2013, the Year in WTF? Part I: Happy Meals, Bad Jokes and Tonto-Mania
The year 2013 is almost in the books, and it was another good one for ignorance, stupidity, and outright racism. The run-up to The Lone Ranger -- the blockbuster reboot nobody demanded -- provided almost daily misadventures in cutural foul-ups, while tone-deaf public figures, advertising agencies and entertainers played Drunk Uncle all year long. Here are some of the best worst stories we reported on from the first six months of 2013. And believe it or not, this foolishness and insensitivity is 100% Dan Snyder-free!
Salute to Minstrelsy
The wearing of blackface has been a no-no at the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia for nearly 50 years. Redface seems to be A-OK though, as demonstrated by the Quaker City String Band, which won second place for an Indian-themed dance number -- complete with faces that were literally painted red.
Probably Gets Free Tickets to Games
Justin Bieber, who irked Natives in 2012 with a remark about getting "free gas" because of theorized Native heritage, got an Indian head tattoo he dedicated to his grandfather. Was his grandfather part Indian? No, it was a hockey thing.
What Kind of Country Do We Live in When You Can't Make Fun of Indians?
New York politician Dov Hikind caught flak for wearing blackface at a Purim party he hosted; when protesting what he saw as "political correctness to the absurd," he attempted a joke that didn't do him any favors: "Next year I was thinking I’d be an Indian. But you know, I’ve changed my mind ... Somebody will be offended." Says the guy who wore blackface.
For Smart Kids, That's Pretty Dumb
A fraternity at Duke University went ahead with a widely criticized Asian-themed soiree, and was, unsurprisingly, suspended by its parent organization.
In Other News, Burlesque Is Still a Thing
Burlesque dancer Tomahawk Tassels finally hung up her buckskin bikini.
Franchise Brings Back Racist Image, Takes Stand Against Self
The Atlanta Braves had planned to put the "screaming savage" mascot, last seen in 1989, on official 2013 caps, even going so far as to include the design in the 2013 media guide, but wisely reconsidered.
What Happened -- Run Out of Fat Jokes?
Banter on the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly turned unfunny -- to the ears of many Natives, anyway -- when actress Rondi Reed delivered the line "Arizona? Why would I go to Arizona? It's nothing but a furnace full of drunk Indians."
But the Picture Was Black and White
Actress Michelle Williams wore braids and feathers in a photo taken for AnOther Magazine, a styling choice that was criticized as redface.
Don't Know Much About History
Christian evangelist David Barton explained that King Philip's War was about "ending torture," saying that "we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said 'oh, got the point.'"
Nominal Lone Ranger star Armie Hammer said American Indians think Johnny Depp playing Tonto is "awesome."
A Lot of Gaul
Sacred Hopi katsinam were auctioned in Paris despite international efforts to stop the sale.
A Paris-based advertising firm leaked designs for Native American Happy Meal characters.
The video for "Blowed," by Native rapper Chief featuring Snoop Dogg, featured the most dope-smoking, bikini-wearing Pocahotties -- ever. We don't even know what the old record for number of dope-smoking bikini-wearing Pocahotties was, but Chief shattered it.
My Dead-Bird Headdress Is Off to You All
Johnny Depp opened the 30th Gathering of Nations pow wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a creepy taped message to attendees that began "Greetings and salutations, my brothers and sisters." It was weird, but proved to be great fodder for comedian Tito Ybarra's parody clip "Phat Johnny Depp."
A-side, B-side, Genocide
The title and cover art for "Indian Kill," an EP by DJ TAI, provoked harsh criticism led by DJ NDN of A Tribe Called Red, and earned a swift apology.
Tonto's Giant Whats?
An ICTMN contributor tipped us to a curio from Johnny Depp's past that seemed suddenly relevant. The soundtrack to the 2003 film Once Upon a Time in Mexico features a track by Depp and some musician friends playing as Tonto's Giant Nuts.
The New York Daily News uncovered a cringe-worthy trend: Urban Hipster Tipis.
This Is No Time to Celebrate, Kid
Student Chelsey Ramer, of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, was fined $1,000 for wearing a feather at her high school graduation.
Meet the New South, Same as the Old South
TV chef Paula Deen lost her Food Network gig for telling racist jokes and using the n-word in the workplace. Wait, that's not ok?
Fully Authentic and Official Inaccurate Indian
Ensuring that Johnny Depp's Tonto will continue to confuse white children for months if not years after the movie's release, Disney introduced the Tonto Halloween costume, dead bird and all.
You're Righting It Wrong
Johnny Depp told Total Film magazine that his Tonto was an effort to "right the wrongs of the past."
"You're Still Stereotypes, Man"
Johnny Depp told Rolling Stone that Tonto was his way of telling Native youth that "You're still warriors, man."
Armie Hammer made the argument that Johnny Depp could play Tonto even though he is not an Indian because he played Edward Scissorhands even though he does not have scissors for hands.
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