In June, two 9-year-old American kids sent a letter to the chairman of Walt Disney Parks complaining about some of the potentially damaging stereotypes they encountered at Disneyland and Disneyworld.
Here is an excerpt:
Like most people we love your attractions, but we found some problems with some of them and those problems are stereotypes … We are third graders from New York City at The Cathedral School. We learn about stereotypes, and the impact they have on people’s identities. For instance, in the jungle cruise, all the robotic people have dark skin and are throwing spears at you. We think this reinforces some negative associations, we think you should replace them with monkeys throwing rotten fruit.
I can imagine that a lot of people reading this letter might feel quite upset by it. I can imagine them shaking their heads and muttering darkly about the scourge of political correctness sticking its beak into all areas of society and stirring things up where they don’t need stirring. If they’re American themselves, they might also mention – whilst huffing and puffing in genuine disgust – something about goddamn liberals or whining SJWs or even the creeping pussification of America. This is because in America, a seemingly large and rather angry percentage of the population are frightened by ideas based on liberty, equality and social justice.
This was never more clearly and hilariously illustrated than last week when US department store Target announced that they would be phasing out some of the more unnecessary gender-based signs in their stores. This was primarily in response to the popularity of this tweet:
Facebook user Mike Melgaard saw Target’s announcement and, knowing how terribly afraid many American conservatives are, intuited that there might be something of a backlash. When that backlash began to manifest itself on Target’s Facebook page, he decided to pose as a representative of Target, setting up a fake customer service account and responding accordingly. The full story is here, and it’s wonderful.
Here are two of my personal favourites from his 16-hour reign of hilarity…
Hats off to Mike Melgaard!
Hats off also to Sybilla and Dexter, who wrote this to Disney but have yet to receive a reply:
And while we’re about it, if we’ve any hats left, let’s take them off to Stewart Lee, who here totally nails the whole debate in just two minutes…