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Quotes / Fair for Its Day

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"Time is the great legalizer, even in the field of morals."

"It's innocent in the same way your grandparents accidentally slipping in racial slurs is innocent. They don't know any better."

"It's our own fault. The unfortunate downside of the wave of 'ist' and 'X studies' approaches. Not that these have been by and large negative; the work they did in opening up how we think about art and power is invaluable. But so much of the work that all of them — feminist theory, queer theory, disability studies, post-colonialist theory, the lot of them — was to show us the seedy and uncomfortable underbelly of 'classic' texts. The problem is that now we know to use this approach, and it becomes increasingly difficult to actually enjoy anything."

"“Slater in an apron?” says Zack, “He’ll be laughed back into the gym!” Just to be clear about what’s being sneered at here; the preparation of food. One of the basic tenements of survival as a carbon-based life-form.

The notion of a guy cooking being so comical, and the kitchen exclusively the domain of girls and pooves, is probably mystifying to younger audiences, but when I was a kid, around the time the show was airing, cookery was viewed as an effeminate pursuit. Along with hairdressing, it was a career choice that would give a dad a fatal aneurysm. Even venturing into the kitchen other than to ask your mam how much longer your tea was going to be, you aul’ bitch, or to have a slash in the sink, was tantamount to whipping your trousers down right there in the living room and camply directing another man’s william right up your pipe. Don’t blame Zack for the crimes of the 1980’s, where chefs were presumed to be homosexuals, before they reinvented themselves as terrifying ogre-men pretending to be really, really angry all the time, in the wake of Gordon Ramsay screaming the bricks from the walls just because someone’s flan was pointing north instead of south or some-such other bollocks."
Stuart Millard on Saved by the Bell, So Excited, So Scared

"The Justice Society was the very first superhero team, and they have the antiquated views on race to prove it. Their gargantuan roster was made up of Dr. Fate, The Spectre, Starman, Sandman, Hawkman, Johnny Thunderbolt, and The Atom! With all those heroic crime fighters on one team, wouldn't it be something if one brave comedy writer could find a panel of every single one of them screaming offensive things?"

"The ending is a little pat, but at least it’s a message of tolerance. A message of tolerance delivered by a man whose face has been blacked-up. Oh, my head hurts."
Adventures With the Wife in Space, "The Savages"

"If it is true that Conrad would have us see...imperialism — as doomed by impossible ambition, it is also true that Conrad writes as a man in whom a Western view of the non-Western world is so deeply ingrained that it blinds him to other histories, other cultures, other aspirations. All Conrad can see is a world dominated by the West, and — of equal importance — a world in which every opposition to the West only confirms its wicked power...Conrad was both an anti-imperialist and an imperialist — progressive when it came to rendering the self-confirming, self-deluding corruption of the West’s colonial drive; reactionary in his inability to imagine that [the natives] could ever have had a meaningful existence of its own, which the imperialists had violently disturbed. But lest we think patronizingly of Conrad as merely the creature of his own time, we had better note that we today appear to show no particular advance on his views. Conrad was able at least to discern the evil and utter madness of imperialism, something many of our writers and certainly our government is still unable to perceive. Conrad had the wherewithal to recognize that no imperial scheme — including “philanthropic” ones such as “making the world safe for democracy” — ever succeeds."
Edward Said, Through Gringo Eyes: With Conrad in Latin America.

“For its time, the portrayal of the crows [in Dumbo] was almost progressive. The crows band together and help Dumbo learn to fly, so they’re counted among the heroes of the film. Remember, this was just a couple years after somebody introduced a law to outlaw lynching, and Congress voted it down. So, you know, you take what you can get.”

"He was a great partner. Smart, loyal... homophobic, but not racist. In those days that was pretty good."
Captain Raymond Holtnote , Brooklyn Nine-Nine


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