Sometimes things go in threes, which I took as a sign I might just as well take a punt on posting this post. Well, it's up to more than three now, anyway.
Firstly, there was Jeff Kennett's vigorous defence of golliwogs after the Oprah team asked a Melbourne store to remove gollis from their window display.
Next, Mother Christmas gave yours truly what young grand-niece J calls a "dollywog":
[Please forgive the lousy photography - long story short my phone is the only camera available at the moment.]
Naturally I was asked what name I should bestow on dolly. Having waited nearly 60 years to have such a dolly, I did just happen to have a name ready. Her name is Martha. Not because nearly every black maid in old hollywood plantation classics is a Martha Washington [offsider of the faithful retainer Thomas Jefferson] but because "Martha slave ran away".
[Don't blame me - I didn't make the movies I just watch them when I need a laugh].
If you are still talking to me, let me show you the difference between a dollywog [as above] and what the average Australian [i.e. anyone as irreverent as myself] would call a stereotype:
The Other and I were in the city recently and passed a shop full of golliwogs which all had slave names and in other ways played on negative stereotypes. We did smile but agreed that is probably going too far.
Then Aunty, who has recently been through that horrible task of sorting the contents of her home and deciding what to give to whom and what to hang on to for now, unpacked her Uncle's old egg cup [i.e. more than 90 years old]
Well, I seriously doubt great great uncle or my own Aunt were racists as 3 or 4 years old as they probably never saw anyone with even a half-way decent tan til they were 40 or 50 years old. [And yes, we do accept responsibility for what happened to our own indigenous people]. Now that we know better about the history of African Americans, should she throw it away?
BTW, Whoopi Goldberg collects this sort of crap and quite right too, because why should history be sanitised?
Not so long ago another blogger posted something which did NOT mention golliwogs but which nonetheless got me thinking. I won't provide a link because if this post offends anyone it is my responsibility and no one else's.
As a little aside on the same theme, let me mention my teenage addiction to Agatha Christie's detective novels, the best of which was called 'Ten Little Niggers'. The plot was devilishly clever, but I can honestly say I did not understand the connection between niggers and this cover.
In fact, the illustration was so wasted on me I remember thinking how stupid putting a golliwog on the cover, and wondering what it had to do with the story.
Naturally, the title was deemed offensive so it was published in America as Ten Little Indians. Much better? Is the expression 'double standard' a reference to two flags?
Back to the here and now. This weekend I returned to Bairnsdale to finish what I had failed to finish there last trip. The Other decided to come with me so we drove, and stopped at the excellent tea rooms at Yarragon. While at the tea rooms I read an hilarious newspaper article giving examples of the difference between politically insensitive and downright offensive.
We went to the confectionery shop cos The Other loves sweet shops, and while there bought ourselves a new mug.
Bairnsdale being a long drive, I had to stop for a you and me along the way, and saw this sign in the park at Stratford upon the river Avon
Is it my imagination or is there something strange about the first item on the list of places to examine highlighting 30,000 years of indigenous culture?
Now, yonks ago I criticised Andrew Bolt for calling several people 'professional Aboriginals', and I would hate you to call me a hypocrite. Apart from the tone of the original Bolt article [sarcastic or worse, as well as incorrect], 9 million bloggers made comments under the article on the newspaper's blog, most of them deliberately hateful, and those comments were not moderated or censored in any way. No wonder a group of 9 people took him to court [asking for no money, just an apology].
So, all comments about the difference between political correctness and incorrectness, the merits or otherwise of censorship etc etc are welcome, but anything I deem politically offensive will be deleted.