Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Magical Negros (not Barack Obama)

Regardless of Limbaugh's unintentional irony with his "Barack the Magic Negro"(his somewhat thick-headed defense being that "liberals did it first", failing or refusing to understand the actual intention, significance, and meaning of the term), the magical negro phenomenon is fantastically explained here. Basically, magical negro-ism is a tendency in certain narratives (movies, especially) to have a near-perfect black character, whose job it is to redeem the white main character. The problem with this, as the linked article points out, is that it deprives the black character of an inner life and their own narrative arc and agency.

This post is apropos of nothing, it was just mentioned in the context of this review of the movie Australia. Interestingly enough, Daktari has a similar post on sexism today. (Well, vaguely similar -- it's on sexism, but it's similar in that she's discussing the subtleties between sexiness, sexism, and pedophilic objectification.)

Anyway. The concept is well illustrated in the commentary's accompanying cartoon:


Laters.

2 comments:

Daktari said...

1. Rush Limbaugh makes your garden variety conservative pricks look good. I reject him in his entirety. Contrast him to...say... Pat Buchannan, who is also a dick but occassionally is able to pull his head out of his ass to make a coherent comment.

2. I wants me one of them magic Negros. I'm a white person and I could get a chip on my shoulder real quick if it meant that some magic Negro would come and erase all my student loans. Is there a waiting list? Where do I sign up?

3. There are times when people bring out the worst in me, and this is one of those times.

Let me tell you a story. When Liv and I went on our Wild West Adventure earlier this summer, we would stop at some site suggesting that MY PLANTS were nearby. Liv, being all young and springy, would leap from the car like an Olympic gymnast and lo and behold locate MY PLANTS before I could. Now, I can understand this happening once or twice, but nooooooooo. It happened EVERY SINGLE TIME WE STOPPED. She found MY FACKIN' PLANTS before I could. Not that I'm competitive or anything. =) I mean, sure, maybe she had bad gas and wanted to run fast away from the car to spare my nose or something, but I think there was something larger at work here. Sometimes you meet people who are just quicker and better than you.

Which brings me back to you and this statement:

"Interestingly enough, Daktari has a similar post on sexism today. (Well, vaguely similar -- it's on sexism, but it's similar in that she's discussing the subtleties between sexiness, sexism, and pedophilic objectification.)"

It is simply not polite to do a much better job than THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR of summarizing the main ideas in a single coherent and cogent sentence. You know, some of us get to be brilliant like once in our lives and even then most people chalk it up to idiot savantism. Don't you get tired of being brilliant just in your spare time? I mean really.

Geez.

J said...

Well, you're right, such a one-upping of the original author simply isn't done. Luckily, I disagree with you -- conveniently selflessly self-serving of me, what hey?

I really liked your post, in any case. Just consider me your gratis abstract writer...?