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Thread: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

  1. #1
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    Default Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    I have a small collection of older books, often boy's books, from the 1890's to the 1920's with those steam pressed illustrated covers.
    Bought one this morning 'The Hero of Liege' Book published for the xmas trade in 1915 and given as a xmas present that year. Subject Military aviation and the giver just graduated as a (presumeably) British pilot. The hero is of course an upper class Englishman, the villain German, in fact a German Jew as a spy and saboteur.

    In the light of WW1 part two rather Ironic, but indicative of social mores of the time.

    I wonder if the giver survived. His flying options were not big
    http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircr...y-aircraft.asp

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Prejudice in old books?

    I sometimes think of the stories my grandmother would read me when I went to bed. Wow! Different times.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    We have a book that was self published by my father's cousin in 1920. It was about his Army service in WW1. He was 40 and was "allowed" to join through connections in the Indiana governors office. Quite interesting in that he designed various forms of camouflage.
    The downer are his Klan like references to the black troops. Shocking reminder that at that time Indiana was Klan headquarters.
    “What, Me Worry?". -. A. E. Newman

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    I had a bunch of the original Tom Swift books, as well as the Peewee Harris Boy Scout series - all circa 1915-1925. Quite amazing propaganda & racism by today's standards.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Little Black Sambo...

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Saw your brother interviewed on tele tonight Dave
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-1...dfield/6016860


    Re the book.
    Read it tonight. Lots of killing "he made a sort of gurgling sound as I pulled the bayonet out" for instance.
    Early days of the war, Belgium was still holding out.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    I grew up watching Johnny Quest. Other than Hadji all the dark skinned people were the bad guys. The really bad villains had olive skin and hooked noses.
    They tried a remake of the show, all cleaned up and such. It didn't last.

    Race Bannon was a cool dude.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    This one has caused lots of controversy. Do we think Twain's use of the N-word pejorative? Or, similar to the way we use the phrase, "person of color," now, simply descriptive? How about his depiction of, "Jim," overall?



    Kevin
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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Peewee Harris! I have several Roy Blakeley books. Same author, same ficton (Peewee and Roy are friends). Hilarious stuff. The ones I have are not noticeably racist, but they are very "white", no other races involved.

    The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs come off poorly in this age of political correctness.

    John Buchan's books are so antisemitic, they are almost unreadable, which is a pity because the stories are excellent. It is not clear how much of this prejudice was his opinion, and how much of it was pandering to the common attitude of the day. In other words, he wrote what would sell.

    Booth Tarkington's Penrod books are brilliant. His 12 year old protagonist and most of Penrod's friends are aware of the attitudes to other races, but it doesn't really affect them. They are just as happy playing with the black kids across the lane as any others. Most of their parents don't seem to get all that bent out of shape about their kids playing with black kids, either. I read these books now and again, 50 years after I discovered them, and there are passages that still reduce me to rolling on the floor, laughing to tears.

    As for Huckleberry Finn: Would the "N" word be a bad word, if it weren't for this book? Among many other things, this book is about Huck's epiphany regarding Jim. He decides that Jim is a better man than most of the white people he has met on his trip down the Mississippi, and if helping Jim escape will mean he has to burn in Hell, so be it. I am not sure if this book had a huge influence in changing attitudes or if it was merely an indicator of the changing attitudes of the time. In any case, it does seem to recount life along the Mississippi in the 1840's very well. Twain was writing what he knew. It describes the casual brutality of slavery displayed by those who were otherwise good, kind people.
    Last edited by robm; 03-15-2017 at 01:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Little Black Sambo...
    Who was Indian, not African

    These books were written not long after Kipling wrote "the White Man's Burden." It was just assumed that nonwhites (in some cases non-English) were inferior.
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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Kipling's poem is actually titled "The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands". It was a poem welcoming the US to its new role as an imperial power, as a reminder that an empire isn't just about filling your boots with cash from the conquered country.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    I had some Roy Blakely books as well - probably 15 or so of the Boy Scout books. Not sure whatever happened to them...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    Kipling's poem is actually titled "The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands". It was a poem welcoming the US to its new role as an imperial power, as a reminder that an empire isn't just about filling your boots with cash from the conquered country.

    At that time (1900 give or take) there was never any question that white people were superior to "the colored races."



    And the poem was viewed as follows when it was published:

    The imperialist interpretation of "The White Man's Burden" (1899) proposes that the white man has a moral obligation to rule the non-white peoples of the Earth, whilst encouraging their economic, cultural, and social progress through colonialism.[13]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man%27s_Burden

    z



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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Sam Clemens is as much a reporter of his times as he is a novelist. See if you can find his writings about the Belgians in the Congo.
    “What, Me Worry?". -. A. E. Newman

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    I was lucky, growing up here in Canada. I got to read both British and American books. Oor Wullie, The Broons, Collins Boy's Annual and other British school fiction, Roy Blakeley and other Boy Scout novels, Penrod, Robert A. Heinlein, Spiderman, Kipling, Twain, Freddy the Pig, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Buchan, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Tolkien, Zelazny, Asimov, Arthur Ransome, A.A. Milne. Just about everything from 1850 on.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    The imperialist interpretation of "The White Man's Burden" (1899) proposes that the white man has a moral obligation to rule the non-white peoples of the Earth, whilst encouraging their economic, cultural, and social progress through colonialism.[
    I have read a lot of Kipling. My overall impression is he believed that if you are going to conquer a country, then you are obliged to encourage "their economic, etc,". The white race has no God-given right to take over the world, but if we do, we have to do it properly. And since he was dealing with an established fact (the British Empire), he didn't write much about what would happen if it didn't exist, just about what it had a moral obligation to do in return for its existence. He advocated for doing the least harm, and the most good.

    But at the same time, he was writing what would sell, and often that meant reflecting current opinion.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    I have read a lot of Kipling. My overall impression is he believed that if you are going to conquer a country, then you are obliged to encourage "their economic, etc,". The white race has no God-given right to take over the world, but if we do, we have to do it properly. And since he was dealing with an established fact (the British Empire), he didn't write much about what would happen if it didn't exist, just about what it had a moral obligation to do in return for its existence. He advocated for doing the least harm, and the most good.

    But at the same time, he was writing what would sell, and often that meant reflecting current opinion.
    Dickens sold well, but did not write to reflect current opinion. I am not sure that Kipling did either.

    Then there was Swift and Punch magazine, who both satarised current opinion.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Prejudice in old books?

    I sometimes think of the stories my grandmother would read me when I went to bed. Wow! Different times.
    there's no prejudice in today's books (rolling eyes)
    The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
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    Default Re: Prejudice and propaganda in a boys adventurebook

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Allen View Post
    there's no prejudice in today's books (rolling eyes)
    Of course there is prejudice in today's books. And a hundred years from now people will be commenting on them the way we're commenting on these books
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