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Comment count is 35
Bort - 2012-08-08

Well shit. I can't see what those colored folk like Frederick Douglass were getting so worked up about.

StanleyPain - 2012-08-08

I honestly think is movie is pretty pedestrian as racism goes. Obviously being a kids movie it glosses over the slave/master relationship of plantations and the "magic negro" stereotypes are cranked up to 11, but I think it's kind of a shame this movie has been relegated to "never to be released again" status. I think films like this generally always have something to offer, even if it is an example of changing race relations and perceptions of racism.

Bort - 2012-08-08

That's exactly where I take issue with it: it paints a non-objectionable, even attractive, view of a shameful past. Which would be mostly fine if we were talking about, say, the Etruscan rule of Rome, because that's literally ancient history. But to this day we have an entire political party that prospers by appealing to people who, at some level, think the problem is that blacks don't know their place.

If I didn't know the history here I'd think it was a terrific little film. But because I do know the history, I have trouble seeing this as anything but a cautionary tale about how racists will whitewash the past if you give them an opportunity. Bear in mind I am a stick in the mud.

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-08

This is a piece of history that should be judge in the right context. Hidding it is a terrible decision, we should be able to look back on our past and reflect on it.

memedumpster - 2012-08-08

I brought the context, you bring the beer.


hughmanatee - 2012-08-08

Not hidden. It's on youtube.

Cockmaster Flash - 2012-08-08

These five stars are my donation to the uploader's legal defense fund.

I would be shocked if Disney didn't go after him.

MrBuddy - 2012-08-09

If Disney is involved, odds are it'll just get kicked off YouTube. I'd be more concerned about people like Louis Farrakhan, Charlie Rangel or Al Sharpton and they wouldn't sue the uploader, they'll sue YouTube for "hate speech".

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-08

Ever since looking up the biography of the guy who played the "Wild Man from Borneo", I've been acutely aware of the sad irony of a talented aftican-american actor, struggling for years in roles with names like "driver". "butler", and "porter", finally getting an interesting role THAT PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER, and then his work is never shown because it's considered "racially insensitive". There has to be a place for stuff like this.

Binro the Heretic - 2012-08-08

When I was little, I had an illustrated Disney storybook version of the "Tar Baby" story. It was one of my favorites because Br'er Rabbit used his superior intellect to escape the clutches of the larger, stronger fox and bear. As a small kid who was picked on a lot, it really struck a chord with me.

Of course, learning the whole history behind the stories and "Uncle" Walt Disney's own racist attitudes have soured my love of the story.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2012-08-09

That story had the opposite effect on me because I had OCD even at an early age. I wanted to bathe him so very badly. The idea of tar being stuck to someone...well I didn't understand the possible racist connection at age 6 but god did that horrify me on a compulsive level.

That guy - 2012-08-09

The possible racist connection in the movie and in Walt's head, or the possible racist connection in the folk tale?

Jet Bin Fever - 2012-08-09

Oh man, I loved the Tar Baby story. I had the record version and listened to it several times a day.

fedex - 2012-08-09

i had that book!

Bort - 2012-08-09

I have never had the sense that the tarbaby was a racist thing. Tar is black but I think its main relevant characteristic is that it's sticky; and the tarbaby doesn't have any stock racist black characteristics (big lips, flat nose, etc). I can't even see that B'rer Rabbit is addressing it as his social inferior.

The tarbaby story starts at 47:30; decide for yourself.

MissLadyArtemis - 2012-08-09

Ooh, was this the version that came with the little record and you would listen along and turn the page when it went ding? I had that, and it was one of my favourites.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-08

http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/d/Bobby_Driscoll/Death_of_Bobby _driscoll.htm

A webpage about Bobby Driscoll, the most tragic child actor ever. Even Alfalfa got to be buried in his own grave.

Jet Bin Fever - 2012-08-09

Very informative. Thanks.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-09

Can't tell if you're being sarcastic; that link isn't working for me. This sometimes works.


If not, just google Bobby Driscoll

cognitivedissonance - 2012-08-09

Also, unrelated but kinda, R. Crumb's brother Charles had a homosexual fixation on Bobby Driscoll, and it probably caused his mental illness and decline.

Old_Zircon - 2012-08-09

You got your cause and effect mixed up there.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-09

Yeah, Bobby's cute and all, but I don't think he's cute enough to induce schizophrenia.

FABIO - 2012-08-08

As a kid, I figured the tar baby story was about learning that a hot temper could get you into trouble.

Is it possible it was supposed to be an allegory for the South's bigotry miring it? I haven't looked up the writer's history so I honestly don't know.

Jet Bin Fever - 2012-08-09

Well, there's certainly a lot of racial undertones in it, but it's really hard to find folk stories from that period that don't have those. The main point seems to be indeed, having a bad temper will get you into trouble.

Bort - 2012-08-09

Well technically, if you think of B'rer Rabbit as the Confederate States of America, and punching the tarbaby was the equivalent of attacking the Union soldiers at Fort Sumter -- who I must point out were seeking refuge from CSA soldiers and doing their damnedest to avoid a fight -- then you have an accurate picture of the start of the Civil War, a.k.a. the War of Southern Overconfidence.

That guy - 2012-08-09

So, from what I understand [source uncited], there are folktales of the 'tar baby' type that predate the American slavery era, let alone the reconstruction era. I read a lengthy something-or-other about the Uncle Remus folktales being a weird mixed bag.

But that doesn't make the phrase or the folktale racist, amirite, 1990's academic politics?

dairyqueenlatifah - 2012-08-08

Wow, I watched a bootleg copy of this film about five years ago and it was nowhere near this good of quality. I thought it was awesome that flit, the hummingbird in Pocahontas, is an homage to the hummingbirds in this movie (or rather, a clone of them).

I can see why Disney doesn't want this film to ever see the light of day again in the United States but I honestly don't think it's that racially insensitive. Yeah, it paints a ridiculously sugarcoated image of a particularly unsavory portion of American history (it's Disney, so naturally it's going to get the Disney treatment), but I don't think it belittles blacks or glorifies their subjugation in anyway. I also think it's silly for us to try to ignore our history, rather than learn from it.

Oh well, if it's any consolation, this film is actually set after the abolition of slavery, and these are actually sharecroppers/tenant farmers, not slaves, as so many people think.

Honestly, if anyone should be bitching about racial insensitivity from a Disney film, it should be the Native Americans. Watch Peter Pan sometime if you haven't, to see the most racist musical sequence of any Disney animated feature ever, and repeated use of the racial slur "injun". That's not only not banned, but has been re-released dozens of times with little to no resistance.

Wonko the Sane - 2012-08-09

Technicolor indeed

jangbones - 2012-08-09

Enjoy has this on his DVD shelf next to Birth of a Nation and a few documentaries on how Bill Clinton and Janet Reno murdered the Branch Davidians

cognitivedissonance - 2012-08-09

Cinematography of the live-action segments provided by Greg Toland, who is probably better remembered for nothing less than "Citizen Kane".

cognitivedissonance - 2012-08-09

Even better? Somebody is deliberately wiping this credit from his Wikipedia page. Damndest thing.

ez - 2012-08-09

What's odd is that on one hand Disney wants to act like Song of the South doesn't exist (in the US anyway), but if you go to Disneyworld, one of the major rides - Splash Mountain, is all about this. Why have an entire ride themed around zippidee-do-dah, and Br'er Rabbit, and the briar patch, etc, when the majority of the kids seeing this stuff have no idea what the hell they are talking about? Why is there somone dressed like Br'er Bear walking around the property taking pictures with kids?

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-09

The Wikipedia for Joel Chandler Harris, the author of the Uncle Remus stories, which were taken directly from Nigeria folktales, is fascinating, loaded with complexities and contradictions. He was considered an advocate for the rights of black people, but here's his opinion of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

[quote]Harris described Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, as a major influence on the characters of Uncle Remus and the Little Boy. When he read Stowe's novel in 1862, he said that it "made a more vivid impression upon my mind than anything I have ever read since. "Interpreting Uncle Tom's Cabin as a "wonderful defense of slavery," Harris argued that Stowe's "genius took possession of her and compelled her, in spite of her avowed purpose, to give a very fair picture of the institution she had intended to condemn." In Harris's view, the "real moral that Mrs. Stowe's book teaches is that the. . . realities [of slavery], under the best and happiest conditions, possess a romantic beauty and tenderness all their own."[/quote]

What the fuck.


Paracelsus - 2012-08-09

Thanks for the info, and yes. Because of our histrionic polarities, we want to force any phenomena that references race at all to be either wholly good or wholly bad. As you've shown, the real picture is pretty complicated and merits discussion. Not censorship.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-10

Yes, but some things need to be marginalized. It's a good thing that kids don't grow watching "The Kid from Borneo" on TV, but I'm glad that it's on YouTube.

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