Mar 9, 2011

Political Correctness--what's that?

"Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs"--This war-time animation from 1943 directed by Bob Clampett is truly an internet gem. There's hardly an animated short film on the internet that is as racist as this one, which is also why UPA added it to its notorious list of offensive shorts banned from being broadcast, the Censored Eleven (1968).

Without meaning to defend this cartoon's potentially offensive content, I think it's important to acknowledge the context in which films of this sort were produced. A large number of animated shorts you'll find from this era were highly propagandistic and heavily relied on stereotypes to create characters. It's not that these animations tried to vilify a certain group of people; they simply employed what must have been the cinematic vocabulary of this time. Of course, to many of us who have grown accustomed to this notion of political correctness, these cartoons leave us flabbergasted.

For some reason, I can't help but laugh at some of the things that come up in this cartoon. It really is hilarious, although I am probably not laughing at the same jokes Clampett had intended. With cartoons of this extremity, it really makes no sense to look at them without some sense of humor.

Anyway, I will say no more. Have a look and judge for yourself:

--post by Erik

No comments:

Post a Comment