The mass purge of Confederate flag merchandise by online vendors seems to be finding some sense. We noted last week that the decision by people like Amazon and Apple to stop selling or permitting Confederate flag memorabilia had led to some absurd outcomes: Strategy games that used the civil war setting were getting booted because they included representations of the Confederate flag. The flags were included because they were historically accurate—not because the game publishers were pro-confederacy or pro-slavery.
After blogging about that purge, I was also contacted by a representative from Vinyard Studios, a company that makes a bunch of historical apps that allow the user to read through actual news stories from the Civil War, curated in such a way that readers would have the experience of following the events of the war as they unfolded. He discovered that several of his apps were no longer available for purchase on Amazon because of the appearance of the Confederate flag on app images. Mind you: This wasn't even a game. It was an app providing access to actual news stories from the time.
But now it looks like all these decisions have been reversed. Ultimate General: Gettysburg is now available again at the Apple store. Guns of Gettysburg and Battle Cry, two Civil War-themed board games, are available again from Amazon. And Vinyard's apps are back at Amazon as well.
In the end, the same sort of cultural pressure that prompted companies to remove Confederate flag merchandise also applied cultural pressure to reverse absurd outcomes. It was stupid for Amazon and Apple to have stomped all these products out without more careful evaluation, but at least it was more easily fixed, compared to any sort of government intervention or regulation.