A few weeks ago Miscellainey got its first real complaint. A milestone in Miscellainey's blogging history. (And no, I wasn't so shattered that I decided to abandon this blog permanently contrary to popular belief.) I'm always a bit taken aback by negative criticism, in every aspect of my life. It's not generally because I'm so sensitive that any offending response gets taken personally, but more so because I genuinely try to be as objective and careful in my writing as possible and nothing I say (especially in this blog) is meant to arouse controversy.
That said, I feel obliged to finally make a response to the comments "Mr. (shall we call him... Smith?)" made a couple of weeks ago. In response to my earlier blog entry "A Half-Baked Idea", which discusses the Symposium on Popular Song's clip "The Boogie Woogie Bakery Man", "Mr. Smith" had the following to say,
Are you really so offended by the depiction of an Asian baker making fortune cookies? Do you really think the talented people who created this cartoon were 'ignorant' and less enlightened than people today? ...You are obviously a sophisticated and intelligent writer--there's no need to hop on the anti-intellectual political correctness bandwagon by cowtowing to hypersensitive folks who seek to needlessly demonize good works and the people who created them.
Now in truth, having re-read what I wrote, I can see how my comments may have been a bit overly cautious and maybe even a bit harsh. But goodness knows I would be the first person to stand up and say that these cartoons should be considered "good works" and that the people who created them were not only smart but incredibly talented. I definitely did not mean to imply as a blanket statement that the animators of days past were less-enlightened than people of today. In fact, and I believe I've said before, today's animators would do well to take extensive notes and pay close attention to their elders of animation-days-past. Frankly a lot of what goes on TV and in the movies animation wise these days is just plain crap. And I'd rather see "Boogie Woogie Bakery Man" 100 times in a row than watch a single episode of "A Pup Named Scooby Doo". (Surely that comment alone will offend someone else...)
That said, even Leonard Maltin and Richard Sherman issued a disclaimer in their commentary about the film for its depictions and how it would be viewed in today's context. Now, maybe I'm an optimist, but I like to think we've come a long way in our treatment of all races and ethnicities over the last 50 years. And hopefully in the next 50 years the next generation can say they've come a long way from where we are now. Personally, I'm not offended by that thought. And I think it's unfair to characterize my sentiment that blanket stereotypes of days past might need to be prefaced with disclaimers as "cowtowing".
At any rate, I appreciate "Mr. Smith's" willingness to bring forth criticism, as a good dash of objectivity is healthy for all of us, and I also appreciate his recognition that I am, or at least aspire to be, an "intelligent writer". That said, my last intention with this blog is to ever offend anyone. And if I have, I do want to be notified. I may not always agree, but so is life. You can't please all of the people, all of the time.