You Won't Hear This Song on the Radio
John Frost of The Disney Blog has a post regarding the possibility of a Song of the South DVD release, and the pending reaction that it may create.
The film, which combines live action and animation, is famous for the introduction of the song "Zip-a-dee Doo-dah", which has proved powerful enough to gain classic status without the aid of a readily available movie to carry it.
The movie also inspired the theme for Disney's Splash Mountain ride.
It has not been released in the United States due to Disney's fear of jumping in bed with the Don Imus, Jimmy the Greek and Spike Lee types of the world. Those being people that say things that are generally considered as racist and offensive, and then stoned by the righteous to pay for the sins of the rest of us.
What? You don't think Spike Lee has been stoned? He's been smoking something.
Song of the South portrays black characters in a way that many find insensitive. The main non-animated character, Uncle Remus, is an ex-slave that lives on a plantation and doles out nuggets of wisdom to the other characters in the film.
It is full of stereotypes that would make Harriet Beecher Stowe blush. It is the Aunt Jemimah of Disney. Sure, it ain't right, but it sure tastes good on pancakes.
Nowhere in the film are any of the characters called "nappy-headed ho's."
I have no doubt that it can be found offensive. Offensive like Driving Miss Daisy was offensive. Offensive like Gone With the Wind was offensive. Not offensive like Dude, Where's My Car is offensive. That is a different kind of pain. Yet, all of those films are able to survive and be seen by viewers, who can than make up their own minds as to whether or not they should be offended.
I'm afraid that Disney, through silence and inaction, has allowed Song of the South to become more important than it is; and by denying it's release for so long has nearly ensured that it cannot become available without stirring more scrutiny than it deserves.
Everything may not be satisfactual, but Mr. Bluebird deserves to fly. It's time to free Brer Rabbit from the Tar Baby, and let America decide for itself. Just watch for people bearing rocks.