Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday morning free-association

Lovely quiet weekend: Mojo slept in, Peep and I went off to Starbucks for our coffee-and-milk and pastries. Cleaning, laundry, a little home improvement. The biggest excitement was a double-bill of action;
1. We found a new Diego adventure at "the movie store" and celebrated by watching "The Tapir Adventure", like, six times.

2. We all held down Fat Nitty Kitty (who had gone to the vet in a pillowcase; yes, I know, but we're cheap and we only have one cat-carrier and Lily, who is a total freak about the vet gets that) and I got out the fabric shears and cut out the little matted fur-and-dirt tags she gets on her furry black cat ass.
Euuugh. She wailed and tried to scratch, after which the ungrateful beast disappeared for the rest of the day.

Here's Shea with his new blanket: Mojo is trying to fit the bright orange blanket binding (not yet in picture) while Fireman Peep guns for me with his shoot-the-ping-pong-ball firetruck. "Shoot the ping-pong ball? Huh? Oh, well...go figure...

Mojo sewed a beautiful cover for the Ikea chair..and – only seventeen more days until the Portland IKEA store opens…seventeen more days…only seventeen more days…

Brazil wakes up and looks around for some more South American booty to kick in Copa America 2007. Mojo and the Peep go to the pool on Sunday so I can watch Argentina pound Peru: the Argies v. Mexico on Wednesday should be a terrific game.

The 2007 Tour de France kicks off with a couple of incredible sprints: Fabian Cancellara of Team CSC blows away the peleton with his monstrous Swiss ass-kicking in London; then Robbie McEwen proves that he is, in fact, the fastest man in Le Tour by getting up off the pavement to win Stage 1 in Canterbury. Great coverage at Versus or here at Steve Gilliard’s Group NewsBlog site. Vive le Tour!

I love old movies: if I had to spend a month on a desert island with only one website to read every day I'd probably choose the Self-Styled Siren. I get as big a kick out of Lombard, Tracy and Hepburn, George Cukor and John Ford as I do out of anything coming out of Hollywood today.

So it wasn't exactly a surprise that Mojo and I watched "Road Show" on TCM Saturday evening. What's not to like? Adolphe Menjou as the goofy "Colonel Carroway"? The lovely and tragic Carole Landis as - wait for it - "Penguin" Moore? Patsy Kelly (the Rosie O'Donnell of her day) as the "comic sidekick" Jinx? Lots of outstanding Hal Roach slapstick?
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The surprising bit came right near the end of the film, when the "Colonel" directs Penguin's traveling carnie to his eccentrive nephew's estate. He directs the carnies to loot the produce from the fields, which the starving carnies ("Penguin" appears to be better at filling out a blouse than filling a Big Top) gleefully do. Right in the middle of this, with the rapacious hordes racing about, the Colonel beckons to a handful of black carnies. "The watermelons are over there, boys..." he says, at which point they scamper off in a lather of bug-eyed Samboesque excitement.
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There's more of this stuff: cowardly "darkies" terrified of the carnie lions; another black actor stealing chickens...I know, I know, this was standard fare for the 30s and 40s. Still. Mojo and I did a "take" at the screen and burst out in horrified laughter. I'm talking total "WTF?" moment. Peeper was actually angry that we were "laughing at people" - we've told him that it's not nice to mock people by laughing at them (rather than with them). Wow.
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When I read the news sometimes I despair that people seem insistant on repeating he same stupid thing over and over. It takes something like "Road Show" to put this in perspective. Yes, we're still pretty fucked up about race. Yes, we could be doing more. But no, we don't have the pop culture image of cowardly, chicken-stealing, watermelon-gobbling darkies any more. Americans in general don't expect to see that stereotype as a casual gag in a B-picture any more. A lot of the world still "enjoys" a casual, everyday, offhand racism. We've managed to make the whole notion as wierd and as improbable as Morris dancing. And that, my friends, is a very Good Thing.

3 comments:

walternatives said...

Darling self-portrait of you and the Peep. I'm very impressed with Mojo's sewing skills and the fabric for the P's new blanket.

Campaspe said...

Why, thank you very, very, very much. I have been back-reading your blog, and offer my warmest congratulations on your impending adoption. Your family is going to overweight the cuteness scales something terrible.

atomic mama said...

Morris dancing weird and improbable?? Blasphemy!