At one point in Duck Soup, one of the wisecracking Marx brothers said something like “My father was headstrong. My mother was armstrong. The Armstrongs met the Headstrongs and that’s how darkies were born!”
What the heck does that mean? Just wondering…
Does it make enough sense to be racist?
I’m just going to assume its racist becuase the word, “darkies” was in it (and it was 1933), but I don’t get it either.
I think he may be referring to a black eye. Strong arm meets the strong head. You get a dark eye.
Actually, the most offensive part comes in the form of a song. All Gods Chillun’ got Guns
Also, I googled this and found more information.
“Shortly before this DVD set hit the streets, a pre-release report by nationally syndicated entertainment columnist Marilyn Beck stated that “racially-offensive material” would be edited from this edition of Duck Soup. Specifically, material “that has been deplored and debated in the ’We’re Going to War’ production number.” Beck didn’t say what the exact cut was, or who’s doing all that deploring and debating, though presumably she meant the “All God’s Chillun Got Guns” section. The possibility of new contextually obtuse editing is bad enough. What made her column even more galling was the satisfied tone in her statement that such a “well-made edit makes the film a pure zany joy without an ugly blot in it to spoil the fun.” It’s a pleasure to report that Marilyn Beck is full of it. No such edits exist in this edition. Another potentially sensitive moment in the film — Groucho’s punchline, “and that’s why darkies were born,” a dated reference to a popular song from the ’30s — is also still intact"
Never really paid attention to a lot of that stuff. My self being a descendant of several races. I’ll most likely be trashing my Marx brothers films after further review. Glad this was brought to my attention.
Don’t be such a grouch…ooooooooooo
The PC police strike again.
I’m sure half the jokes in current comedies will be considered offensive eighty years from now, but I hope my great grandkids can watch them the way they were shot.
I don’t think they should be edited. They should be left as is.
People talking about racist language should be silenced in order to protect free speech!
Nothing has been edited. Things have in fact been kept the way they are. It doesn’t do anyone any good to try and cover up things like this.
Yeah—it’a a lousy joke (even by vaudeville. standards), but it’s a song reference, and the song itself is actual honorific of black experience in a clumsy sort of way. In fact, the great Paul Robeson recorded a version:
Someone had to pick the cotton,
Someone had to pick the corn,
Someone had to slave and be able to sing,
That’s why darkies were born;
Someone had to laugh at trouble,
Though he was tired and worn,
Had to be contented with any old thing,
That’s why darkies were born;
Sing, sing, sing when you’re weary and
Sing when you’re blue,
Sing, sing, that’s what you taught
All the white folks to do;
Someone had to fight the Devil,
Shout about Gabriel’s Horn,
Someone had to stoke the train
That would bring God’s children to green pastures,
That’s why darkies were born.
“I’m sure half the jokes in current comedies will be considered offensive eighty years from now, but I hope my great grandkids can watch them the way they were shot.”
One of the most interesting Drawn Together episodes is where the contemporary black caricature accidentally reverts into an early 19th century black caricature, and is hunted down by the PC police. The PC police are eliminating all references to “Oh lordy lordy!” but whenever she turns back into, “I ain’t trippin’!” they’re fine with her. Another instance of a show that takes its cake and eats it too, as it gets to then continue having the contemporary black caricature despite admitting that caricatures reveal how silly the perspectives of the caricaturists are.
Or, as one of my fellow undergrads once said, “Adult Swim is basically the modern document of race relations in America.” Yup. One day we’ll look back at that stuff and think, “Oooooooooo….. sharp intake of breath.” And I say that while enjoying many Adult Swim cartoons.
Weird – even with the song reference, I still don’t understand what darkies have to do with headstrongs or armstrongs.
Also, how is “all God’s chilluns got guns” offensive?
I’m guessing it’s because the black slaves were strong workers (armstrong) as well as being smart (headstrong) put those two together and you get darkies (black people); strong smart people, though it uses the term darkies which is offensive in modern day tongue it wasn’t meant that way in the 30’s. Times have changed.
I hope that answers your questions from a year ago x)
also a whole bunch of offensive stuff has been cut out of many old hollywood films.
you just don’t know about it
head·strong (hdstrông, -strng)
1. Determined to have one’s own way; stubbornly and often recklessly willful. See Synonyms at obstinate, unruly.
2. Resulting from willfulness and obstinacy.
Well, I dunno about “racist,” but here’s the relation to race—-it’s a parody of this:
which is an old black spiritual.