Cracker Jack

If somebody calls me “cracker jack” should I be offended? If the person saying it is black, should I be offended that I’m being called a cracker? I’m confused. Once upon a time it was a good thing to be called cracker jack. But that was back when it was bad to be a pimp.

It’s a head-scratcher.

While we’re on the subject of racism, last week I bought a bootleg DVD of Disney’s Song of the South. It arrived today and I watched it tonight. What a bunch of wussies Disney has become. That movie is every bit as good as I remember it from watching it in the theater back in 1974. Is the movie racist? The NAACP didn’t think so when it was first released in the 1940s, and I certainly didn’t catch anything racist when I was eight years old. What do I think now? Nope. Were the blacks in the movie slaves? Or sharecroppers? Hard to say. When Uncle Remus is forbidden to talk to Johnny he gets in a wagon to go to Atlanta. Slaves weren’t able to up and leave whenever they wanted to. And anyway, any negative stereotypes would have to be overridden by the portrayal of Uncle Remus. Who wouldn’t want a man like that in their life? If you don’t know the story on this film, basically it comes down to the fact Disney refuses to release it because some people today consider it racist in its depiction of 19th century black people.

Uncle Remus tonight kind of reminded me of Angelo Pignati. I think we had a breakthrough in my Foundations of English 1 class today. We spent almost all of class reading The Pigman and by the time we stopped pretty much everybody had come around to liking the Pigman and felt … something when he died. There were actually a few minutes of discussion that didn’t include accusations of homosexuality or insults directed at other classmates. And then it was gone. My lesson from this was to give the kids bigger chunks of the reading to get them involved. Doing a chapter a day wasn’t cutting it.

Next week we’re doing an immersion in Shakespeare. I don’t look forward to it, and they’re not wanting it, either. I’m going to mix it up a little from our standard routine in hopes of making it a little less excruciating.

I went to Lowe’s tonight in search of a dryer to match the washing machine we bought a couple of years ago. I couldn’t find it, and no way I was going to pick one out without Kim, so I was leaving with Amanda and Jake when a young employee stopped me at the door, shook my hand and was talking to me like we were old friends. I finally placed him as a student I had in my last assignment as a substitute at Westmoore High School right before Christmas. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember his name, and once you’re several minutes into a conversation with someone it just seems rude to admit that. Despite living in Moore and having worked at both high schools and most of the junior highs, that was one of the few times a student has recognized me and stopped to talk.

4 responses to “Cracker Jack”

  1. Disney is actually releasing SONG OF THE SOUTH on DVD this year; I believe there will be all sorts of sensitivity training included in the extras, though.

    1. What?? Figures they’d do that after I bought a bootleg. Are the censoring it?

  2. I hate it when I run into old students…I always forget their name. Sometimes they forget mine. But I can always seem to recall what class and where they sat. What does that say about my brain.
    Uncle Remus was cool!

  3. I remember when being called a cracker jack was equivalent to being a smart little whippersnapper.
    See? I listened to my elders. hehehe…
    Running into students… story of our lives. I taught three years at the adult ed school and three years corporate – and with that job I only taught people for ONE DAY! Snowball’s chance in hell I’m going to remember your name. Either smile and nod and let it go, or politely say that you’ve had a lot of students and ask to have them remind you.
    Why do so many students think you loved them and will remember them always? LOL!

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