Miniature Aboriginality

The racial and ethnic stereotype population of my salt-and-pepper collection consists primarily of shakers depicting the indigenous peoples of North America: I have nine pairs of them.  But of course, these shakers don’t really look anything like any actual former or current members of indigenous nations: what I have on my shelves can be moreContinue reading “Miniature Aboriginality”

What Is It?

This is the most mysterious set of salt and pepper shakers in my collection.  I have no idea at all about what it’s supposed to represent. It appears to be a humanized creature of some sort holding a musical instrument.  But what sort of creature?  While it’s dressed like a human in what might beContinue reading “What Is It?”

Ethnic and Racial Slurs

Shortly after I bought my first set of salt-and-pepper shakers, I came upon this one: It’s a perfect representation of the kind of adorable miniaturized  cuteness that defangs–or at least makes less immediately noticeable–its toxicity.  What could be less harmful than this cheerful pair of people at rest, depicted in a world of shiny primaryContinue reading “Ethnic and Racial Slurs”

The Ironic Collector Confronts Himself

Let us consider now this set:  I’ve chosen it to discuss here because, all things considered, I think it is absolutely the ugliest set in my collection. It’s the flamboyantly lurid orange colour of the shakers that does it, and also the touches of glittery gold paint here and there.  Why would a western-type wagonContinue reading “The Ironic Collector Confronts Himself”

Cute Newt?

And continuing the theme of cuteness as a way of defusing danger, there are these guys: I’m not exactly sure, but I think they’re supposed to represent Humpty Dumpty.  But why would you have or need two Humpy Dumpties at the same time, unless one were whole and the other smashed?  Or, come to thinkContinue reading “Cute Newt?”

Self-Immolation in a Lobster Pot

I concluded my last post with the cheery thought that the miniaturized and cheerful cuteness of most novelty salt and pepper sets allows them to deflect the dangerousness of the objects and people they represent.  This set seems to represent that quality perfectly. Here we have two jolly lobsters, merrily celebrating their own imminent (andContinue reading “Self-Immolation in a Lobster Pot”