I’ve got “I wanna be like you” from Disney’s The Jungle Book stuck in my head. On one hand it’s fun to have the jaunty tune on rotation in my brain, lighting up all the nostalgic pleasure centres and generally uplifting my mood. On the other hand I can’t get the thought of its possibly unintentional implied racism from seeping through. I mean, King Louie is obviously intended to be black in classical Disney racist style, right? He’s smooth, talks jive and sings scat. He also has a deep desire to “walk like you” in reference to Mowgli. The thought of personifying a simian as a black dude coveting Mowgli’s human status can’t be ignored, right? He’s just a hop away from the cultural connotations of the hyenas in Lion King. Or am I just projecting my inner racist? It’s not something I’ve really had a lot of experience with, to be honest. It’s odd, but I’ve ended up with a reasonably whitewashed circle of friends. Not through any manner of preference or anything, but it just so happens that the core of my friend group all happen to be Caucasians of differing descent.
Weird. It’s not something I’ve really taken much stock of til’ now. Back through school I had a ton of friends from a multitude of cultural backgrounds and now that seems to have dissipated. I mean, I practically spent my teen years half-living with Chung’s family, though I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like to. You’d think in Rotorua with a much larger Maori population I would’ve made a couple of friends with at least some interesting cultural heritage. Then again I would’ve had to make some friends in Vegas full-stop for that to be relevant. It’s funny, but the more I talk about it the more racist I feel. Is that typical white guilt? It’s not like I’ve got preconceived biases, but my social circles seem to have culturally thinned out over the years. It’s peculiar where the mind goes between thoughts. I’m now wondering whether I should’ve been going out to try and meet people of different ethnicities? But that smacks of tokenism and seems racist in itself. I mean, you meet the people you meet, I guess. It’s a little sad that I don’t have widened cultural interactions, but I guess most of the jobs I’ve been in over the past couple of years have been pretty solitary.
Any of my production engineer stuff really only led me to work with the creatives, at Sky TV I was primarily working on my own and at the Chapman Archive I’ve definitely kept to myself. I’ve got the thought stuck in my mind now that I’ve somehow stuffed up by not meeting more people, which is simultaneously being appeased by the Will Hunting-esque “it’s not your fault” mantra from my other hemisphere. Maybe? I’m not too sure how hemispheres communicate, if they do or how a brain holds conversations within itself. I’m guessing there are a fuckton of concurrent discussions happening at every moment up in there, but you only hear the ones you pay attention to. I can barely hear them over The Jungle Book soundtrack on repeat.
Too bad it’s not Mulan‘s “I’ll make a man out of you”, easily the best Disney song out there. Higher tier than “A Whole New World” even, no joke. There’s something about Mulan‘s best montage song that gets you really fired up. I can see myself using it as some would Trappt‘s “Headstrong”, before an important performance, job interview or promising date. Maybe once Google Glasses reach their next step as some kind of contacts based ocular computer I’ll be able to wire my favourite Mulan track straight to my brain while I’m waiting. They’ll never see me coming, so full of bravado that my handshake would crush mountains. My beaming self-assured smile would melt the polar ice caps and my positive aura would be visible from space. Like Boris from Goldeneye, I would be invincible (but hopefully attract a more sustainable (but less lucrative) fate). Oh Mulan, how “I wanna be like you”.