Shameful Animation


Years ago, I went to go see Spike Lee talk about his then-new movie Bamboozled at a campus forum, and I was stunned to hear about how he had planned on using animation in the film. While I have yet to see the movie (and I think there is a section in the film full of outrageously racist clips that were once aired on mainstream television), he talked about trying to get the rights to use a number of popular cartoons in his flick. In fact, he'd pleaded with the folks at Warner Brothers to let him incorporate old clips of Bugs Bunny in blackface, but for obvious reasons he had no luck: those sorts of films are stuck in heavily guarded vaults, if they haven't been already destroyed.
Or so I thought. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, my friend just ordered a set of them online (they're available here), and because I'm thoroughly curious how far companies and cartoonists went, I'm planning on joining him for an animation fest. Of course, I'm already prepared to be outraged. With titles like, Half-pint Pygmy,
Mickey in Arabia, You're a Sap, Mr. Jap, Uncle Tom's Bungalow and Rhythm on the Reservation, all teamed up with the Flintstones' Winston commercial, it seems like there's plenty in the mix to offend people of every race and culture. On the other hand, viewing something like this every once in a while might end up serving as a nice reminder of how far we truly have come in the last 70 years.