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(Slate)   The hidden history of Disney's infamous Song of the South   (slate.com) divider line 146
    More: Interesting, Song of the South, Disney, souths, Fantasia, Clark Gable, movie screens, Walt Whitman, roadrunner  
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10836 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 05 Jan 2013 at 6:20 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-05 09:33:17 PM

Zombie Butler: Mugato: SkerriNinja: titwrench: Mugato: Isn't their Splash Mountain ride based on Song of the South?

Yes and I recommend about 3-4 hits of LSD before you ride it. Phenomenal.

As someone who just got back from Disney, and witnessed a dude freaking out on mushrooms, I'm getting a kick...

Seriously. Dude's girlfriend said they both ate the mushrooms, but he "finished the bag". My husband, an EMT, stopped to check him out since Disney sent one security guard to find out what the disturbance was all about. We both initially thought it was a behavioral disorder, because he started barking and screaming and grabbing his head over and over.

/meh story, I know.

That ride seems to attract trouble. My girlfriend flashed the camera that takes your picture at the end of the ride. We were met by scary security guard guys and severely warned. I suppose they could have had her arrested if they wanted.

No man they were just scoping her out for the next Disney teen idol.

I keed I keed


Well she's 27 so I doubt it.
 
2013-01-05 09:35:30 PM

stoli n coke: hbk72777: "We're through with caviar," Walt Disney lamented. "From now on it's mashed potatoes and gravy." The company that bore his name was reeling from the disappointing box office returns of Pinocchio and Fantasia."

So people even back then knew Fantasia sucked?


Yep. I don't think Fantasia made a profit until it was re-released in the 60s and 70s to a much larger, much more stoned audience.
Drugs brought that movie out of the red.


Yeah, Fantasia was a complete failure as a full length theatrical film. Walt wanted all kinds of bizarre things to be done during the showings... including throwing water on the audience during the well known Sorcerer's Apprentice scene. It was never done as he wanted, and even if it had been it wouldn't have helped. Some of that kind of immersive experience has been used in other Disney theme park attractions (It's Tough to Be a Bug at Animal Kingdom is a pretty good example of this kind of thing).

Fantasia's scenes are neat on their own, but it's a bit much to put all together and watch all at once.
 
2013-01-05 09:36:02 PM
i48.tinypic.com
 
2013-01-05 09:45:39 PM
mmmm Annette
 
2013-01-05 09:50:47 PM

twotowner: I think Disney should release the movie, and then donate a majority of the profits to the United Negro College Fund. That way, a good cause is supported, people get to judge the film for themselves, and any redneck racists considering buying it to affirm their worldview will have to decide if it is worth "edjoocatin' darkies" to do so.


I agree that they should release it, but even if it's to donate the profits to something like the United Negro College Fund, they aren't going to do it because they don't want the public to be reminded of just how racist the film is. I just finished watching it and it's offensive on so many levels, far worse than anything I'd read about it had made it out to be. The fact that Disney last released it in theaters in the US in 1986 looks really bad for Disney. Even if I think it should be available, showing it in theaters to young children as late as 1986, with no apparent concern at the time for putting it in context of a more racist past is not something that Disney wants people to remember they did. If they hadn't shown it after the 1950s, they could write it off as a product of a more ignorant past that they'd decided to keep in the vaults when they became enlightened by the civil rights movement, but given the history of screenings into the mid-80s and releases overseas much after that, the negative PR when people see it and see just how racist it is isn't something Disney is ever going to allow.
 
2013-01-05 10:35:52 PM
TFA: "The whole film is like a test run for the immersive theme parks that Disney would eventually destroy acres of forest to build."

Really? Was Anaheim/1955 forested? I thought it was commercial orange groves...

What about Greater Orlando a dozen years later--can those of you from from these locales testify?

*****************************

/very, very tired of academic grousing and "layered readings" re Disney, past and present. Have any of you ever listened to any dry-as-dust conference papers about this?
 
2013-01-05 10:41:04 PM
They forgot the biggest secret of Song Of The South...

It is REALLY boring. The parts you fondly remember are a handful of songs. The rest is incredibly snooze inducing.
 
2013-01-05 10:44:25 PM

GrizzledVeteran: TFA: "The whole film is like a test run for the immersive theme parks that Disney would eventually destroy acres of forest to build."

Really? Was Anaheim/1955 forested? I thought it was commercial orange groves...

What about Greater Orlando a dozen years later--can those of you from from these locales testify?

*****************************

/very, very tired of academic grousing and "layered readings" re Disney, past and present. Have any of you ever listened to any dry-as-dust conference papers about this?


I was told by someone whose grandfather owned the land where the Cinderella Castle is now that it was her grandfather's prime deer hunting land before Walt came in and bought up everything. So yeah, I'd say that the area where Disney World is now was once forested, as much of the undeveloped land in central Florida still is.
 
2013-01-05 10:48:38 PM

GrizzledVeteran: TFA: "The whole film is like a test run for the immersive theme parks that Disney would eventually destroy acres of forest to build."

Really? Was Anaheim/1955 forested? I thought it was commercial orange groves...

What about Greater Orlando a dozen years later--can those of you from from these locales testify?

*****************************

/very, very tired of academic grousing and "layered readings" re Disney, past and present. Have any of you ever listened to any dry-as-dust conference papers about this?


Disneyworld was a mix of swamp and cattle land in the middle of nowhere. Not even that many citrus groves to contend with.
 
2013-01-05 11:06:34 PM

The All-Powerful Atheismo: MaudlinMutantMollusk: I downloaded it as a zip-a-dee-doo-da file

That's a rar find


These puns are awful, you both should be tarred.
 
2013-01-05 11:10:47 PM

rynthetyn: twotowner: I think Disney should release the movie, and then donate a majority of the profits to the United Negro College Fund. That way, a good cause is supported, people get to judge the film for themselves, and any redneck racists considering buying it to affirm their worldview will have to decide if it is worth "edjoocatin' darkies" to do so.

I agree that they should release it, but even if it's to donate the profits to something like the United Negro College Fund, they aren't going to do it because they don't want the public to be reminded of just how racist the film is. I just finished watching it and it's offensive on so many levels, far worse than anything I'd read about it had made it out to be. The fact that Disney last released it in theaters in the US in 1986 looks really bad for Disney. Even if I think it should be available, showing it in theaters to young children as late as 1986, with no apparent concern at the time for putting it in context of a more racist past is not something that Disney wants people to remember they did. If they hadn't shown it after the 1950s, they could write it off as a product of a more ignorant past that they'd decided to keep in the vaults when they became enlightened by the civil rights movement, but given the history of screenings into the mid-80s and releases overseas much after that, the negative PR when people see it and see just how racist it is isn't something Disney is ever going to allow.


They could release it on DVD only, have the full movie on one disc and have a second DVD talking about the context of the film, get a bunch of black actors, different historians, some writers and artists from that time(if any are alive) and get Ken Burns to direct it all talking about how racism has changed over the last fifty years in America.
 
2013-01-05 11:13:32 PM

rynthetyn: I love that bittorrent is keeping Disney from burying the racist parts of their past completely.


I think it's more an FU to Jesse Jackson.
 
2013-01-05 11:43:06 PM
When I watch Song of the South I usually stop it before the last few scenes and watch the ending of Goodbye Uncle Tom. I think it makes it for a better viewing experience.

/Now that... has to be obscure.
 
2013-01-05 11:50:32 PM
When I was a kid, I had a 45 with "Little Black Sambo" on one side and "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" on the other. I think I was two years old or so. I knew just enough to put the needle on the outside of the record and then move to a clear spot on the floor to sing and dance. Family history has it that I literally wore the grooves off both sides of the record and drove my parents to swear they would shoot the composer of the songs in the knees if they ever had the pleasure of meeting him while armed.

(I thought they were joking- until I had a two year old of my own who learned how to rewind the VCR to the place where "Under the Sea" started.)
 
2013-01-06 12:09:02 AM
This thread makes me wonder: At what point does a movie stop being a "cult film" or a "secret" and become acknowledged as popular? Mind you, I wouldn't call Song of the South "popular", per se. But its existence is certainly no secret, and (as others have mentioned upthread) thanks to online piracy it is extremely easy to find and view if you are so inclined. I guess I'm thinking more of movies like Office Space and The Princess Bride- ones that everybody and their grandmother has seen but are still somehow "cult classics".

As for why Disney doesn't release Song of the South, my take is that it's like the USA's relationship with Cuba. There's really no reason to keep the embargo going, but the powers that be would look like idiots if the embargo was lifted tomorrow. Since it isn't a really huge deal and nobody wants egg on their face, things just stay the same.
 
2013-01-06 12:11:28 AM
APPROVES!!!

/great parody
//one of the few highlights from the film
 
2013-01-06 12:13:24 AM
The larger issue is that in a pluralistic society some small number of people feel it's their job to censor content for other members of that society wherein we're presumed free and equal.

If I'm going to offended then I have to see it to make that determination for myself.
 
2013-01-06 12:16:39 AM

Actor_au: rynthetyn: twotowner: I think Disney should release the movie, and then donate a majority of the profits to the United Negro College Fund. That way, a good cause is supported, people get to judge the film for themselves, and any redneck racists considering buying it to affirm their worldview will have to decide if it is worth "edjoocatin' darkies" to do so.

I agree that they should release it, but even if it's to donate the profits to something like the United Negro College Fund, they aren't going to do it because they don't want the public to be reminded of just how racist the film is. I just finished watching it and it's offensive on so many levels, far worse than anything I'd read about it had made it out to be. The fact that Disney last released it in theaters in the US in 1986 looks really bad for Disney. Even if I think it should be available, showing it in theaters to young children as late as 1986, with no apparent concern at the time for putting it in context of a more racist past is not something that Disney wants people to remember they did. If they hadn't shown it after the 1950s, they could write it off as a product of a more ignorant past that they'd decided to keep in the vaults when they became enlightened by the civil rights movement, but given the history of screenings into the mid-80s and releases overseas much after that, the negative PR when people see it and see just how racist it is isn't something Disney is ever going to allow.

They could release it on DVD only, have the full movie on one disc and have a second DVD talking about the context of the film, get a bunch of black actors, different historians, some writers and artists from that time(if any are alive) and get Ken Burns to direct it all talking about how racism has changed over the last fifty years in America.


Or they can save the trouble on such an unprofitable venture and not release it at all.
 
2013-01-06 12:16:44 AM
5 min 10 sec remaining
701.9k/sec

We'll see just how racist this is...

...

*ding*

*launches VLC*

Oh...oh dear.
 
2013-01-06 12:18:08 AM
Dude, Song of the South is a good movie. It's fun, entertaining and my family loves it. Lighten up people no harm intended - and if you think there was then you need to stop walking funny and get that 3 ton chip off your shoulder. You obviously are missing the point of the story.
 
2013-01-06 12:22:24 AM

lohphat: The larger issue is that in a pluralistic society some small number of people feel it's their job to censor content for other members of that society wherein we're presumed free and equal.

If I'm going to offended then I have to see it to make that determination for myself.


Nobody is censoring content, the movie is readily available. Disney just won't release it on DVD in the US, which is well within their rights as copyright holders to control how their copyrighted work is accessed. There are a lot of films that the studios who own them don't release for home viewing for all sorts of reasons.
 
2013-01-06 12:23:11 AM

Whiteston: Dude, Song of the South is a good movie. It's fun, entertaining and my family loves it. Lighten up people no harm intended - and if you think there was then you need to stop walking funny and get that 3 ton chip off your shoulder. You obviously are missing the point of the story.


You probably say the same thing about minstrel shows.
 
2013-01-06 12:39:39 AM

titwrench: Mugato: Isn't their Splash Mountain ride based on Song of the South?

Yes and I recommend about 3-4 hits of LSD before you ride it. Phenomenal.


Dropped acid at Disneyland twice in the past. I think we did Space Mountain like 5 times.
 
2013-01-06 12:56:59 AM

rynthetyn: lohphat: The larger issue is that in a pluralistic society some small number of people feel it's their job to censor content for other members of that society wherein we're presumed free and equal.

If I'm going to offended then I have to see it to make that determination for myself.

Nobody is censoring content, the movie is readily available. Disney just won't release it on DVD in the US, which is well within their rights as copyright holders to control how their copyrighted work is accessed. There are a lot of films that the studios who own them don't release for home viewing for all sorts of reasons.


They're not releasing it because of bullying by those who don't like it and are thus chilling the free flow of legal but uncomfortable content for others to judge for themselves.
 
2013-01-06 01:02:25 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: lohphat: The larger issue is that in a pluralistic society some small number of people feel it's their job to censor content for other members of that society wherein we're presumed free and equal.

If I'm going to offended then I have to see it to make that determination for myself.

Nobody is censoring content, the movie is readily available. Disney just won't release it on DVD in the US, which is well within their rights as copyright holders to control how their copyrighted work is accessed. There are a lot of films that the studios who own them don't release for home viewing for all sorts of reasons.

They're not releasing it because of bullying by those who don't like it and are thus chilling the free flow of legal but uncomfortable content for others to judge for themselves.


And you reach that conclusion how? There have been tons of people asking them to release it for years and yet they still won't. I don't think they ever will, but not because of bullying, because they'd rather have people retain fond memories of a movie they loved as children than to have people watch it and realize that Disney made such a racist film and kept releasing it to theaters as late as 1986. It doesn't look good for Disney if people suddenly realize that one of the best known rides at their theme parks is based on what's essentially a minstrel show.
 
2013-01-06 01:06:45 AM
So... This may be a stupid question and a little unrelated, but it's close enough... Why is "Tar Baby" considered a slur?
 
2013-01-06 01:23:48 AM

rynthetyn: And you reach that conclusion how? There have been tons of people asking them to release it for years and yet they still won't.


Economics. They can't afford not to be PC and offend people.

A free society is not about protecting sensibilities.
 
2013-01-06 01:24:48 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: And you reach that conclusion how? There have been tons of people asking them to release it for years and yet they still won't.

Economics. They can't afford not to be PC and offend people.

A free society is not about protecting sensibilities.


So in your world, responding to market forces is not part of a free society? Adorable.
 
2013-01-06 01:25:29 AM

rynthetyn: Whiteston: Dude, Song of the South is a good movie. It's fun, entertaining and my family loves it. Lighten up people no harm intended - and if you think there was then you need to stop walking funny and get that 3 ton chip off your shoulder. You obviously are missing the point of the story.

You probably say the same thing about minstrel shows.


Link

Brand-name negroes
 
2013-01-06 01:29:45 AM

rynthetyn: lohphat: rynthetyn: And you reach that conclusion how? There have been tons of people asking them to release it for years and yet they still won't.

Economics. They can't afford not to be PC and offend people.

A free society is not about protecting sensibilities.

So in your world, responding to market forces is not part of a free society? Adorable.


There's a difference between "market forces" and bullied by vocal gadflies.
 
2013-01-06 01:35:10 AM

farkingismybusiness: I don't know much about it because I guess I'm too young. I'm more from the Reading Rainbow (nsfw language) generation.


I was so sure that link was going to be this.
 
2013-01-06 01:36:16 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: lohphat: rynthetyn: And you reach that conclusion how? There have been tons of people asking them to release it for years and yet they still won't.

Economics. They can't afford not to be PC and offend people.

A free society is not about protecting sensibilities.

So in your world, responding to market forces is not part of a free society? Adorable.

There's a difference between "market forces" and bullied by vocal gadflies.


Nobody's telling Disney they can't release it. Disney doesn't want to release it because everybody will realize how absurdly racist the film was and Disney doesn't want to hurt their image. That's not bullying that's keeping it in the vault, it's Disney not wanting to spoil their precious image.
 
2013-01-06 01:37:53 AM

fusillade762: titwrench: Mugato: Isn't their Splash Mountain ride based on Song of the South?

Yes and I recommend about 3-4 hits of LSD before you ride it. Phenomenal.

Dropped acid at Disneyland twice in the past. I think we did Space Mountain like 5 times.


Damn. I don't think I could maintain the illusion at a place like that; I'd keep wondering what the point of it all was and how silly it seemed.

/sunset to sunrise on a beach in the summer
//it was full of stars
 
2013-01-06 01:41:47 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: lohphat: rynthetyn: And you reach that conclusion how? There have been tons of people asking them to release it for years and yet they still won't.

Economics. They can't afford not to be PC and offend people.

A free society is not about protecting sensibilities.

So in your world, responding to market forces is not part of a free society? Adorable.

There's a difference between "market forces" and bullied by vocal gadflies.


Boohoo, people are mean and call out a minstrel show when they see one. A free society allows that too.
 
2013-01-06 01:41:58 AM

rynthetyn: Disney doesn't want to release it because everybody will realize how absurdly racist the film was and Disney doesn't want to hurt their image.


Funny, you can get it in other countries from Disney distributors.

Racist? Perhaps. But we have no problem watching Gone with the Wind and other films depicting the same era without issue.

I feel that rap music is racist, reinforces stereotypes and mysogeny but I'm not telling people not to consume it or block the market via economic threats.
 
2013-01-06 01:47:59 AM
Whatever you do, do NOT watch the alternate history mockumentary, CSA: Confederate States of America.

Now THAT is an attempt to be as overtly trolly racist as possible.
 
2013-01-06 01:50:29 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: Disney doesn't want to release it because everybody will realize how absurdly racist the film was and Disney doesn't want to hurt their image.

Funny, you can get it in other countries from Disney distributors.

Racist? Perhaps. But we have no problem watching Gone with the Wind and other films depicting the same era without issue.

I feel that rap music is racist, reinforces stereotypes and mysogeny but I'm not telling people not to consume it or block the market via economic threats.


So what that you can get it in other countries. Until recently, companies could sell different versions of something abroad and it would never make its way back to the US. Other countries that don't have the same cultural and historical background as the US and thus don't realize just how absurdly racist the film is.

Disney isn't releasing it in the US because they don't want the US audience to see it and realize that they're all feeling nostalgia for a minstrel show. People realizing just how racist Disney used to be is bad for Disney's image, and that's the bottom line.
 
2013-01-06 01:51:45 AM

Need_MindBleach: farkingismybusiness: I don't know much about it because I guess I'm too young. I'm more from the Reading Rainbow (nsfw language) generation.

I was so sure that link was going to be this.


I found that video somehow while wasted lately. It was a stretch to link it here cause it's not really related in any form, but I just had to share that video. It cracks me up.

/your's is funny too
//I had black friends that played that song at parties. From what I remember it has a bunch more lyrics.
 
2013-01-06 01:52:02 AM

rynthetyn: don't realize just how absurdly racist the film is.


That's your opinion. Fine. But that's no reason to block unpopular content via economic threats in a free and pluralistic society.
 
2013-01-06 01:53:44 AM

blue_2501: MrEricSir: blue_2501: Considering how Disney is trying to sexualize its tween show stars

Right, teens never thought about sexuality until Disney came along. Perish the thought.

No, but Disney has made a science of handpicking the most "photogenic" teenagers possible, applying an unrealistic amount of makeup on them, and then ditching them when their (over)acting skills ends up not working out in the real world. Britney Spears? Lindsay Lohan? Amanda Bynes? That South Park skit about Mickey Mouse and the purity rings really captures exactly how Disney does business.

You honestly believe that Martin Martin guy is going to actually get any sort of acting gig outside of Disney? Real Hollywood hates that overacting bullshiat (as does most adults). They are profit generators... that's it.

Hell, the model is so successful that Nick is just following the handbook step-by-step. Even Cartoon Network is slowly turning into another Disney/Nick channel, with its crappy non-cartoon lineup.


Martin martin? Do you mean Marvin Marvin? That's on Nickelodeon.
 
2013-01-06 01:53:45 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: don't realize just how absurdly racist the film is.

That's your opinion. Fine. But that's no reason to block unpopular content via economic threats in a free and pluralistic society.


How dense are you? Nobody's blocking it, Disney's just choosing not to release it because they don't want to look bad.
 
2013-01-06 01:54:50 AM

rynthetyn: they don't want the US audience to see it and realize that they're all feeling nostalgia for a minstrel show.


Interesting how you can presume how people will and should think. Good thing we have people like you to protect our sensibilities.
 
2013-01-06 01:55:29 AM

rynthetyn: How dense are you?


Really?

/buh-bye
 
2013-01-06 01:55:33 AM

Mugato:

That ride seems to attract trouble. My girlfriend flashed the camera that takes your picture at the end of the ride. We were met by scary security guard guys and severely warned. I suppose they could have had her arrested if they wanted.


Well, since Disney security guards are not cops, the worst they could do is just kick you out of the park.
 
2013-01-06 02:00:43 AM

puckrock2000: Mugato:

That ride seems to attract trouble. My girlfriend flashed the camera that takes your picture at the end of the ride. We were met by scary security guard guys and severely warned. I suppose they could have had her arrested if they wanted.

Well, since Disney security guards are not cops, the worst they could do is just kick you out of the park.


There's usually an Anaheim squad car parked backstage to jump in when needed.

It's been awhile since I've worked there but I've seen park security throw people to the ground. I don't know if they can legally do that any more so that's why they have APD on site and a radio call away.
 
2013-01-06 02:00:50 AM

lohphat: rynthetyn: they don't want the US audience to see it and realize that they're all feeling nostalgia for a minstrel show.

Interesting how you can presume how people will and should think. Good thing we have people like you to protect our sensibilities.


Dude, you missed upthread where I said that I think Disney should release it. I said that they aren't going to because they don't want to remind people how racist their films used to be. It's all Disney. If you don't like it, take it up with them.
 
2013-01-06 02:03:45 AM
I have a first edition of Little Black Sambo, and I always read it as a clever boy duping the mean tiger into get some pancakes.
 
2013-01-06 02:11:29 AM
lohphat:
It's been awhile since I've worked there but I've seen park security throw people to the ground. I don't know if they can legally do that any more so that's why they have APD on site and a radio call away.

Ahh, so now I see why you're irrationally lashing out at everyone else and refusing to consider that Disney just doesn't want to release it. You drank the koolaid while working there and think Disney can do no wrong.
 
2013-01-06 02:12:25 AM

LeafyGreens: I have a first edition of Little Black Sambo, and I always read it as a clever boy duping the mean tiger into get some pancakes.


No, no, you are an evil racist and don't know you're supporting tasty minstrel pancake cartel. You should feel bad about yourself.

Pass the syrup.
 
2013-01-06 02:13:22 AM
By the way, I can't believe that nobody has posted .Cracked's 9 Most Racist Disney Characters list yet
 
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