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”

African American Pancake Pushers

In previous posts, back in March, I tried to come to grips with my responses to the sets of shakers in my collection that depict Native North Americans.  I began by saying of one pair that “It’s that rendering of the toxic as perfectly harmless that most fascinates me about them.”  Later, I described aContinue reading “African American Pancake Pushers”

Dog and . . . What?

As I was suggesting in my last post, the range of possible go-withs for any specific shaker is as large as the linguistic ingenuity and/or cultural repertoire of its manufacturer.  Consider dogs: We are already familiar with the territory-marking little fellow on the left, happily claiming ownership of the somewhat damaged fellow on the right (noteContinue reading “Dog and . . . What?”

More on the Tyranny of Pairs

I’ve been thinking further about the tyranny of pairs in the world of shaker sets, which I discussed in my last post. It has occurred to me now that it’s the implied connection of the two disparate things in a pair that is, often, the source of the comedy or even the cuteness. A dogContinue reading “More on the Tyranny of Pairs”

The Tyranny of Pairs

Out on the street, you can find, as well as street signs, the occasional fire hydrant:And along with a fire hydrant, you will usually find . . . ?  A fireman, perhaps?  No.  A group of children getting a free drink on a hot summer day?  No.  What a fire hydrant goes with, of course,Continue reading “The Tyranny of Pairs”

Taking It to the Streets

We continue the go-with chain with what appears to be another pugnacious guy, all ready to return the blow being struck by the enraged data-entry fellow of the last post: But why, you might ask, if he has his dukes up and is all ready to fight, is he sitting on the ground?  The answerContinue reading “Taking It to the Streets”

Miniaturized Workplace Rage

This is a bit of a cheat, maybe.  The typewriter on a desk, I now declare, goes with . . . a computer terminal: Well, it has a keyboard, right?  And it’s sort of like a desk.  You sit at it while working, right?   Or at least, you used to do so, in an earlierContinue reading “Miniaturized Workplace Rage”