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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


In reaction to this Ng Suat Tong essay at HU, I wrote:

I don't think it's correct to take a single incident from one Tarzan continuity and assert that it was standard across the board. Cite several, along the same line, and then you've got something.
I remember the sequence you describe, though I would have to see it again to see if I agree that the apes are extolled over the black natives. I would say that your case is stronger just for the base idea of the "white goddess" trope; at the very least, the trope certainly isn't terribly complimentary. FWIW Burroughs does show white primitives believing in godlike outsiders as well, but I guess one could argue that they are just blacks in whiteface.
Going strictly by the excerpts from the porn art seen here, I don't see racism going on here. I see Frazetta drawing a handful of Black Africans as lustful characters, maybe even with predominantly brutish features, but that may be part of the erotic thing going on here, whatever it meant to Frazetta himself. I think that's a little different from making fun of Blacks for filing their teeth and dumping missionaries in cook-pots, which would, like the "white goddess" thing, suggest a complete and irreversible primitivism.
Nice, how you snuck in that shot at the EC comics. 

ADDENDA: I'm not going to try to preserve all my comments on this thread, but I'm copying this one for future reference because it's an overall putdown of the HU mentality.

"He rejects it for ideological reasons."

Cute, but the correct word is "non-ideological," as in, "those things in life that are not strictly reducible to ideological means and ends."

"Frazetta’s art is always about his virtuosity, so these images are about him giving up control and still being the awesome dude in control."

And a female artist isn't "in control" because-- yeah, reasons.

"I think what Noah was trying to convey (please correct me if I’m wrong here, Noah) was that all art implies and expresses ideology, regardless of whether the purpose of its creation was ideological."

It's one thing to note that ideological aspects may have sneaked their way into a work with no express ideological purpose. It's another to try to fit everything into a Procrustean bed, which is the usual practice here at HU.

What's really at issue in Ng's article? That Frazetta fantasized about either being a hung black dude, or about laying waste to black dudes in the persona of Tarzan? No, none of you care about Frazetta's inner demons. You care about the fact that these erotic drawings, which you (incorrectly) deem racist, are going to sell for a lot of money-- and that there's nothing you can do about that, any more than you can go back in time and convince people about the racial injustices of Tarzan.

I really you could find some real injustices to tilt at. But there's one positive thing. At least you're illustrating the fallacies of taking even a liberal viewpoint too far into la-la land.

SECOND AND LAST ADDENDA: Damn, I almost never anticipate what excuse NB will use to terminate a discussion. Often I've preserved comments here because I thought he would take offense and delete them, and I've usually been surprised that he didn't remove them.

My last couple of posts, which I found inoffensive, were deleted because of what he liked to call "bad faith trolling." Since the posts are gone now, I can only approximate what I said. In response to his claim that I was indulging in ideologically-based arguments while defending the idea of non-ideological factors in art, I said that I was simply turning their own type of arguments against them. That's the only thing I wrote that could be halfway construed as "bad faith," though in truth it's nothing of the kind. Patently it's merely an excuse to terminate the discussion because I'm touching on issues he NB doesn't care to deal with.

It's been a couple of days since I checked back, but the remark that probably scored the deepest hit in that post had nothing to do with bad faith; it had to do with interrogating the defenders of Ng Suat Tong's essay in the way that they pretend to interrogate purveyors of mass entertainment. (Author Ng chose not to defend his own essay.) In essence, I asked one of the defenders-- not NB-- as to whether he liked to think that all of his personal inclinations were entirely determined by ideological factors, since that's the complexion all of them choose to place upon Frank Frazetta. I didn't even directly mention any individual's leanings toward sexy entertainment, though of course that too would fall under the heading of such personal inclinations.

Another thought: since one of the defenders said she found Frazetta's work boring, I remarked that were Frazetta alive, he might find her (performance art) boring, too, but why would either opinion be a matter for ideology? Why couldn't both opinions be purely a matter of personal taste?

Not only does NB not care to answer such questions,  evidently he doesn't want his visitors troubled with them either-- which puts the HOODED UTILITARIAN right square in the same bailiwick as SEQUART-- censoring posts to keep their visitors content. There was a time that no one who professes liberal tendencies would indulge in such small-minded scapegoating, at least not with so little evidence of wrongdoing-- but as noted here, this era has bred a new sort of "liberal-so-called."

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