Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jungle Jitters

Perhaps you may have noticed that Kate has this oh-so-clever new feature over at her place called “Frankly My Dear” which spotlights certain “banned” cartoons from past eras that are… how shall we say… um, “politically incorrect.” In other words, they feature blatant racial stereotypes that were entirely typical of attitudes prevalent sixty or seventy years ago.

I’m not quite sure what “point” she’s attempting to make here. Like you I would imagine, I can most certainly appreciate these cartoons for their relative artistic/creative merits (which are pretty damn considerable — come on… Tex Avery: indisputably brilliant!), while at the same time discounting the obnoxious racial prejudice involved by taking into account the appropriate historical context and all that sociological rot. But do these rather bizarre curiosities from the past really have any place in the present-day political discourse other than as cultural detritus or artifacts of bygone times that, let’s face it, were rather tragically unenlightened with regards to matters of race and ethnicity?

Far be it for me to impute the worst sorts of motives to Kate’s endevour, but I can’t help but think that it’s little more than an attempt to be provocative, and a rather “forced” one at that. Certainly it affords the teeming horde of flying monkeys yet another opportunity to expound ad nausea about the evils of “political correctness” and serves as a handy launch pad for all manner of attacks against the evil cultural perfidy of the sinister “liberal élites” and their grinding, jack-boot clad Stalinist oppression, blah, blah, blah. But I don’t know… it all seems a bit silly to me. Frankly, I don’t really give a damn either, but when you deliberately go out of your way in such a painfully obvious fashion to make an “issue” out of it… well, then maybe I should.