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Topic: DELUXE Captain Marvel and the Monster Society of Evil. Cancelled Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Greg Kirkman
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Joined: 12 May 2006
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Posted: 11 January 2019 at 10:00pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Fair enough, Brian. I freely admit that youíre more knowledgeable about all of this than I am. And I freely admit that youíre a smarter person than I. Iím a guppy whoís always wandering out of his depth into the ocean, and I look up to you, even when we donít agree. 

I havenít picked this particular hill to die on, or anything. I certainly would never say that youíre flat-out wrong about it. Perhaps Iím totally wrong. Perhaps not. Iíve been wrong about a lot of things, over the years, and Iím sure Iíll be wrong about even more things, down the road. Maybe it all just comes down to point of view. But, yíknow, what? Your words are convincing. Iím not so entrenched that I canít turn my thinking cap around. Thanks for providing food for thought. 

Thereís probably no easy answer to this. Of course, I have zero power or influence in the matter, since I donít work at DC, and am therefore in no position to order the distribution of this material. Nor am I running around saying that it ďmustĒ be distributed. It is what it is, and life goes on. The book is cancelled, and weíre just having a civil discussion about whether or not it was the right call. There are worse things in the world to worry about, after all. So, having said my piece, Iím bowing out. 

Letís all just try to be nice to people, both out in the real world, and here! Bring as much joy and humor as you can to the world. Thatís where positive change really begins. 
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Brian Hague
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Joined: 14 November 2006
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 11:24am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Greg, I appreciate the compliments, I really do. I've been knocked out by your posts many times in the past here. And I agree with your summation that we all need to be a bit nicer and more considerate of one another. It's trickier than it seems, and yes, maintaining a sense of humor and as you say, joy, is a good way of going about it. Be kind.

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Robert Cosgrove
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Posted: 12 January 2019 at 9:51pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Re:  Disney's Song of the South

Columnist Mark Steyn, in a piece on the song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, had the following digression:  

Song of the South was a rather bold film in its day. The leading man was a black actor, and indeed the first such ever to win an Oscar. And, even more striking, the trio of young tykes capering through the picture is, as we would now say, multiracial. Walt Disney was so anxious to avoid accusations of "Uncle Tomism" he hired Maurice Rapf, a Jewish Communist, to work on the script and keep it sufficiently au courant with enlightened thinking on the racial question. Mr Rapf was so up to the minute in progressive thinking that shortly before the picture's release he was outed as a Red by The Hollywood Reporter and became more or less the original blacklisted screenwriter. (He would up teaching Film Studies down the road from me at Dartmouth College.)

All this ultimately availed Disney naught. Joel Chandler Harris' rendering of Negro dialect came to be seen as "stereotyping", and, notwithstanding that the movie is set in the Reconstruction south rather than the slavery era, the scenes of plantation life were offensively idyllic to those who can't tell late-nineteenth-century dress from antebellum garb. So Song of the South is the only Disney feature never to be released on video or DVD, and thus has the distinction of being an early victim of our culture's intolerance of anything non-conforming to the pieties of the last three days.

As for Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn being racist, it's racist in about the same sense Simon & Kirby's Captain America was anti-Semitic nazi propaganda because it featured Hitler, the Red Skull, and all those other nazis running around . . . 

The Uncle Remus stories have, I think, recently gained some renewed respectability as a result of a new edition by Jules Lester and Jerry Pinkney.  Perhaps we need a black film maker to remake Song of the South . . . 

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David Miller
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 12:36am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

"The pieties of the last three days" indeed. This is a guy who once wrote a column proudly declaring he would forever mispronounce Justice Sonya Sotomayor's name because he believes Anglo chauvinism outweighs common courtesy.

If Disney was sincerely concerned about being accused of "Uncle Tomism", whatever that means, why did he hire a Jewish communist to work on the script, opposed to say an African American one? (Notice how Steyn thoughtlessly assumes racial equity shares identical values to radical leftist politics he despises.) 

And what exactly is so special about Joel Chandler Harris's rendering of "Negro" dialect that it merits preservation above other dialect renderings by whites? Using "African American" is another courtesy Steyn refused to extend, by the way. 
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Robert Cosgrove
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Posted: 13 January 2019 at 11:18pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I'm not familiar with the purported Steyn comment that you characterize rather than quoting, but if said at all, I would be surprised if it were said in anything but jest; that Steyn is not a fan of Sotomayor's jurisprudence I would stipulate.  There's no connection with what I quoted and anything about Sotomayor,  but I take your point to be argument ad hominem--this guy is such a racially insensitive right winger that there's no point in taking him seriously. 

"If Disney was sincerely concerned about being accused of 'Uncle Tomism', whatever that means, why did he hire a Jewish communist to work on the script, opposed to say an African American one? "  A couple of comments.  First, it's not quite clear what function "say" is performing in that sentence.  Surely you don't mean it as a qualifier, as in, "say, an African American, a Swede, or an Italian"?  Your point, I take it, is that if Disney were concerned about accusations of racial insensitivity, an African American screenwriter would provide more protection than a Jewish one--no other would quite fit the bill.

Second, I dunno why Disney hired a Jewish communist to work on the script, though I could hazard several possible guesses, some informed, others far more speculative.  You'd have to ask Disney, and that ship has long since sailed.  And wouldn't it be Disney, not Steyn, who "thoughtlessly assumes racial equity shares identical values to radical leftist politics [Steyn] despises," though I applaud your recognition that for the most part, there's no necessary correlation between racial views and political ones? 

That Disney recruited Rapf for precisely the purpose Steyn specified is supported by at least one of Disney's biographers, Neal Gabler:  "Rapf was a minority, a Jew, and an outspoken left-winger, and he himself feared that the film would inevitably be Uncle Tomish.  'That's exactly why I want you to work on it,' Walt told him, 'because I know that you don't think I should make the movie.  You're against Uncle Tomism, and you're a radical.'"

"And what exactly is so special about Joel Chandler Harris's rendering of 'Negro' dialect that it merits preservation above other dialect renderings by whites?"  I have no idea.  Who said it was?

I don't think you'd have to search far to find a column where Steyn used the term Afro-American.  "Negro dialect" is a term of art that I think you'll find has been commonly used to describe particular language of a particular period, and I suspect that's why Steyn employs it here.  I note that he does not describe James Baskett as a "negro actor," though that's likely how Baskett would have been described in 1946.


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