Sunday, October 07, 2007

We Heard From My Indian Pal, Joe

Joe Henderson

said... Woah!!! People are really offended by this??? I'll set the record straight! Im an enrolled member of the Paiute-Shoshone Indian Tribe of the Owens Valley and I find nothing wrong with this image at all. If anything its an image of an Indian smiling unlike all the Hollywood crap they give us where we all are Stoic looking, or even worse the single tear running down our face.

Where is the artist or even this company trying to be racist? Last time I looked, and maybe John could back me up on this, I'm not orange, and I don't wear feathers in my hair.

I'm actually curious to how people here would design an Indian character being completely "PC"???
Let's see it People!!!

Thanks Joe, Here's your reward. See you next week!
Here's an inbred Hillbilly caricature from the same cartoon, so all us ignorant white folk who love Hank Williams and classic country music can be outraged.
Pete Emslie said...

Have you noticed the fact that "Goofy Grape" wears a Napoleon Bonaparte hat, thus implying he's insane because he thinks he's Napoleon? Obviously this Goofy Grape fellow is a slanderous depiction of the good citizens of France!

Sacré Bleu-berry!! :)

TamalH said...


That's reverse discrimination.

People just need to grow some balls and stop acting like everyone is out to bully them.

By the way, tell that to all the millions of whites who were slaves to Muslims in North Africa during the 16th-18th century.

And the wonderful serfdoms of the middle ages. Or whites selling white slaves during the very early colonial america (when incoming black slaves were considered incredibly valuable, while white slaves were "expendable.")

Every race has been treated terribly by another race in one way or another in history,so why do we keep blaming people today who had nothing to do with the actions of people from the past?

mike f. said...

I must say - I'm surprised at your crude insensitivity, John. Of course "Injun Orange" is offensive...

I think Freckle-Face Strawberry is offensive, also - to the fair-skinned and the abnormally sun-sensitive. They have feelings too, y'know.

Likewise, Lefty Lemon is highly offensive to right-arm amputees, and people suffering from Yellow Jaundice.

Rootin' Tootin' Raspberry is offensive to cowboys with The Mumps.

Goofy Grape is offensive to mentally-challenged people with Port Wine stain hyper-pigmentation and/or Hemorrhagic Rash .

Jolly Olly Orange is offensive to the Fore Tribe of Papua, New Guinea - who are afflicted with Laughing Sickness. (Also to Viet Nam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the war.)

In fact, the term "Kool Aid" itself is surely be offensive to people with HIV-related illnesses, and the spelling-challenged.

Lastly, Loudmouth Lime must certainly be offensive to Matt Blasi - and other humorless, hypersensitive, pro-censorship, "politically correct" Thought Police-types who have nothing better to do than write indignant, self-righteous letters to cartoonists about the outrageous effrontery of long-defunct soft drink packets.


The fella that started all this controversy about colorful kiddie food in cartoony packets posted again and said all the same things he said the first time, even though he's been answered in the comments by many others.

Matt Blasi said...

A few of the comments have been insightful. The rest are (par for course on the Internet) over-zealous, reactionary dribble. Mike Fontanelli and several others clearly don't understand the difference between a discussion and an argument. So, let's clarify a few things.

First, I asked for a clarification as to what John K meant by his statement: "This is considered offensive today. Insane or what?"

That clarification has still not been given.

Second, I asked: what is NOT offensive about it? This means that if you (John K and others) DO NOT think it is an offensive image, I'd like you to elaborate WHY. It also implies that if you DO think it's an offensive image, please explain why.

That should have tipped people off that I was attempting a discussion, not a flame war - that I am not so persoanlly (sic) offended as attempting to create a dialogue of WHY such an image might be considered offensive. But some people would rather jump on their keyboards and rattle off furious responses than contribute anything worthwhile to the discussion.

I wrote: "Because it IS offensive. It depicts a parody image of stereotypical Native Americans used to sell a ridiculous product in a humiliating context. What is NOT offensive about it?"

This is part personal opinion, part observation based on how this image is view in the context of our modern society. I believe it if offensive because it isn't simply an image of a Native American. It's an image of an orange Native American wearing ceremonial or traditional garb and decoration. It caricatures an element of Native American culture without consideration for how that culture uses, feels about, or interprets such imagery.

I then reinforced it with the following examples: "if you had an old-timey "black-faced" image on the wrapper and sold it as "Negro Nectar," people wouldn't hesitate to call it offensive. If you had a white face on it and called it "Cracker Cranberry," it would also be offensive."

Based on current American societal decorum, such examples would be considerd racist and/or offensive. Why? Is it that we're simply juvenille book-burners, anti-"barrels of fun" as Mike Fontanelli puts it? No. That's a simplistic explanation devoid of real intelligence.

This remains a point of discussion.

I understand that John K is not making a pointedly political statement here - he was simply showing us a piece of art in emphasize a point. I'm certainly not blaming John K or calling him a racist, and I'm not saying that offensive humor and elements of art should be subdued and done away with. To the contrary, as a poster noted, I'm a fan of Marc M.'s Sick Animation, a highly-offensive collection of art.

Jordan wrote: "But when you make fun of people such as say....native americans, and they are ravaged and murdered (you know the story) and then their image used to sell some american juice drink, THAT'S what makes it worse than say, a white person being made fun of to sell an american juice drink. There IS a difference...It seems more like a "fuck you" to the native americans, haha, now that we killed you all, we'll make fun of you on our products! If it was WHITE GRAPE JUICE and had a nerdy Caucasian business man on the cover, well, what are we making fun of? How successful and in power he is? So, go ahead, who cares."

This is an excellent point. There IS something most people have missed from this discussion. Perhaps its a capitalistic exploitation of ethnic imagery, perhaps it's simply that things have shifted in a modern context; what was once inoffensive is now offensive. My comment is not centered around capital (product) as Krieg stated.

John K. loves to talk about the terrific animation and art principles in the cartoon "Coal Black," and he's right - those principles are terrific! But it doesn't mean the film isn't offensive. It is.

John K wrote: "Indians murdered and tortured each other and made totem poles. Are the totem poles racist, therefore? Let's burn the last few and erase them from history."

That's a common argument made when people oppose affirmative action for blacks in the United States. 'Why should the government help them? Africans were enslaving each other before the Europeans go to them!'

True. But there is a world of difference between white European chattel slavery and what Africans did to each other. The two are incomparable.

John K wrote: "Cartoonists and comedians make fun of everything. That doesn't mean we are condemning whole groups of people every time we acknowledge obvious cultural traits.

This thread proves my point of everyday common insanities that we take for granted, like political "correctness"."

John, there's a fine line between acknowledging culture and mocking it. A very fine line. What you're offering is - and you have a bad habit of doing this - a broad generalization where culture, art, and license to interpret are given free reign to interact. I don't think you mean any harm, but that doesn't mean that it's harmless.

I've brought things like this up before and you've waived it away as "mysticism." Your refusal to actually investigate the finer points of your arguments weakens your emphasis that no harm is being done. If you're right, then why not really examine such facets of art-culture interaction? Why not consult outside data and scholarly sources?

Kenneth Clark's famous doll experiment is a great place to examine how images, merchandising, and culture interact in enormously harmful ways.

John K wrote: "Politically correct people are free to condemn the vast majority of humans who just act naturally. Shouldn't we be offended by them? Let's make laws against them."

Another broad generalization in which all "politically correct people" are misers, undermining your sense of fun, and threatening to make the world PG-13.

That's nonsense and you know it.

I'm not supporting censorship. My stance is this: before we jump to ANY conclusions about the effects of art of people, culture, etc., we should make an honest examination of things. IS an image offensive? If it's considered offensive, why? Are there arguments to be made on both sides?

I'm not saying that I, Matt Blasi, am right, nor am I simply trying to be contentious. I'm saying that the relationship between art, ethnicity, and culture - the line between offensive and inoffensive - is a fine line and one that requires more care than simply saying, "This is considered offensive now-a-days and that's nonsense."

I respect your work, John K. I respect your art and your incredible understanding of how to create, conceptualize, and invigorate art. But I'm not an animator and I'm not here (like some posters) to simply kiss behind. If I see that you've made a statement that seems wildly off-base, I call you on it in a respectfu manner (unlike many posters).





None of the above categories of creatures have ever been persecuted or harmed by anyone else, so it's ok to make funny depictions of them.

Is there a culture or race on earth that has never persecuted, killed, tortured or been persecuted by others? If not, then I guess us cartoonists, novelists, historians, musicians and a lot of other people are out of business because we cannot ever acknowledge them.
I say, why not all us funny looking people get along and agree to enjoy the funniness of every race, culture, costume, man, animal and anything that is fun?