That said, the Pro-Choice ethical religion denies women and men’s dignity and agency, and normalizes the dehumanization, commoditization of human life from baby… fetal-baby to granny.

DIE doctrine, too, which denies individual dignity, individual conscience, intrinsic value, and normalizes color blocs (e.g. “people of color”), color quotas, and affirmative discrimination.

Also, albinos (i.e. white people) are a historically discriminated minority, lower the Rainbow banner, end the parades full of pride and prejudice, which celebrate albinophobia.

The Gentle Grizzly | January 24, 2023 at 8:22 pm

I’m waiting for some pasty-faced, fat woman in man glasses and purple hair demanding all English children call their mothers something different from “mummy”.

Boris Karloff must be turning over in his grave.

Given the abuse of these ancient ancestors of the Egyptian people, I think calling them “mummified persons” is grossly inadequate reparations. The only adequate reparations could be returning all items originating in Egypt to the people who would show proper respect.

If these clods are so offended by references to the British colonial past, then they should just return the museum’s looted Egyptian collection. And the term “mummy” traces its roots to the British empire? I thought it derived from Latin and Persian variants, where it basically meant “embalmed body”?

    Milhouse in reply to Concise. | January 25, 2023 at 7:50 am

    1. They would like nothing better.

    2. They were not “looted”. Looting happens now, and when it’s detected the stolen items need to be returned to their rightful owners, but when these things were taken they had no owners, so taking them wasn’t looting.

    3. No, nobody is claiming “mummy” has anything to do with the British or any other empire. That is not the claim being made here. It’s all very well to mock this story, but first you have to understand why they’re doing it, so you can understand what it is that you’re mocking. Otherwise you’re just laughing because everyone else is, without knowing why.

      Concise in reply to Milhouse. | January 25, 2023 at 10:45 am

      I could point out that accusations of looting a country’s treasures is commonplace in the rhetoric of critics of the British Empire (or any colonial power). I could point out that the article notes that part of the rationale was based on the claim that the term was “an unwelcome throwback to Britain’s colonial past.” I could point out that my comment was a somewhat facetious, mocking response, which is what the museum deserves. But I think I’ll let the absurdity of your response (and inevitable embarrassing follow up) speak for itself.

They get paid for this stuff. Probably a lot more than most of us.

There is no justice …

I call them people whose graves were robbed and their religious burials desecrated.
Take your DNA samples, steal their gold, make a copy of their coffin and bury them in as close a manor as they were originally interred.

    Milhouse in reply to 1073. | January 25, 2023 at 7:51 am

    Or at least in as close a manner. No need to ship them all the way back to Egypt, unless they put importance on that.


Whose your daddy

Walk like an Egyptian…

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | January 25, 2023 at 4:41 am

How long before the museum leftists declare that they cannot have any of these mummies in the museum for display, since that is objectifying the objects?

If you follow leftist theory to its natural end, there is no legitimate function for any museum, since it is all exploitation of one form or another.

    You’re actually demonstrating why they’re at least a little bit right. These are not objects, they are people. The leftist idea for the past ~30 years at least has been that it’s wrong to refer to people as anything but that, because it robs them of their personhood. On the right we tend to mock that notion, but seeing you calling them “objects” tends to validate it.

      No, they were people. Now they are objects.
      These are pyrsyns whose pronouns are was/were.

        Milhouse in reply to GWB. | January 25, 2023 at 1:24 pm

        Dying doesn’t rob a person of their personhood. Dead people are still people, and still deserve to be treated with respect. Putting someone on display is not respectful.

          ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Milhouse. | January 25, 2023 at 2:39 pm


          Mummies are not people. Corpses are not people, though corpsmen are people.

          It is the height of chutzpah for any leftist to make claims about “humanity”. Leftists don’t think that “people” are anything more than clumps of cells and that there is no meaning to existence. They just like to complain about things like this in order to break society, which they hate.

          Putting someone on display is not respectful.

          Okey doke … so you think that these museums should all be shut down. (and leftists would make the same argument about animals, too – even moreso, as leftists think that animals are “better beings” than evil humans).

          I guess much of the entertainment industry would have to go, in your world, too.

          Sounds wonderful.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | January 25, 2023 at 4:21 pm

          They are certainly people. No, museums should not close down, but they should not have people on display. They can display all the stuff that was found with the remains, but the person himself should be decently reburied. That’s what you do with people when they die. They belong in the ground, not in a display case for people to gawk at.

          BierceAmbrose in reply to Milhouse. | January 25, 2023 at 4:37 pm

          I suppose that depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

          henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | January 29, 2023 at 8:15 pm

          “Dead people are still people,”
          But dead bodies aren’t dead people. Only the least important part of them.
          Ashes to ashes, Milhouse. Even the Catholic Church recanted their objections to cremation 60 years ago.

For those who don’t understand what this story is about, for as long as I’ve been following the leftist attack on language one of their big ideas, which isn’t completely wrong, is that one shouldn’t refer to people by nouns referring to some trait the person has. That reduces them to that single trait, as if that were their essence. Rather one should call them “people”, modified by adjectives relating to their traits, or, even better, “people with “.

Thus, rather than “cripple” one should say “crippled person”, or rather “motion-impaired person”, or even better “person with impaired motion’. Or, rather than “AIDS victim” one should say “Person with AIDS”, so one doesn’t forget that each individual is much more than simply their disease.

This is somehow related to a notion that used to exist long ago, and by now has mostly disappeared but you’ll still find among older people, that it’s somehow impolite to call someone a “Jew”, and the polite term is “Jewish person”. It’s like the left picked up on that idea and ran with it, applying to everything, except, ironically, Jews; which I think happened mostly because actual Jews got wind of it and assured everyone that we have no objection to being called that and take no offense at it.

And it’s not as if the idea is wrong, exactly. It’s just that the left, being the left, not only took it to extreme levels, but started insisting that everyone must change their language accordingly, and if we don’t we’re bad people. That’s what they do with every idea they pick up, whether it’s initially good or bad, so that even their good ideas soon go bad.

“But woke museum chiefs have stopped using the word ‘mummy’ to describe the remains”

I have been greatly triggered by the use of the word “chief” in this article. The “c” word is an insult to all American Indians.

I don’t get it Leslie..I looked up the origins of the word.. because I really had no clue.. Thankfully I am used to that condition now.

mummie, “medicinal substance prepared from mummy tissue,” from Medieval Latin mumia, from Arabic mumiyah “embalmed body,” from Persian mumiya “asphalt,” from mum “wax.

The whole brouhaha makes no sense. Of course, I could be dead wrong.

    Milhouse in reply to amwick. | January 25, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    The issue is not the word’s origins. It’s referring to a person as if they were a mere object. Leftists have objected to that for decades. See my longer comment at 8:10 am.

Isn’t “mummy” defined as “the preserved remains of a deceased person or animal”? If so, doesn’t “mummy” encompass “mummified person”? Who, looking at what is obviously the preserved remains of a deceased human, doesn’t understand that the term “mummy” refers to exactly that?

This whole exercise isn’t about definitions or the words themselves, because they remain the same. It’s about forcing people to use preferred language, a language the Leftists control. Which is to say it’s about control, because language provides them with another sphere of influence.

    Milhouse in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 25, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    The point is that using a term for a person that refers only to one characteristic of that person dehumanizes them. This is a valid point, but the left have taken it to absurd extremes, and turned it into a ukase, because ultimately they are all about controlling people.

      ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Milhouse. | January 25, 2023 at 2:41 pm

      So, if I call you a “commenter” then I am dehumanizing you?


      Are you unable to see how asinine and silly that is?