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willy wonka and his golden tickets

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Jul. 14th, 2005 | 02:24 pm
posted by: acynicalcandy in _discussion

my friend of mine just pointed out how racist willy wonka is for placing all the golden tickets in places where kids/people are predominantly caucasion/white/anglo saxon.

what are your thoughts and views of willy wonka?



***i know it's a book. i know roald dahl wrote it. i know it's fictional.

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Comments {26}

(no subject)

from: feei
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
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"Roald Dahl's father, Harald Dahl, immigrated to England from Norway around the turn of the century (1900). Not long after the death of his first wife, he took a trip back to Norway in hopes of finding a wife to help him raise his young son and daughter. He married Sofie Magdalene Hesselberg in 1911 and the couple moved to Dahl's home in Llandaff, Wales."

How is it racist? At the turn of the century there were little non-caucasian people living in the UK and everyone was considered anglo-saxon.

This whole racist idea is crap. Were the Grimm brothers racist for not gaving any asian or african people in their stories? Every country has their fairy tales. I'm sure Chinese people don't consider their authors racist for not including white people in their stories.

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d

(no subject)

from: prizypussypants
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC)
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What feei said.

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(no subject)

from: rubberband45
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Charlie and the Chocolate factory isn't a fairy tale though.

I think that it'd have been nice if there was a little more ethnic diversity in the story, although I wouldn't say that the story is rascist without it.

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(no subject)

from: feei
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
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The world was not open to ethnic diversity in the early 1900s.

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(no subject)

from: rubberband45
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
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I guess that that is true.

It still would have been nice though.

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(no subject)

from: epictetus_rex
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
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My god.

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curium

(no subject)

from: acynicalcandy
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC)
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wow, don't get soo offended. i was talkin in terms of willy wonka not the author. i understand it's children book and that whole diatribe of dahl's family tree was unnecessary.

please keep an open mind. i thought it was funny to think about. because he(willy wonka) did place the golden tickets around the world.

it's just that my friend and i noticed in the new 'charlie and chocolate factory' trailor there was a whole bunch of asian kids hoarding to get the wonka bars.

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curium

(no subject)

from: acynicalcandy
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
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and that's what sparked our interest/curiosity about mr. wonka. hence, we thought he was a racist. absolutly nothing against the author.

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Pei-Want and the Chocolate Factory?: The Author Responds (Part I)

from: anonymous
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
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Part I of II
(This is a reply to the discussion written by the "friend" alluded to in the original post, who goes by the pseudonym Pimpa Limpa)

The issue before the house is this. Does the fact that Wonka’s golden tickets turned up in the candy wrappings of exclusively white children (Anglo-American white children, to be specific, with the sole exception of the Germanic Augustus Gloop) allow one to induce anything about Wonka’s beliefs on race?

The first reply from feei is basically irrelevant. She argues that when Dahl’s parents immigrated to England at the turn of the century “there were little [sic] non-Caucasian people living in the UK and everyone was considered Anglo-Saxon,” and hence Dahl had demographic-based reasons for excluding non-whites from the splendors of Wonka’s factory. Now I’m not sure if the novel takes place at the turn of the century (I’ve never read it), but the issue is moot in any case. Feei forgot to consider the fact that the contest was world wide, and so restricting the discussion to England gets us nowhere.

But feei brings up another interesting point. “Were the Grimm brothers racist for not having any asian or african people in their stories,” she asks. Well, no. But that’s also irrelevant. The Grimm brothers set out to collect folk tales from the region of Europe now known as Germany, and so one would expect the characters in those stories to look something like German people (although I’m not sure if the Grimm brothers included illustrations in their original edition – if not, you’re free to use your imaginations, just like some African Americans put up black Santa’s at Christmas). I mean really, have you ever met a Korean named Hansel or Gretel? Or a Nubian princess named Snow White? In any case, Dahl was a mid-twentieth century writer, and so holding him to 19th century standards makes no sense.

Other people have suggested what I consider the best course of action, that is, to exclude discussion of Roald Dahl the historical figure and focus instead on the fictional world of the story itself. In that case, one question presents itself like a burning Sphinx, a terrible riddle demanding to be solved. That question, namely, is this. Considering the fact that only about 1 in 5 people in the world qualify as White/Caucasian (the populations of Europe and North America), how is it that all five of the ticket holders are white kids? Now I realize that if you adjust for economic factors (the kinds of people who can afford bulk amounts of chocolate bars, etc.) the numbers come out a little different. But c’mon – all five!?


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Pei-Want and the Chocolate Factory?: The Author Responds (Part II)

from: anonymous
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 06:58 am (UTC)
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Part II of II
(This is a reply to the discussion written by the "friend" alluded to in the original post, who goes by the name Pimpa Limpa)

It’s an outrageous figure, a practically impossible statistic, compounded by the fact that Wonka presumably has discretion over where the Golden Tickets are shipped. What, he couldn’t have sent one to Dubai? Were the children of Mexico City and Beijing deemed unworthy? I wouldn’t be surprised if an ACLU march were being conducted behind the crowds of people cheering Wonka’s reemergence after a decade of self-imposed exile.

Epictetus brings up a good point. He says that in order for us to consider Wonka a true racist, we would have to demonstrate that he believes in the inherent superiority of one race over another. So just because only white kids get to visit the factory doesn’t imply that Wonka thinks they’re better than non-whites, right? Maybe. But consider his motives: he’s looking for the perfect child to whom he can pass the baton, an heir to his factory and fortune. Could it be that he sent the golden tickets to white regions of the world in order to ensure a predominantly blonde hair and blue-eyed pool of candidates? Or maybe he just thought that Pei-Wang and the Chocolate Factory had a bad ring to it, that Julio Luis Lopez Gonzales Bars would be a hard sell on the world market.

Giving Wonka the benefit of the doubt, we might follow Epictetus and consider him “a kind of old-worldish industrial-revolution era, where it is unlikely that his candy bars would be shipped to Africa, South America or the Orient.” I suppose we’d have to consult the book on this matter; only then could we hand down the final verdict on Willy Wonka and the Race Question.

Personally, I have my own thoughts on the matter. I mean, much ink has been spilled over Wonka’s alleged exploitation of the Oompa Loompas, but can I really be the only one to have considered a connection between the industrialized mass murders carried out by 20th century fascist regimes and the manufacture of ever-lasting gobstoppers? Where did Wonka get all that machinery, anyway?

--Pimpa Limpa

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Yambigue Mboto

Re: Pei-Want and the Chocolate Factory?: The Author Responds (Part II)

from: george_london
date: Jul. 16th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
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If the point the golden tickets was to find someone to take the helm of the chocolate factory, wouldn't it make sense that he would choose someone culturally similar to him?

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jeremy_g2g

(no subject)

from: jeremy_g2g
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm, last I check, the 1960's isn't considered "in the early 1900s".

While, I am not one to call "OMG!!11!1racsist!!!11!11", I find it probable that Roald Dahl was racist to a degree, not that this was anything but normal for his time.

Also, interesting to note, is this.
http://www.roalddahlfans.com/books/charoompa.php

Is the reason you are being so defensive because Charlie and the Chocolate Factory played a large part in your childhood? Can you not stand to hear your childhood fantasies come under attack?

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jeremy_g2g

(no subject)

from: jeremy_g2g
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, that was posted to Feei.

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(no subject)

from: epictetus_rex
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC)
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Please note: racism is not what you seem to think it is. In order for him to have been a racist, he would have had to believe in the inherent superiority of one race over another. Importing some black pygmies from Africa and having them live happily in your factory does not really fit that bill... try again.

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jeremy_g2g

(no subject)

from: jeremy_g2g
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 04:00 am (UTC)
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Oh, I don't mean he was an adamant rascist, but passively so. I even have rascist leanings, if those reaction tests have any worth. But, if he had written that today, most of his readers would be the children of KKK members.

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absentesse

(no subject)

from: absentesse
date: Jul. 14th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)
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I agree with many of the other posts here. I think people often remove context from their judgement of books and art in general. Perhaps the politically coreect world we live in today that includes everyone (theoretically) isn't the world which produced Willy Wonka. And further, did it occur to you that in order for certain books to be sucessful, they have to be accesible to the audience they are being aimed at - and perhaps the audience at that period of time would not have been able to register and appreciate ethnic diversity if their communities are predominately white anglo saxon. I think using the word racist is way over the line in this instance.

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Nova Usagi

(no subject)

from: nova_usagi
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC)
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Maybe he did that so he wouldn't have to account for all the kids coming from totally different places, yet all knwoing the same language?

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(no subject)

from: epictetus_rex
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 03:56 am (UTC)
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Please look up the definition of racism. Thanks.

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curium

you guys are definitly irked.

from: acynicalcandy
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
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rac·ism n.

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

and i would honestly say that willy wonka would have had a lot of say on where the golden tickets were to be placed. and if so, it does look like he did not place it in places we would deem ethnic. so i say that's a form of racial discrimination. what do you think?

::of course this is all speculation and that i only came up with this idea from what i perceived::

note:: there's no need to be condescending, either. Thanks.

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Re: you guys are definitly irked.

from: epictetus_rex
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 04:26 am (UTC)
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If we couldn't be condescending, the internet would be reeeeealy boring. I am especially more condescending because of the number of idiots in this thread who are agreeing with this nonsense.

You're suggesting that having five golden tickets for a free factory tour, and having them in places where his candy is distributed somehow fits (2) of the definition of racism? If we're really only talking about wonka and not dahl as you claim, then let's be realistic: his character exists in a kind of old-worldish industrial-revolution era where it is unlikely that his candy bars would be shipped to Africa, South America or the Orient.

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curium

Re: you guys are definitly irked.

from: acynicalcandy
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
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well if that's the case that makes more sense then any other justification. i'm not disagreeing with anybody here.

however, my post stemmed from watching the 'charlie and chocolate factory' trailor and i saw a bunch of asian kids grabbing wonka bars. that's why i asked. truely, i have no malicious intent to bring down the story.

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gssq

Re: you guys are definitly irked.

from: gssq
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 05:09 am (UTC)
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So maybe no non-White kids got the tickets because:

1) They didn't buy into this whole Fat White Imperialist Pig Scum marketing nonsense, safely insulated by their "Asian Values"

2) They don't like to eat candy

3) They're too poor to eat candy

4) The distribution network doesn't reach their countries

5) They're plain unlucky

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jeremy_g2g

Re: you guys are definitly irked.

from: jeremy_g2g
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 04:55 am (UTC)
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Actually, I would honestly say that the tickets would probably be packaged up randomly, and shipped wherever they were bought. Thus, it only made sense that the Golden Tickets were found my white people, because chance has no afirmative action.

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jeremy_g2g

(no subject)

from: jeremy_g2g
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
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OMG!!1!1 Willy Wonka is a Social Darwinist! People who could afford to buy more candy bars could buy a larger share of the total number of candy-bars, thus increasing their chances of winning! So, people with more money were more likely to win. Obviously, this means that Wonka believed the children of the wealthy were better off inheriting his factory!


...


First, lets say that the tickets went by chance.

Today, a few of the tickets would have had a good chance of ending up in non-white hands. This would have been less so in the 60's. Still not enough? Well, when does this novel actually take place. I admit, I don't know much about the economic condition of the UK in the 60's, but I would assume that it would be at least a little better off than the cabbage water diet which Charlie subsided on (unless the book differs from the movie, I haven't read it, and I don't plan to just for the sake of this argument). So, I think we can assume that this didn't take place in the 60's, but before, when it would be even more unlikely that non-white people would be buying candy in bulk.

Let's say, now, that Wonka did choose where to send the tickets. He could have the following, non-racist, reasons to send it only to white-dominated countries.

He could have wanted people who spoke English. This doesn't explain why he sent one to Germany, though. One must admit, however, that the story would be a little strained if Charley spoke only Chinese.

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the mad gangsta!

(no subject)

from: listentothis42
date: Jul. 15th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
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well considering the movie's a 2005 remake and for the past several years filmmakers have been concerned with race in films, one would think that at least one of the kids who gets a ticket was african american.

i haven't seen all of the trailers but i did see an ad featuring the main characters and they were all white, even though the reviews of the film state that willy wonka "placed his golden tickets all over the world".

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jeremy_g2g

(no subject)

from: jeremy_g2g
date: Jul. 16th, 2005 02:24 am (UTC)
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The only character that could have been made black withought calls of "ZOMG!!1! Rascist!!11!" would be Charlie himself.

Make Augustus black? You just called all black people fat.
Make Violet black? You just called all black people annoying and bad-manenered.
Make Mike black? You just called all black people lazy.
Make Veruca black? Ha, thats a good one.

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