Tag Archives: Disney

The Wondrous Tale of Brer Lamborn, Brer FOX & Obama the Tar Baby. Uncle Remus and Racism in Colorado Springs.

COLORADO SPRINGS- If US Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) remembered one thing from the Uncle Remus stories, it was not to touch that Tar Baby! You know, the one Brer Rabbit mistook for a cute black infant who would not tip his hat to his better. Or was that a Porch-Monkey? Colorado’s 5th District is unclear about the distinction if the local media and Fox News are to be believed. Either term refers to a poor person whose sticky problems become your “quagmire” if you ignore your natural prejudice to their skin color and you let them touch you. Can a representative of bigots be bothered to know if a racial slur is offensive? According to Lamborn, he can’t. More important, the congressman reiterates –as he professes his apology to people taking umbrage at racism he hadn’t intended to express– is: NOT TO TOUCH THAT OBAMA!
 
To be clear, Doug Lamborn hasn’t apologized to his constituents, he’s only claimed to have sent President Obama a letter, assuring all that Obama, the black untouchable, will have the grace to forgive him as “a man of character”.
 
And so this Uncle Remus tale simply goes on…

The story so far
Lamborn calls black US president a Tar-Baby, public outrage ensues, Gazette newspaper lends support to Lamborn’s excuse that Tar-Baby wasn’t used in racist sense. Protests held by NAACP, community groups and local progressives, all which Lamborn refuses to meet. Lamborn office erects sign NO PROTESTS.

ACT II: Lamborn office calls for his supporters to rally, presumably under the “no protest” sign. His office issues a press release: AP, Fox News, national and statewide outlets report before the fact that LAMBORN SUPPORTERS RALLY. Huffpo and Springs activists scramble to get images of said protest sanctioned despite “no protest” sign, find none. Local TV station KOAA which had depicted rally with a photo, hours before it was alleged to happen, omitted to mention photo was from file, conveniently unfocused and likely of a past year election event.

With every shenanigan, the theme resounds: the Colorado Springs establishment supports what Doug Lamborn said about Obama being a Tar Baby.

Racism in Colorado Springs
No one is in denial about the unsavory support behind Doug Lamborn. So does Colorado Springs support his bigotry?

Does the Tea Party shit in Acacia Park? You should see those clan gatherings, you can’t find a parking space for blocks, then it’s a sea of hate-filled white faces, with Doug Lamborn right there up front.

The comment section of every local media blog overflows with indignation that “Tar-Baby” is being construed to be racist. Commentators assert their preference for Freedom of Speech over Political Correctness.

BTW, Colorado Springs is as segregated as Chicago, with black neighborhoods, churches and schools. Many lives never cross the path of another of different ethnicity, so we’re blameless actually when we conclude there’s no racism here.

Except toward Hispanics, grouped conveniently with illegal immigrants, who don’t count, by definition, according to our favorite definition: legality. Same as used to apply to slaves.

The Pikes Peak region was a hotbed of clan activity in the 1930s, and obviously before that. At the turn of the century, the good folks of Limon had to hold up a lynching, make the poor young black boy wait hours in the November cold because hundreds wanted to come on the train from Colorado Springs to see 16-year-old Preston Porter burned alive at the stake.

Lynchings of Native Americans weren’t even recorded, being as they were, sanctioned as vermin control. It was seldom that white men distinguished themselves by speaking out in defense of Indians. Pikes Peak volunteers rode with Colonel Chivington to commit the Sand Creek Massacre.

Today downtown Colorado Springs boasts a lone statue of an African-American, a William Seymour, among the city notables immortalized in bronze. His is the only likeness made to take off his hat, outdoors, I kid you not.

Speaking of which, that was Tar-Baby’s offense.

Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Brer Rabbit was passing by the little black figure, and called out a friendly hello. But Tar-Baby wouldn’t answer when spoken to. When he wouldn’t even take off his hat, Brer Rabbit figured he’d teach him a lesson. Apparently, it’s not inappropriate to clobber some status of people if they’ve disrespected you.

Of course that was the only way Brer Fox’s plan was going to ensnare the rabbit, to mire him in the tar.

You might ask, how did Brer Fox know that Rabbit was going to mix it up with the Tar Baby? Would Rabbit have laid his hand on the baby if he’d been white? Would it have mattered if a white baby didn’t answer to his greeting?

Put aside that the Tar Baby expression became a racial slur in itself, the original Tar-Baby character impersonated an African-American child who didn’t show the expected deference to a rabbit.

The accompanying images reflect the changing visual representation of Tar-Baby. He makes his first appearance in an early chapter of the Uncle Remus Tales (as collected by Joel Chandler Harris) called “The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story.” Above is one of the original illustrations by artist A.B. Frost. There Brer Fox creates a “baby” made of tar to lure Brer Rabbit into his clutches.

The next images are from Disney versions. First the animated film SONG OF THE SOUTH, then the children’s books which followed.

Disney famously has not released Song Of The South after its theatrical run. The depictions were too ethnic, and Tar-Baby recalled the black-face entertainment that ought not to have so amused white audiences. Black-face is what passes for a negro face to whites. Similarly, a baby made of tar passes for a negro, but only in exaggeration. Oblivious to many, apparently, is that African-Americans are not by any approximation black. If Brer Fox had made a baby out of milk, would white people confuse its color for their flesh tone?

Disney rewrote the tale for its children’s book series, making the tar baby this time out of glue. Not only that, but they gave him ears to resemble a rabbit. This preempted confusing him for a human baby, black or white. Now Brer Rabbit could be seen taking him for his kin, which of course shifts the premise, and might puzzle some children to wonder why Brer Rabbit is so quick to come to blows.

Uncle Remus
Some will probably ask in earnest: are the Uncle Remus tales racist? No, but their context is complicated. The stories emerged from the plantation South, from storytellers who lived in slavery. The lessons imparted are universal, but the particulars were obviously crafted to help slaves come to terms with their unchallengeable fate. Shall I quote a few passages to see if you get the idea?

Brer Tarrypin, he lay back up dar, he did, des es proud ez a nigger wid a cook possum.
–chapter 10

He scrape it clean en lick it dry, en den he go back ter wuk lookin’ mo’ samer dan a nigger w’at de patter-rollers bin had holt un.
–chapter 17

Dey er mighty biggity, dem house niggers is, but I notices dat dey don’t let nuthin’ pass. Dey goes ‘long wid der han’s en der mouf open, en w’at one don’t ketch de tother one do.
-chapter 27

How about this wrenching bit from A Story of War?

Nigger dat knows he’s gwineter git thumped kin sorter fix hisse’f, en I tuck’n fix up like de war wuz gwineter come right in at de front gate.

From chapter 33: Why the Negro is Black:

ONE night, while the little boy was watching Uncle Remus twisting and waxing some shoe-thread, he made what appeared to him to be a very curious discovery. He discovered that the palms of the old man’s hands were as white as his own, and the fact was such a source of wonder that he at last made it the subject of remark. The response of Uncle Remus led to the earnest recital of a piece of unwritten history that must prove interesting to ethnologists.

“Tooby sho de pa’m er my han’s w’ite, honey,” he quietly remarked, “en, w’en it come ter dat, dey wuz a time w’en all de w’ite folks ‘uz black—blacker dan me, kaze I done bin yer so long dat I bin sorter bleach out.”

The little boy laughed. He thought Uncle Remus was making him the victim of one of his jokes; but the youngster was never more mistaken. The old man was serious. Nevertheless, he failed to rebuke the ill-timed mirth of the child, appearing to be altogether engrossed in his work. After a while, he resumed:

“Yasser. Fokes dunner w’at bin yit, let ‘lone w’at gwinter be. Niggers is niggers now, but de time wuz w’en we ‘uz all niggers tergedder.”

“When was that, Uncle Remus?”

“Way back yander. In dem times we ‘uz all un us black; we ‘uz all niggers tergedder, en ‘cordin’ ter all de ‘counts w’at I years fokes ‘uz gittin’ ‘long ’bout ez well in dem days ez dey is now.

But atter ‘w’ile de news come dat dere wuz a pon’ er water some’rs in de naberhood, w’ich ef dey’d git inter dey’d be wash off nice en w’ite,

en den one un um, he fine de place en make er splunge inter de pon’, en come out w’ite ez a town gal.

En den, bless grashus! w’en de fokes seed it, dey make a break fer de pon’,

en dem w’at wuz de soopless, dey got in fus’ en dey come out w’ite;

en dem w’at wuz de nex’ soopless, dey got in nex’, en dey come out merlatters;

en dey wuz sech a crowd un um dat dey mighty nigh use de water up, w’ich w’en dem yuthers come long, de morest dey could do wuz ter paddle about wid der foots en dabble in it wid der han’s.

Dem wuz de niggers, en down ter dis day dey ain’t no w’ite ’bout a nigger ‘ceppin de pa’ms er der han’s en de soles er der foot.”

And my favorite passage, called Turnip Salad:

“How many er you boys,” said he, as he put his basket down, “is done a han’s turn dis day? En yit de week’s done commence. I year talk er niggers dat’s got money in de bank, but I lay hit ain’t none er you fellers. Whar you speck you gwineter git yo’ dinner, en how you speck you gwineter git ‘long?”

“Oh, we sorter knocks ‘roun’ an’ picks up a livin’,” responded one.

“Dat’s w’at make I say w’at I duz,” said Uncle Remus. “Fokes go ’bout in de day-time an’ makes a livin’, an’ you come ‘long w’en dey er res’in’ der bones an’ picks it up. I ain’t no han’ at figgers, but I lay I k’n count up right yer in de san’ en number up how menny days hit’ll be ‘fo’ you ‘er cuppled on ter de chain-gang.”

“De ole man’s holler’n now sho’,” said one of the listeners, gazing with admiration on the venerable old darkey.

“I ain’t takin’ no chances ’bout vittles. Hit’s proned inter me fum de fus dat I got ter eat, en I knows dat I got fer ter grub for w’at I gits. Hit’s agin de mor’l law fer niggers fer ter eat w’en dey don’t wuk, an’ w’en you see um ‘pariently fattenin’ on a’r, you k’n des bet dat ruinashun’s gwine on some’rs.”

What about “nigger”?
When Russel Means writes of today’s economic and anti-democratic troubles, and addresses America’s newly impoverished middle class by saying Welcome to the Reservation, this is the wisdom I think he’s looking to impart. Welcome to niggerdom, Nigger.

With that word now struck from Huckleberry Finn, the concept of “nigger” becomes harder to grasp and can’t teach us its lesson.

Listen to Uncle Remus talk about what it means to be a lowest class being, beneath the interest of humanity, untouchable, as government functionaries like Doug Lamborn would prefer the underclass laborer remain.

It’s against the moral law for niggers to eat when they don’t work. AND
I ain’t handy with figures, but I lay I can count on one hand how many days it’ll be before [“knocking around” will land you niggers] in the chain-gang.

I suggest you reread that last passage of Uncle Remus in its original. Now I’ll try my hand at the last half of that phrase:

It’s against the moral law for niggers to eat when they don’t work, and when you see them apparently fattening on air, you can just bet that ruination is going on somewhere.

Boo-McHaa-McHoo, Kids NOT being McBranded

McDonalds is upset. Their Corporate “News” McPartners are upset. San Francisco voters ratified a law requiring that toys only be placed in McHappy McMeals that don’t exceed the recommended daily allowance of calories.
Which, the vast majority of their food not only exceeds but doubles the recommended daily caloric, fat, sugars, and salt intake. Essentially the “Happy Meal” is a branding gimmick, sure, get the Stupid People to actually PAY for extra advertising. Mattel and Hasbro, makers of Violence Toys which promote militaristic stereotypes for boys and misogynistic stereotypes for girls, pay to have their “toys” advertising the full size and more expensive toys inserted into the kids’ meals. Not just teaching the kids that overeating on the one hand and toys that promote sedentary activities instead of the running, walking, action-packed ACTIVE activities that human children are naturally suited to doing during play time.
The McNews corporate whores here in town said the KIDS would be unhappy because of that, but really, did anybody force the PARENTS to not reward their kids with toys for eating a REAL meal with REAL food instead of the Fat-Food garbage?

I mean, really, does the Fat Food Industry really really really need to bribe the kids to eat their Deep Fried Grease? Do the parents need to bribe their kids to poison themselves? Does a supposedly impartial journalist like News 11 (Colorado Springs local) anchors did, have to be so blatantly partial and commercial in their promotion of Death to American kids?

Parents, if you want to reward your kids for bad behavior, like dietary habits that are nothing short of Suicidal, you should really be ashamed. But I get this sickening feeling that the guilty parties aren’t ashamed.

I know that some will actually pop off with Religious condemnations of San Francisco doing such a bad ol’ meanie thing as telling a Major Corporation not to poison their kids, mentally and physically, by selling them garbage and rewarding them for eating with.. more garbage.

Some of the toys also market the mind-destroying Disney Paradigm to kids. Sit and watch, kids, let the Nice TV tell you what you must think say and do. The Nice TV tells you not to bother doing anything, just sit and watch… watch and sit… until your parental units drive you to the Nice “restaurant” to buy more food in one meal than you need in a whole day, and to buy more advertising for Mr Nice TV to tell you to sit and watch, watch and sit, with a pause every now and then for eating Garbage.

Soylent Green is People.

And I thought it couldn’t possibly get worse.

I thought for a long time that some of Shakespeares classic works, those of which are so tragic in scope that it’s worse than dating a Goth on downers, couldn’t possibly be given the Disney Treatment.
Then, they popped off with “Gnomeo and Juliet”.
If there’s any small mercy to be had there, it’s that somebody sobered up enough to refrain from making it “Julielf”.
But then, they’ve given the Disney Treatment to such wonderful objects of literature as Grimms’ Fairy Tales and anything by Hans Christian Andersen. “The Little Mermaid” they even made a sequel to it. HOW? In the book, Ariel’s prince charming got killed in a war and she couldn’t go around anywhere on land because (like all good fairy-tale spells) her enchantment that changed her fins to feet didn’t go far enough, and it hurt to walk. So she sits on a rock in Copenhagen harbor looking out to the sea to which she can never return, and the land that causes her excruciating pain, then she dies the end.

And that’s one of the nicer ones. What next, Hamlet starring Porky Pig? Oh, wait, that’s Warner Brothers.
Imperial culture degenerating before our eyes.

Does Florida celebrate the 4th of July?

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA- I’m looking forward to observing how Floridians celebrate the Fourth of July. During our nation’s War of Independence, La Florida fought on the side of the Brits. The territories were traded from Spain to comprise the king’s 14th and 15th colonies, and they declared nothing in 1776, except to quarter British Forces.

Later of course Florida seceded with the South to keep from having to share slave labor profits with the Union.

I would not begrudge bygones if Florida in present times didn’t remain so famously conservative. The sunburned state is full of retirees hoarding their riches, Disney fascists, and former Batista Cubans who long to see the mob and feudal sugar cane plantations restored to Cuba. Which descendant of any of these presumes to wave the Stars and Stripes tomorrow in the name of what America says it’s about?

Role models defined loosely

Disney studio actress contracted for next five High School Musicals
Call me a prude, but I don’t think a children’s studio should renew the contract of a young actress who has adult photographs circulating on the web. Particularly if she’s meant to be a youth role model and especially if the wholesome character Vanessa Hudgens portrays is younger than her real-life age. Imagine if paparazzi caught Urkel or Gary Coleman drinking at a bar for example.
 
Likewise do you wonder if a pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears should retain her tweenager role at Nickelodeon’s Chastity High? How are young viewers to reconcile Zoey of abstinence 101 with the tabloids which will describe Zoey the young mother? Is it the unspoken result of a mindless sitcom episode they might have missed?
 
But I also find it unseemly for Disney Channel actresses to be mascara’d like Bratz Dolls. It’s the painted lady look. Where is the Disney piper leading our children? To the sex service industry?

All the news fit to be shown to Americans

Simultaneous editions of NewsweekThis September has been the most fatal month for Canadians in Afghanistan. The number of Canadian soldiers killed peacekeeping for NATO has been accelerating of late and now stands at 37. It would stand to reason that Afghanistan would make the news.
 
Amy Goodman’s Independent Media in a Time of War examined the difference between the Iraq war coverage on CNN versus CNN international. Not the difference between Fox-News and the BBC, just the difference between in-house news departments of the same company.
 
What explains the decision to have a different cover story in this week’s domestic issue of Newsweek? Losing Afghanistan everywhere else, Annie Liebowitz: My Life In Pictures here.
 
The War in Afghanistan has become the forgotten war, due in large part because it is also kept an invisible war.
 
It serves to remember that regardless of the occasional expose, our press is neither unvigilant nor asleep. More precisely, their vigilance attends to guarding we don’t lose our sleep.
 
I have to remind myself, after reading any story critical of the war, that our press is not critical. The Wall Street Journal are terrible Neocon war mongers. The Washington Post, cynical war mongers. The Los Angeles Times, bandwagon war mongers. The New York Times, gatekeeper war mongers. Fox, MSNBC, of course cheerleader war mongers. CBS, ABC, war monger wannabees. Disney, war monger profiteers.
 
Recently fans are rallying around Keith Olbermann and his recent tirades against this administration. I agree we should support his speaking out, but Olbermann’s got a long way to go before he atones for his full throttle support in the lead-in to war.

Over 250,000 Iraqis are dead as a result of our invasion. Afghanistan too continues to suffer terrible civilian casualties. Our press supported both ventures and continues to support them.