Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm almost ready for my trip, and getting more excited every day. I've been shopping for new walking shoes. There's nothing wrong with the ones I have and I couldn't find any I like any better, so I'll just take the old ones. At least they're broken in. Why can't somebody design comfortable shoes that aren't so plain and ugly? Betsy is lending me her luggage, mine no longer rolls, too old. Glad I didn't have to buy new.

She also told me that Brian and girlfriend Jordan were here this week on their way to California. They somehow acquired an old Volvo station wagon and were camping in that at May's Lake. He called me on Weds. night wanting me to go across the street to see if his mom and dad were at home, they weren't answering the phone. I told him I'd already gone to bed. I did get up and make sure all my doors were locked. Unless Brian is in town, I don't worry about that much, but he wouldn't think twice about breaking into my house or hers and taking whatever he thought he could pawn. If he had to pick the lock, the dogs would hear him. I really hoped this nephew would have grown up by now, but he still seems to be expecting others to pay his way. Usually when he leaves Maine and comes South, he's trying to outrun a warrant for his arrest.

I saw my other nephew on Thursday. Vance, Bethany and baby Harlee were going into Target as I was coming out. I told them I was painting a rocker for Harlee. Maybe by the time she's old enough to use it, I'll be finished with it. Their nursery is decorated in a "Song of the South" theme. I'm planning to put "Zippity-Do-Dah, Zippity-Aye, my, oh my, what a wonderful day" across the back of it. I'd like to find a little blue bird to attach to the back also. The baby's hair looks like she stuck her finger in a light socket. She's so tiny and sooooooo cute.


Zoilus said...

Song of the South? What's next? Decorating the bathroom with Birth of a Nation memorabilia?

"But the film was controversial from the outset. Many saw Remus no less harmful a stereotype than the black looters and rapists in The Birth of a Nation 30 years earlier.

One critic called Remus "the sweetest and most wistful darky slave that ever stepped out of a sublimely unreconstructed fancy of the Old South", while protesters picketed cinemas with placards declaring: "We fought for Uncle Sam, not Uncle Tom." It also seems patronising to give Baskett a special Oscar rather than nominate him as best actor.

Now Disney itself seems to have become a little embarrassed by its creation. For years, it seemed happy to ignore detractors and cash in on Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus's huge popularity, but society has become increasingly sensitive to racial stereotyping. Although video proved a goldmine for Disney, Song of the South is the one major title never released in the US.

It was available in the UK, but Disney took action to stop the resale of British videos in the US and ultimately withdrew the film here as well. A spokesman insisted the deletion was part of a natural cycle, while at the same time maintaining: "We are a global brand, so there has to be consistency across the brand." Copies of the British video now sell on the internet for around £50 a time.

But a backlash has begun. A petition demanding the film's release in the US has attracted more than 30,000 names. Supporters are organising through internet forums and websites, like and

Both have direct links to, which may help explain why Brer Rabbit is more popular than Mickey Mouse, and Song of the South ranks above Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

"For me, it's pretty much about childhood memories," says Christian Willis, who runs the website. A 22-year-old computer maintenance engineer from California, he has almost 400 Song of the South memorabilia items.

He admits the film now has the added attraction for some of "forbidden fruit".

"A lot of people think the depiction of the African-Americans is racist . . . and they say that it's historically inaccurate, how they act and that sort of thing - they sing when they go to work and they seem happy." The same could be said, of course, about the dwarves in Snow White, though mining was a gruelling, dirty occupation with a high fatality rate, with no reason for songs and jest.

"It's not necessarily historically accurate," says Willis almost apologetically. "It's a story."

The campaign and continuing ban has stirred up controversy. Todd Boyd, a professor at the USC film school, and an African-American, recently branded the film "racist" in the LA Times, complaining Remus reaffirmed the stereotype of "happy-go-lucky, passive, carefree, and non-threatening" slaves."

C. J. Garrett said...

Well thanks, Son, I did not realize we were so politically incorrect. That was one of your mom's favorite songs as a child, obviously before she learned to spell. I had no idea there was such a controversy regarding all this. Just consider the times, my boy, the times, they are a changing...

Zoilus said...

It's not a matter of being politically incorrect, Mom (whatever that phrase once meant has long since lost its meaning, in my opinion); it's a matter of perpetuating stereotypical views of a group of people. It has always been wrong, is wrong today, and will always be wrong to those who bear the brunt of the unfair caricature.

The music, fine. The movie's content, however, is a part of the moonlight and magnolia tradition that we southerners should never long for.

Sermon over. Amen.

C. J. Garrett said...

AMEN! Well said. I still like the song, though.

Zoilus said...

Well, I still like "Dixie" even though I realize it was used to intimidate and harrass many during the civil rights struggle. I think we have to realize and acknowledge oppression in its many guises, no matter how our personal ideologies may manifest themselves. I think it's fine to have personal preferences, likes, tastes (and who could argue against such a position), but also our responsibility to recognize the role a song, movie, or literary character has played in perpetuating unfair generalizations.

Benediction over. Amen.