Even More Accurate Souvenirs

In my last post, I talked about a souvenir shaker set that was a miniature representation of an actual building. This time, an even more accurate set of shakers claims actually to be made of part of the thing it represents. At first glance, it might be a little hard to figure out what it’sContinue reading “Even More Accurate Souvenirs”

Accurate Souvenirs

Unlike the Banffian lions and chuck wagons of my last post, this pair actually has something to do with the place it claims to represent:It is, in fact, a salt-and-pepper version of the Portage La prairie, Manitoba city hall.  The city hall has been divided into two parts, one for salt, one for pepper, likeContinue reading “Accurate Souvenirs”

A Cowboy in the Mountains

As I suggested in an earlier post, Banff, Alberta is represented in the world of salt and pepper shakers in a wide spectrum of ways:  a  a pair of golden hands, a pair of ungrammatical aboriginals, a lion and a grass-skirted person of African descent.  Here’s another odd addition to that very miscellaneous assortment:Well, perhaps it’s not soContinue reading “A Cowboy in the Mountains”

Black Like Each Other

Now that I’ve discussed a group of shakers that represent stereotypes of people of African decent in different posts, I thought it might be interesting to see them all together: What intrigues me is the familial resemblance they have to each other.  Whether they’re heading off to sea in Clyde, Alberta or hunting lions inContinue reading “Black Like Each Other”

Uncle Mose and . . . Auntie Mane?

Continuing the theme of stereotypes of people of African descent, there is this pair: Since the human of this pair is wearing what looks sort of like a grass skirt, wielding a club, and accompanied by a lion rather than by a pancake-wielding woman, I presume he is supposed to represent, not an African American,Continue reading “Uncle Mose and . . . Auntie Mane?”

Cabbage Riders

These fellows make no sense to me at all:They are, clearly another pair of black stereotypes–they have the usual thick red lips and round white eyes, a la the Aunt Jemima of my last few posts.  But they are not, this time, African American stereotypes, or if they are I have no idea about whyContinue reading “Cabbage Riders”

The Shaming of a Hard Old Man Like Me

In my last post, I discussed Tavia Nyong’o’s idea that “the shiny, hard, and brittle surfaces of racist ceramic figurines reflect back upon the psychology of scapegoating black children”–a view of “blackness as a hardened form of subjectivity.”  Nyong’o calls it, “this racial simile, a black skin is as hard as stone; not skin atContinue reading “The Shaming of a Hard Old Man Like Me”

Oppositional Curating

Looking for some ways of thinking about collections of objects of which one takes a less than purely sympathetic view–the one being me and the objects being my salt and pepper shakers–I came across “Racial Kitsch and Black Performance,” an insightful article by  Tavia Nyong’o (Yale Journal of Criticism 15.2 [Fall 2002]: 371-3910.  The “racialContinue reading “Oppositional Curating”