Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Racist? Or cute?

Above, for your consideration, is a commercial for Spain’s national airline, Iberia.

The airline withdrew this ad last week after complaints that it was sexist, racist and insulting to Cubans.

I just learned of it on the Racialicious blog, where correspondent Wendi Muse broke the cartoon down histo-politically. “Before me... I saw an animated articulation of the remnants of European colonial dominance over a Caribbean nation and its women,” she wrote.

For Ms. Muse, this minute-long commercial calls to mind the rape of slaves by their masters. And “happy darky” stereotypes. And the modern bane of sex tourism. And even Spain’s racist soccer fans.

For me? Not so much. I think it’s just good clean dirty bad fun. And the reggaeton beat is pumpin’.

I’m curious to know what you all think about it.

UPDATE (05/31/07): There are two other cool animated Iberia.com ads on YouTube. I’ve got them showcased in my new “UBM-TV” feature in the upper right corner.

The one at the top deals in racial imagery also – set in New York with a hip-hop soundtrack – but there’s nothing close to objectionable about it. (Unless you want to make an issue of the sheep being “woolly-headed.” But let’s not.)

Now, the bottom one is my favorite of the three, from a pure animation standpoint. It’s about Argentina, it’s about the tango. And it’s about the world’s sexiest vacuum cleaner. It’s quite brilliant. Enjoy!

38 comments:

Thordaddy said...

Mr. Mills,

Are you telling me that one can see racism and sexism in this cartoon, but Jerry Falwell was a nut for seeing homosexual advocacy in the Telletubbies? It seems like selective outrage is the order of the day.

Undercover Black Man said...

I think you and I are in agreement on this one, Thordaddy.

Pa Bila said...

Its definately both. While I recognize that travel and sex go together like rum and coke, the ad plays up the rich white having a sex holiday with the natives...

I'm off to Africa next week and we are skipping the beach; who wants to see fat old Europeans strutting around with beautiful 18 year olds. The relationship is about one thing.

Undercover Black Man said...

I see what you're saying, Pa. But it's so cute though! He's a baby, and he's getting a backrub! And dancing in a conga line... his little legs kickin'... I love this commerical the more I see it!

CJB said...

The beat is fantastic! I think the massage in particular is so over the top and silly that it makes the whole concept more of a wink. One chick is just fanning him while the other works him over. And then he's groovin next to cocktails...

The song stays in your head after it is over and you want to watch it again.

dez said...

I think it's kinda cute, but boy, oh, boy, will I be glad when the reggaeton wave wanes! I'll take good old-fashioned rock en espanol any day!

SJ said...

I don't see how it's appropriate to compare racism/sexism with homosexual advocacy.

Racism/sexism are wrong and there's nothing wrong with homosexual advocacy. Of course, unfortunately too many people in this country too many people cringe at just reading the word homosexual. It's only a matter of time before it is openly accepted by the majority.

I should add though, I don't see anything racist/sexist about this ad nor do I see how the teletubbies support homosexuality. Also, this ad is from Spain, not this country.

ItAintEazy said...

They can do without the big ole lips, though.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I don't hear you complaining about the big ole butts! ;^D

Thordaddy said...

sj,

The point is that people mocked Jerry Falwell for suggesting that the Telletubbies were promoting homosexuality while we are to believe this cartoon Ad is promoting racism and sexism. Why someone would do such a thing isn't entertained?

Anyone who has kids and watches what passes for kid's television can easily see and hear all sorts of adult innuendo. It's also becoming quite common to have a character that appears and acts gay.

And anyone that says there is nothing wrong with advocating homosexuality to children seems to be oblivious to the disproportionate amount of homosexuals who die prematurely on account of their sexual lifestyle.

And that is just for starters as to why advocacy of homosexuality is far more destructive for society than racism and sexism.

Undercover Black Man said...

CJB wrote: And then he's groovin next to cocktails...

I just noticed the little cocktail umbrella stuck in his baby bottle.

dez said...

Okay, I'll bite: What does it mean to "act gay"?

I can't hardly wait to hear this one....

Thordaddy said...

dez,

Lisps, girly outfits, flimsy limbs, ambiguous sex... The kind of stuff that most functioning people can easily recognize as homosexuality or implying homosexuality. The irony, of course, is that those "progressives" behind such subtle advocacy have no choice but to play to the homosexual stereotype in order to push their advocacy.

I'm assuming you have no kids and this may help explain your lack of knowledge about such a topic?

Also, this debate reminds of the one about the sexualizing of young girls by way of adult clothing in that no one seems to want to highlight the makers of such clothes and in regards to this Ad, the makers of the video. What we are witnessing are "progressives" eating their own in these debates.

Doctor Memory said...

Since it really kind of boils down to your opinion on the animator's style -- affectionate caricature or leering stereotype? -- I'll pass on the question of whether it's racist or not.

But since that ad is a not-at-all-subtle celebration of the sex tourism that props up a brutal dictatorship, I'll certainly go for 'sexist', 'insulting to Cubans' is a gimme, and I'll add 'disgusting,' 'vile,' and 'shameful' onto the list without any hesitation.

Slammin' beats though. No question.

Thordaddy: 1992 called, they want their talking points back.

Thordaddy said...

doctor memory,

If it is indeed "progressives" that are the animators behind this disputed video then they must be "racist" and "sexist" liberals if one thinks this is a "racist" and "sexist" animation. Otherwise, one has to conclude that this is the work of more traditional-minded folks which is so seemingly farfetched that the idea isn't even entertained although traditional folks is synonomous with "racist" and "sexist" in the "progressive" world. And the reason that the makers of this animation are not under discussion is exactly because it is the work of "progressives." Would that be racist and sexist "progressives," I wonder?

ItAintEazy said...

^UBM

No you didn't, ROTFLMBAO!!

dez said...

Good Lord, Thordaddy, that was way too easy. You need to go back to troll school and quit pestering the fine people on this blog.

Dougfp said...

The ad is more silly than offensive. Thordaddy is just offensive. Once again, he rails at liberals, gays, women, blacks, and Hispanics who are all engaged in a massive conspiracy against his vision of 1950s America. I have children and have never worried about a gay person teaching them. But then I know gay people personally. I don't draw my opinions of them from the deep reaches of my paranoia as Thordaddy apparently does.

SJ said...

"And that is just for starters as to why advocacy of homosexuality is far more destructive for society than racism and sexism."

Ugh...please stop. Bigots like you do nothing to help society. 50 years ago people like you were railing against the Civil Rights movement, and now this. Society changes over time, deal with it.

flimsy limbs said...

pure comic gold.

dez said...

I admit I am kind of curious as to how one has ambiguous sex. Hey, I think I just helped get this site another porn tag for the Googlebot!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Always appreciated, Dez.

Thordaddy said...

dez,

"Ambiguous sex" means you can't tell if that little cartoon character is male or female.

But I did notice how NO ONE touched on the real issue of who is behind the creation of this supposed "racist" and "sexist" animation.

It is not lost on many that the creators of such controversial content that is then deemed offensive by the oh-so sensitive "progressive" community are "progressives" themselves.

This is called manufactured outrage and it is quite devious.

Lastly, how does someone born in the seventies pine for the 50's? That seems like reflexive groupthink attempting to mask the heart of this issue.

dez said...

The comments are either whizzing past your ears or you're being deliberately obtuse, thordaddy. Anyway, I think one reason you're not getting the responses you want is that your rhetoric is offensive and your logic flawed (not to mention that you've demonstrated in the past that you're not really interested in what we have to say, but rather in seeing your own words posted over and over again). HTH!

Dougfp said...

How does Thordaddy know the politics of the people who created this ad? I've worked in advertising and there aren't many progressives in the business.

And by the "1950s", I meant an era of white, male, heterosexual dominance. Which ain't coming back no matter how much you might wish it.

Lastly...how does someone in their 30s gets so uptight and paranoid about race and sexuality?

SJ said...

I don't understand why conservatives like thordaddy complain all the time...the white, heterosexual male still controls just about every aspect of American society.

And thordaddy, how do you know that progressives were behind the creation of this video? It was just a company looking to make some money.

dez said...

In all seriousness, what do y'all mean by "progressives"? It seems to be used somewhat differently by each poster.

Or is "progressive" the new "liberal"?

Thanks!

susie said...

By the end of the song it sounded like the baby was singing "Break out your knee pads" - Damn I wish I spoke better Spanish.

If that's what he's saying then eeeuuuw.

I kind of enjoyed it otherwise. It looked a fun version of baby's day out. I suppose it could be experienced as racist and/or sexist but not overtly. I think that would come from the filter of the viewer.

Which always made me wonder about why Jerry Falwell saw Tinky Wink as a "gay" teletubby. The 3 year old I know who is definitely going to grow up to be a friend of Dorothy definitely preferred Po.

He wasn't even in pre-school yet and his parents are not gay so no one "taught" him - he just is.

It's probably good to check yourself before one subjectively labels an experience - I'm still pondering why I'm hearing "break out your knee pads" from that baby.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Suze, maybe Dez can provide some clarity on the line in question??

Bryan said...

You can see this sex tourism phenomenon even at kintespace.com:

"Sex on the Beach: The Winter of Our Content (Part 1)"
http://www.kintespace.com/rasxlog/?p=620

"Sex on the Beach: The Winter of Our Content (Part 2)"
http://www.kintespace.com/rasxlog/?p=622

Thordaddy said...

The more one deals with liberals (or progressives), i.e., adherents to absolute non-discrimination, the more one realizes the validity of traditionalism, i.e., those who find meaning in the present by exploring the past.

Is this cartoon Ad by Iberia "racist" and "sexist" or not? Just this question alone will necessarilly confound the modern "progressive" if he stays true to his beliefs.

First, he can't even take a definitive stand on the meaning of "racist" and "sexist." If he does manage to define these terms, they are only through the lense of a political ideology, namely, liberalism.

Secondly, he can't decide whether the answer to this question gains validity by subjective experience or objective reality. Hense, the suggestion (by way of UBM's opening question) that one can define "racist" and "sexist" content by mere feeling alone. But, doesn't truth require an objective understanding that would require such content be the creation of people who are "racist" and "sexist?" Afterall, only people can be "racist" and "sexist" and not cartoons.

This in and of itself highlights a non-discriminatory nature. A true "progressive" cannot answer definitively the question that Mr. Mills posed.

Of course, the liberal blog to which this cartoon was declared "racist" and "sexist" shows clearly that non-discrimination cannot be the reigning organizing principle for a healthy society. The blogger who made these discriminating assertions in regards to the "racist" and "sexist" Iberia Ad does not practice what she preaches.

dez said...

Sorry, UBM, my Spanish el suckos the big-o weiner-o.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Girl, I thought you was all into Rock en Espa├▒ol!

dez said...

^ I am. Freakin' hate that reggaeton sheeit, though. My mom just listened to it and didn't catch anything. She might listen to it again if I can coax her into it. We both thought we heard the word "puto" a couple of times, too.

Jeff Winkler said...

Problem with referencing the UBMTV (top right) stuff.. it scrolls out of view. Makes older posts hard to follow, because now it's Hee Haw vids.

Undercover Black Man said...

I take your point, Jeff. What I'll do is, when I change the UBM-TV mix, I'll put links to the referenced videos in the old posts.

Wendi Muse said...

If you go to the original post on Racialicious, you can find a translation of the Spanish lyrics. Enjoy.

~Wendi

P.S. I, along with many others, consider the ad racist and sexist due to the imperial relationship between Spain and Cuba, the issue of sex tourism, and the historical portrayals of women of color. If you need more clarification, read the full article.

PPS. Thanks for spreading the word on this UBM. It's interesting to read others' thoughts on the matter. :-)

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks for commenting, Wendi.