I love Chris Muir’s laconic take on the days events seen through the eyes of two young, hip couples in his Day by Day cartoons.
But today’s installment may have crossed a line of good taste. I know many of you will disagree with me, but you decide.
Many of you will recall when we conservatives came down hard on Jane Hamsher of Firedog Lake for her photoshopped picture of Joe Lieberman in minstrel make up. It is an unnecessary, hurtful reminder of days past when black people were thought not good enough to share the stage with white people. And to make matters worse, the Minstrel Show itself portrayed blacks in the most nauseatingly, submissive, subservient ways imaginable.
Ever wonder why the black stereotype is so ingrained in American culture? You can thank the wild popularity of the Minstrel shows. For most of the 19th century, these variety shows toured the small towns, big cities, and rural hamlets with whites dressed up in black face and performing song, dance, and skits in a bastardization of how African Americans lived. Watermelon eating, the slow shuffling gait, laziness, the myth that all blacks can dance, and a cloying kind of paternalism that exists down to this day, represented by Hillary Clinton and other liberal Democrats, were staples of Minstrel shows – even later when blacks themselves began to perform in them! Black actors were actually forced to wear black face themselves as part of the “tradition.”
Minstrel shows were often the only “contact” small town and rural white America had with African American culture. The fact that the way that culture was portrayed was so insensitive and depraved is why you rarely see films today that show song and dance numbers with actors in black face. Such numbers were staples of early Hollywood musicals as were rancid portrayals of blacks in general.
One of the more beloved holiday movies of all time, Holiday Inn, which starred Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, with a nice turn by Cesar Romero as Astaire’s conniving agent has not been seen on over the air TV for many years due to a black face number. There is just something so embarrassing about watching white people acting out black stereotypes that one wants to turn away or change the channel. It is a painful reminder of how things used to be in America – a shameful legacy that to this day we are trying to overcome.
Muir makes a living going to the edge. That’s what good cartoonists do. But putting anyone in black face cannot be seen as anything except out of bounds for decent society. We conservatives said as much following Jane Hamsher’s extraordinary Lieberman slur. And we should say the same about Mr. Muir and his idea of humor.
Okay…have at me in the comments.
Just Barking Mad gets it right with regards to Hillary and the Dems attitude toward race:
The question is whether this is the famous Clinton Chameleon ability or the more subtle racism of seeing people, as Muirâ€™s Damon says, as a group and not as individuals. I donâ€™t think that Ms. Clinton is a racist like the Kluxers of old (did someone say Robert Byrd?) but she is the new racist, the kind that sees blocs of voters as targets to be pandered to, instead of individuals. Hence her speaking to an audience like it was full of Aunt Jemimas and Steppin Fetchits.
I don’t want to put words in Mr. JBM’s mouth but it appears that he is justifying Muir’s use of black face to highlight this pandering to the group (and by extension, recognizing stereotypes) by Hillary. (A point made by long time commenter BD in the comments.)
Okay, I’ll buy that. But is there another way – a less hurtful, more sensitive way – it could have been done? My argument is not that Muir’s context was off it is that black face as a negative cultural icon is always wrong – as much as showing a burning cross.
I have been called a “misogynist” and “sexist” by Jon Swift and TBogg for using the old Saturday Night Live comeback by Dan Akroyd to Jane Curtain during their “Point/Counterpoint” skits where Akroyd (impersonating the old conservative Richmond Times Dispatch columnist James Kirkpatrick whose 60 Minutes segment with liberal columnist Shana Alexander was being parodied) would begin his response to Curtain’s reasoned argument with “Jane, you ignorant slut.”
I don’t know how old either of those two gentlemen are, (although I heard a rumor that TBogg may be up for his learners permit any day now), but I apologize if the cultural reference was a little dated. Of course I don’t know if Hamsher is a slut or not. However, “ignorant” fits her to a tee as most reasonable people would agree.