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Your opinions please: Should Disney re-release "Song of the South"?

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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:47 PM
Original message
Your opinions please: Should Disney re-release "Song of the South"?
Walt Disney Co. is considering releasing on video its 1946 movie Song of the South, a landmark film long criticized as racist for its depiction of Southern plantation blacks. Is the time right to release this film, or should Uncle Remus, Brer Bear and Brer Rabbit remain hidden in Disneys archives?

the conversation has turned into an all-out war:

http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/accessatl...

Me, personally? I really don't have a problem with releasing it.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. I didn't want my kids to see it when they were little
but it seems like that should be a parental choice.
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wildhorses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. --
:popcorn:
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. I saw this as a kid in the 70's
Not sure how. It is the same version that spawned "Zip a dee doo da" right? When was it banned supposedly?
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. I kinda like that song
:)
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
4. ok wit' me, boss. jes don't throw me in dat briar patch!
:hi:
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. I saw if they can re-release Gone with the Wind
and Birth of a Nation, what harm could some cartoon critters do? :shrug:
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. yes.. exactly...
BTW, did they really re-release Birth of a Nation? That seems significantly more controversial than Song of the South... :shrug:
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. maybe "re" release is the wrong word
I do know that the movie can be bought in certain places

:hi:
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. it's online on the second life virtual world
in a "cult cinema" theatre. You can watch about 70 full movies for free. "Birth of a nation" is on there too.
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. The parables are an important piece of culture...
which needs to be preserved and enjoyed by future generations, do children read the Uncle Remus books anymore? I loved them!

On the other hand, as I recall, the whole thing was set in this dreamy southern plantation world where everybody was jolly and happy, and the darkies knew their place. It's just as important that future generations understand this aspect of it as well.
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Uncle Roy Donating Member (283 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. YES! I saw it in the mid-50s as a 6-year-old and some of those teaching stories are with me still.
"The Tar Baby" is in the news lately, in the usual destructive political way, but I remember it as a wonderful lesson, warning us about certain kinds of situations we'll encounter in life, and the lesson is with me still, and just as valuable.

I also learned a lot from Brer Rabbit begging not to be thrown in the briar patch.

These are sophisticated stories. They contain a lot of wisdom. I'd love to see that movie again.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. why not?
i saw it in the mid fifties and it did`t warp my view of the world around me...
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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
5. i don't really think that anything, no matter how offensive, should ever "remain hidden"
whether it be the Song of the South or Mein Kampf, these things exist for better or worse, and just putting them away doesn't mean that the very real problems in our societies that inspired these works will suddenly disappear too. i think it's important to see these things for what they are and hopefully even spark discussion about the roots of these issues.

i say print it.
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sammythecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. Can't answer. Never saw it, but it's a beautiful title
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
8. nope.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. Yes... of course they should...imo
I believe that parents should use the opportunity to discuss the issues with the movie in the context of the time it was made, just as they should with some of the more controversial aspects of Gone With the Wind and other films that relay both racial and gender stereotypes, biases and inaccuracies.
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I liked it as a kid
and It didn't make me a bigot by any means. Call me crazy I've always been able to distinguish between movie fantasy and real reality.
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QMPMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
11. Well, if they re-release it, it would be a wonderful teaching
opportunity. What is that saying, "Those who remain ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it?" (Or something like that.)

If it's re-released, I'd buy it. I love the music.

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liberaltrucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
14. Yes, but DVD only
As a white Southerner, it was a staple. As a child, I enjoyed the film.
But, as I matured, the racism became evident. As a work of art SOTS is
very good. As social commentary, it sucks. Release the DVD and let the
marketplace decide. Could very well be DisCo's first commercial flop.
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Could be...
it was originally marketed for children, and of course, children don't see racism or social commentary where adults do, so I might have totally different feelings watching it as an adult.

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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
15. I loved that movie as a kid...
and would love to see it again. Why not use it as a teachable moment for children of all races?
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liberaltrucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. Hear, hear
I didn't think of that.

:toast:
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
17. Yes, they should. n/t
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seemunkee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
20. I would buy it
I love the Brer Rabbit stories. I bought a reproduction of the original Joel Chandler Harris book and read it to my kids when they were little, along with folk tales from all over the world. It was a great intro to learning about other cultures, the good aspects and the bad.
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LunaSea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
21. Hidden?
It's regularly up on ebay in a couple of formats.
Dozens of torrents available online too, often listed as "banned in the US".

Was it really banned? By whom?
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. dunno
all I know is what I put in the op, which I got fromt the AJC.
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. Disney puts their original classic movies in a "vault"...
they re-release them for a limited time, then they put them back into the "vault".
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asthmaticeog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
24. Funny, I was just reading about this a couple of hours ago.
Edited on Wed Mar-28-07 07:13 PM by asthmaticeog
I think it should be re-released. From where I sit (which I'll grant may not be the ideal perch) there wasn't that much objectionable about it. It's like how the Our Gang shorts got buried: yeah, the stereotyping (Buckwheat - oy, vey) looks pretty horrible to our 21st century eyes, but it had kids of different races playing together and it was portrayed as no big deal to them, and this in the 1920s and '30s! How is this so bad?

But as to the Remus character, as stereotypes go, he seems, from the clips I've seen, more like a goofy stereotype I'd roll my eyes at than a hateful one I'd get upset about. YMMV. And anyway, he's the hero of the film and a stable role-model for a white kid whose father abandoned the family. I just don't get what the problem is. I could be wrong, and I'm willing to hear the other side with an open mind, but from what I've seen of it, just fucking let it out already.

Edit: grammar
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
27. The Best Picture winner "Cimerron" (1931)
has a depiction of African-Americans that is so vile my jaw dropped to the floor while I was watching it.

One of the Marx Brothers movies (A Day at the Races) has a musical sequence that most people today would find horribly offensive.

I would never want these or any other movie banned (although I won't hesitate to point out that Cimerron really sucks). They are documents of their times, and as such, are useful in showing us how far we've come in so little time - and a reminder of how quickly we could slip back.

As for Song of the South, I saw it in the movie theater when I was about 8, and I remember loving the character of Uncle Remus. My father is a cold man and I was always looking to movie substitute father-figures to make me feel like I had some worth. That said, I believe that my 39-year-old self would almost certainly find the film racist today. And that's the important point: it's a discussion still worth having - between me and myself, and between all of us.

I think they should release it.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #27
36. In "An Affair to Remember" there's a scene with a bunch of children singing
and in the middle of the group of kids is like, a total stereotypical "Buckwheat" kid. My friend and I just CRINGED. x(

We've come a really long way.
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Left Is Write Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #27
37. I saw it in the theater too, and I'm only a shade older than you are.
There must have been a mid-70's theatrical re-release.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
28. Yeah, I think so. I saw it as a kid and loved it.
Of course I was a middle-class white kid in the 40s in segregated Birmingham, Alabama.
So I guess you'd have to consider the source on this one.

I've come a long, LONG way since then.
Spent most of my adult life with a major corporation in the north and northeast. Traveled and worked (and lived for short periods of time) all over the world.

SOTS was a product of its time. Mark Twain had Nigger Jim and Disney had this.
OK, I don't put Disney in the same literary class as Twain, but they both reflected the times.

SOTS does paint a very benign picture of slave life.
But not, I think, a 'racist' one in that it puts blacks down.
In fact, Uncle Remus is the wise old man who imparts some of his wisdom to the little white boy in the forms of fables.

He's a teacher.
And the lessons he teaches are well worth learning.
Pride goeth before a fall.
Don't get too big for your britches.
Clever can beat brute strength.
It's cool to be smart.

Besides all that...the songs and the animation combined with live action are (IMHO) charming.
I could sing 'Zippity Doo Da' to you now.
And 'How Do You Do?'.
The lyrics to 'Everybody Has A Laughin' Place' seem particularly poignant today.
http://www.songofthesouth.net/movie/lyrics/index.html

My 35 year old daughter saw it on TV when she was a kid.
A few months ago she was trying to find it for our grandson and couldn't.

Try not to read too much 'social conciousness' into a movie made over 60 years ago.
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RFKHumphreyObama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
29. Here's a brief overview of the controversy surrounding the issue
For those who don't know what it is about -which included me before I did some research
http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/sots.htm
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #29
38. Yes. Hiding or repressing controversy does no one any good.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #29
39. Thanks for that....
It does help to understand the controversy... The issues were emblematic of the time in which the movie was made (1946); fortunately the world that would think nothing of depicting African Americans in that way-- during that time-- is one of the past... The lessons remain, however, and I think NEED to be shared with our children.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
30. Yes, they should
everything should be out in the open. It doesn't do any good to put it away, then wonder several decades later when it's "resdiscovered" why no one understands it.

I think someone could do a very find graduate thesis on the Uncle Remus tales and put them in their proper context within American folklore, where they belong.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #30
35. Apparently a lot of the Brer Rabbit fables have African roots
but they're just as much a part of African American culture as gospel, blues, jazz, and many other homegrown arts.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
31. My parents used that movie to teach us about the inequalities
Edited on Wed Mar-28-07 07:22 PM by merh
and what was wrong about the "Old South". They explained to us the messages in the parables and how the glitter and glamour of that movie was just make believe. As a southerner, there are parts of our heritage we are not proud of, but they are a part of who we are, remembering them helps us apprciate how far we have come and makes us work that much harder to get past the image the rest of the nation has of the south. We still have a ways to go and I'd say over the last 7 years (this admin's fault) we have regressed, but I'm not giving up and I watched that movie as a kid. I loved it. I can still sing just about every word to "ZippityDodah"
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poiuytsister Donating Member (591 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
33. Absolutely! I hate censorship almost as much as I hate rascism.
Poiuyt and I were discussing this movie 2 days ago. Like everything in the world parents must use judgement with small children. I love it.
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philosophie_en_rose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
34. It depends on how it's released.
Edited on Wed Mar-28-07 08:11 PM by philosophie_en_rose
I think it's fine to release it, but not as any other movie. Maybe along with a documentary or something that can put it in context. It illustrates some truly racist ideas, which should at least be accompanied by a commentary track or some literature.

I suppose I don't agree with forcing Disney to ban it, but I don't think Disney has an obligation to release it either. In any case, I hope Disney is socially responsible about any kind of release.

Could you imagine Song of the South advertised as any other "Disney DVD" release? Or as Happy Meal toys? :eyes:
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deadparrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
41. Sure.
I'm for freedom of information. This kind of goes along with the whole book-burning thing. Hiding the stuff away or banning it isn't going to make it any less real. I've never seen SotS, but regardless of whether or not it's racist (and I suspect that to some degree it is), it's a part of American cultural and film history and should be available for public viewing.
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MrSlayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-28-07 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
42. Absolutely. There is nothing wrong with it.
I have the British import version and my family loves it. The kids' favorite character is Uncle Remus, after Brer Rabbit of course.
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