"The sexiest rain dance ever": Cyanide and Happiness cartoon

In cartoons, cyanide and happiness, headdress, rain dance, warbonnet by Adrienne K.7 Comments

It took me a minute to even get the joke in this cartoon. Let’s break it down:
We all know all Indians do rain dances, right? (riiiight)
And high roller strip club patrons “make it rain” by throwing money up in the air so it falls down like rain on the stripper. 
Therefore, it’s funny, get it? 
When they dance, it’s making it rain (cause they’re Native), but instead of rain, it’s money (cause they’re a stripper)! 
ZOMG so funny. 
And all the stereotypes managed to be jam packed in one little cartoon (caution: sarcasm ahead):

  • The lovely warbonnet. since we all know ALL Natives wear those (especially the women, duh)  
  • The rain dance.  I mean, at least for me anyway, I can’t even bust a move outside without running the risk of starting a thunderstorm! It’s a real problem. No outdoor wedding for me. 
  • The tomahawk. Cause we know Natives are war-like people that like to scalp teh whitez (watch me as I war whoop! Awooo!) 
  • The casinos. Cause we ALL are super rich and make lots and lots of untaxed money! And we steal it all from you!

And on a serious note (/sarcasm):

  • The bikini and stripper theme generally, cause Native women haven’t been sexualized enough throughout history. Makes me so mad. 

Don’t you dare get on my case about “it’s a comic, it’s just a joke, it’s satire”–it’s not. Images like these are what create the false stereotypes to which Native people are expected to ascribe. Because if all of the world thinks that Indians wear headdresses, carry tomahawks, do rain dances, or own casinos; it erases our current existence as a diverse group of contemporary people living contemporary lives and trivializes the continued struggles of Native peoples. Just because a tribe has a casino doesn’t mean everything is all better after 500+ years of mistreatment and historical trauma.

And if anyone is still confused about “making it rain,” the first time I remember hearing the term in pop culture was this song from Fat Joe and Lil Wayne (I put the clean version, but there’s still lots shots of strippers, so perhaps NSFW? I mean, unless you work somewhere where watching music videos of bikini clad girls on stripper poles is accepted viewing…):

The original cartoon: http://www.explosm.net/comics/2048/

UPDATE: For information on the “satire defense” see this piece from Rob Schmidt over at Blue Corn Comics: http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com/2010/05/okay-to-stereotype-in-satires.html
(Thanks Leah and Yazzie!) 
  • ….wow. I mean, it’s a satire site.
    You knew that right?
    You can get mad and say that “Images like these are what create the false stereotypes to which Native people are expected to ascribe” but, I honestly don’t think so. Pocahontes, and peter pan and shitty art, and crappy offensive westerns, and offensive books (and! and! and!) are what is making this happen.

    And if you think that my point isn’t valid because I am NOT native, that’s fine. I understand that. But even as a (very white) turkish girl, people make fun of my culture, and it bothers me. People accuse ME of being apart of KILLING armanians.(I mean wtf!? And it’s just white kids who listen to SoaD) But I can laugh (or at the very least have neutral feelings) about a site thats ONE HUGE joke, that’s MEANT to offend people.

    Im just saying. xoxo Welcome to the internet, by the way.

  • I just realized I sounded bitchy. Meh, I wish there was a way to convey an upbeat, “let’s discuss!” attitude.

  • haha, thanks for that follow up comment. I found this article from Rob Schmidt at Blue Corn Comics, and I think it looks at the stereotypes-as-satire issue pretty well. http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com/2010/05/okay-to-stereotype-in-satires.html

    (I posted it at the end of the post as an update too)

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  • I thought about this post a lot. And then started thinking about the over 500 Aboriginal women that have gone missing/been murdered in Canada since 2000. They are mostly young and mostly victims of sexual violence. (some problematic discourse, but this will give the general idea: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/with-more-than-500-aboriginal-women-missing-action-is-overdue/article1274074/)

    The intent may have been to be satirical, but I do not find this particular edition of the cartoon wittily insightful or funny… Just seems plain old ignorant and hurtful.

  • These types of jokes often rest on the idea that racism no longer exists, and that we can now joke about others in an offensive way – and it’s cool, because we’re all equal now!

    Nope. Your “satire” doesn’t shock me and nothing you can say will convince me that you are not a racist. Anti-racists don’t make these “jokes”.