Rightwing Culture Critique: ’12 Years’ Unfair To All The Happy Slaves, ‘Frozen’ Will Turn Kids Into Gaysicles

Rightwing Culture Critique: '12 Years' Unfair To All The Happy Slaves, 'Frozen' Will Turn Kids Into GaysiclesFrontline reports from the Culture Wars: Our Oscar winners are full of leftist propaganda! Best Picture 12 Years a Slave is historically inaccurate, only depicting unhappy slaves with cruel masters, and ignoring the many “contented” slaves. And even this year’s Best Animated Feature, Disney’s Frozen, should be avoided since it encourages children to become gay. We just love it when rightwing thought leaders go to the movies.

Over at the American Spectator, James Bowman is very unhappy that so many people who should know better are are talking about Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave as if it depicted the full “reality” of slavery. The issue, he says isn’t really whether it “expresses a truth about chattel slavery as practiced in the American South before 1865″ — he very graciously allows that maybe it does — but whether it expresses “the truth”:

In everything I have read about it, the assumption seems to be that it leaves nothing more to be said on the subject.

As proof, he presents quotes from a couple of “credentialed historians” who he thinks should know better than to praise the film for recreating the “realities of life” in slavery. Well, by golly, this simply will not do, says Bowman, because if, like Eric Foner, you call a movie “much more real, to choose a word like that, than most of the history you see in the cinema,” then you have crossed over the line from history and “into politics,” which as everyone knows are utterly separate things somehow.

The problem, you see, is that McQueen has presented far too narrow a view of the peculiar institution:

If ever in slavery’s 250-year history in North America there were a kind master or a contented slave, as in the nature of things there must have been, here and there, we may be sure that Mr McQueen does not want us to hear about it. This, in turn, surely means that his view of the history of the American South is as partial and one-sided as that of the hated Gone With the Wind.

Why, oh why can’t movies be more like a Davide Broder column, with equal balance given to all sides? You see, by labeling slavery “bad,” historians actually blind themselves to the beautiful diversity of reality:

That professional historians among others insist on calling such propaganda “truth” and “reality” and condemning anyone who suggests truth and reality might be more complicated than that is one measure of the politicization of historical scholarship in our time — to a level, perhaps, rivaling even that of film studies.

It’s not that Bowman thinks slavery was good, mind you, oh no, certainly not — but in only showing slaves being whipped and overworked, the movie — and indeed, the so-called “historians” who praise its “realism” — adopts a

cartoonishly simple-minded view of the vast and fascinating sweep of the past [that] cuts them off from learning anything from it that they don’t already know … Yes, there was much cruelty and hardship in the slave-owning South, as there has been in most of the rest of the world most of the time, and Mr. McQueen’s camera is all over that. But it strains ordinary credulity to suppose that there was nothing else.

Unless we are very much mistaken, Bowman appears to be calling for some sort of affirmative action program for depictions of kind slave-owners who took excellent care of their human property, perhaps with quotas, even. Frankly, we’re only surprised that Bowman didn’t also drag out the old “you know, Africans had slaves, too!” argument.

From Bowman’s pseudo-intellectual concerns about the “narrowness” of thinking that slavery was bad we now move to the far less nuanced paranoia of our favorite minor-league rightwing radio preacher, Colorado Springs’ own Kevin Swanson, who has previously suggested that Mark Twain was under the influence of demons and that most girls who go to college become ugly feminist whores. His newest discovery is that Disney is “the most pro-homosexual organizations in the country” and that lots of naïve Christian parents are naïvely taking their innocent children to see Frozen, which is exactly what Satan wants them to do. With his cohost Steve Vaughn, Swanson discusses the possibility that the Walt Disney Corporation is actually owned and operated by Satan Himself (a proposition we could actually believe, albeit for different reasons):

Swanson: If I was the Devil, what would I do to really foul up an entire social system and do something really, really, really evil to 5- and 6- and 7-year-olds in Christian families around America?

Vaughn: I would make a movie.

Swanson: I would buy Disney. If I was the Devil, I would buy Disney in 1984, that’s what I would have done.

Why 1984? Well, it’s the year Splash came out, so maybe Touchstone Pictures is of the Devil. It’s also the year that Saul Steinberg launched a hostile takeover and Michael Eisner became the head of the studio and Disney moved toward making its big gay musicals like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Cool conspiracy story, bro!

And all those Disney movies are just chock full o’ sin now, making “sin look enticing” according to Vaughn. He doesn’t actually say what sins, but we bet they involve being someone’s guest and belting out ballads. Swanson spells it out for listeners:

Friends, this is evil, just evil. I wonder if people are thinking: “You know I think this cute little movie is going to indoctrinate my 5-year-old to be a lesbian or treat homosexuality or bestiality in a light sort of way.” I wonder if the average parent going to see Frozen is thinking that way. I wonder if they are just walking in and saying, “Yeah, let’s get my five-year-old and seven-year-old indoctrinated early.” You know they’re not, I think for the most part they’re oblivious. Maybe they do pick up on pieces of it but they just don’t get up and walk out.

We haven’t yet seen Frozen, but we weren’t aware that it promoted the gay agenda, and Swanson doesn’t get specific; we’ll guess that his fears are stoked by internet response to a blogger who claimed that the main character’s struggles with her magic freeze-ray powers is an allegory of being gay — Elsa at first tries to hide her magic, then accepts it as part of who she is, and “comes out” into a world where she can be fabulously magical. No telling if that’s what Swanson objects to, or just that the snowman lisps or something.

In any case, Disney’s trying to make your children gay, so make sure that they know the whole story about how some slaves were really quite contented and well-treated, the end.

[American Spectator / RightWingWatch]

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  • Señor Skwerl

    Swanson, for a moment I thought you weren’t going to bring up bestiality, but you did. Luckily Disney attempts to match species who are husband and wife, unlike those Looney Toons who shows skunks and cats trying to mate.

  • Jan Ness

    Where were they when Bewitched and Sabrina, the teenage Witch was on?

    • willi0000000

      holding their children and cowering under the bed.[or somebody’s children]

  • WIDTAP

    “If ever in the Third Reich’s 12-year history in Europe there were a kind concentration camp Komendant or a contented Jew, as in the nature of things there must have been, here and there, we may be sure that Mr Spielberg does not want us to hear about it. This, in turn, surely means that his view of the history of the Second World War is as partial and one-sided as that of the hated Triumph of the Will.”See – the argument works everywhere!

    • ADHDJ

      Yeah, and they never talk about what a good painter Hitler was, too! Why does the lamestream media not want you to know that Hitler was a much better painter than Churchill?

      • LeftyLady

        Don’t forget that he was a great dancer too: Franz Liebkind:”Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.”

    • docdonn

      Thank goodness for Bernard Fein and Albert Ruddy who were brave enough to tell about the happy POWs in Hogan’s Heroes… would that we had more shows like that today

  • Sergio Lira

    This is nuts it’s based on a guy who lived in he wrote a book about it and Idk about an happy slave aka the house n”word” slavery is wrong and the happy slave is really a broken human

  • Annie Towne

    So, Bowman seems to be implying that slavery, the institution, wasn’t the problem so much as terrible owners of slaves; that it’s okay to own people, and if you’re nice to them, they won’t really mind. Can these people not hear themselves?

    • ADHDJ

      Love the sin, hate the sinner.

    • Joseph

      The problem arose form a misperception on the part of the slaves. They could not be convinced that being property no mater how great the food and accommodations were was a good deal.

    • Strepsi

      Slave owners don’t own people, only bad slave owners own people! Good slave owners are basically offer a wonderful Bed and Breakfast experience, that happens to last your whole life! What kind of ungrateful uppity person would resist a gift like that?

  • waspuppet

    “Thought leaders.” That’s a phrase they actually use, and they’re not joking. And yet they always claimed to be native English speakers …

  • Duckler

    But they were fed and had access to a barn to sleep in.. What more could they possibly want?!

  • Dolmance

    Samuel Jackson portrayed a very happy slave in Django Unchained. I thought it was very well balanced, and showed that even with the institution of slavery, there were still principled black conservatives.

  • Enfant Terrible

    Catching the underground railroad to Canada, or participating in an actual revolt – the hallmarks of a happy slave.

  • Hammiepants

    I guess the bestiality in “Frozen” was the hot reindeer-on-snowman action?

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  • SnarkOff

    But it’s fine if Disney indoctrinates my five-year-old into our ferocious consumer culture by hypnotizing him into demanding every Disney video, stuffed toy and crappy licensed product on the market. Because that is Corporate America’s god-given right.

  • The whacky thing is that back in ye olde abolitionist days writers — both those telling their own stories — and those writing fictionalized ones, made it clear that their were some “nice” slave owners — and ultimately it didn’t matter because they might die before setting everyone free as they intended, or they might run out of cash and sell the old family retainer meaning to get him back but kind of forgetting to do so, etc. etc. The point being that owning people and taking away their freedom and rights was plan wrong period, and you’d think we could all pretty much look back at that now as obvious. If they actually read Northrup’s account or any of the slave narratives or even Harriet Beecher Stowe they might get that — but that would mean maybe giving up the idea that it was Southern whites who were all oppressed by Northern aggression.

  • Joseph

    Well sin is enticing. Shit, that’s why the Vaughn’s all it sin. They would be in deep trouble if reading the bible was enticing. So if you believe in more happiness, more love and less pain you will go with sin every time. Ask anybody.

  • StevenAttewell

    I don’t think Bowman saw 12 Years a Slave. Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, William Ford, is the quintessential kind master and we meet a “contented” slave in the first 10 minutes or so. Of course, McQueen then contextualizes how a kind master is still part of the slave system, so that it doesn’t matter how contented you are, you’re not safe and you’re not free.

  • penguintruth

    I’m pretty sure, and I’m no expert, that sexuality doesn’t work that way.

  • They really just want to say “Slavery, it’s OK in the Bible bitches!” and that’s what they would say if they had their way. Right now they’re focused on “Gay, it’s not OK in the Bible bitches”, because they think we still harbor more rancor against homosexuals than blacks. Enjoy.

  • Caepan

    Funny how the Right Wing Slacks Shitters will bend over backwards to defend “nice” slave owners during the antebellum period, but absolutely wet their pants in fear of the “slavery” that Obamacare, food stamps, or paying taxes will somehow subject people to. (Yes, they both shit and piss their pants. In righteous fear!)Slavery… you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means…

  • Joseph

    I took my 5 year old grand-daughter to see Frozen. Will she be gay now? If so will she be smart, funny and artistic? If she is not, can I sue someone?