ChrisMaverick dotcom

If you’re going to “well, actually…” racism, make sure you pay attention to the “actually” part…

Sometimes I see dumb shit on the internet. Most of the time I ignore it. I know that might come as a surprise to some people, because it certain *feels* like I argue about a lot of dumb shit. But the honest truth is, there’s so much dumb shit out there that I just can’t get to all of it… There’s just soooooo much dumb shit on the internet… like, it’s full of it. You’d almost think that the internet was invented solely for the purpose of posting dumb shit. But that’s dumb. Everyone knows that the internet’s primary purpose is porn… and kitten videos.

Anyway, sometimes I come across some dumb shit that is just so dumb and so shitty that it just has to be addressed. This is one of those times. I saw this meme on Facebook a couple of hours ago, and decided to tell the individual I saw share it just how dumb it was and why. And then it continued to bother me, so I decided to go and post why it was dumb on the meme creator’s page. But I’m sure I’ll be drowned out there by her wackadoo echo chamber. So it continued to bother me. So, in order to alleviate the stench of dumb shit that is just floating around in my brain I’m just going to rant about it now.

The meme in question has a picture of a black woman doing her best “Whatchu’ Talkin’ about, Willis?!?!” Face and pointing to a quote that says;

“You can feel free to call me an Uncle Tom. It does not affect me, you know why? Because I actually read the book; Uncle Tom was the hero.”

-Candace Owens

THIS IS SOME DUMB SHIT RIGHT HERE!

Ok, so the meme in question was posted by Candace Owens, a “conservative blogger and journalist.” It’s a meme of her… quoting herself… I’m not going to even make fun of that… other than to say that when you’re posting inspirational quotes… FROM YOURSELF to your YOUR OWN PAGE as memes…. that’s just… well, it’s special. And I’m not going to make fun of Candace’s politics either. I don’t feel like every black person needs to be liberal. If you want to be politically conservative, then you do you, girlfriend!

And most importantly, I don’t want to jump down her throat for being an “Uncle Tom.” That’s a shitty insult. And I feel bad for her being called that. Unfortunately, we live in a world where black people are often chastised for being too intelligent, too proper or too eloquent. We live in a world where, when your skin doesn’t pass the paper bag test, it’s just as much of a obstacle in some circles to be educated or well-spoken as it is an advantage. It’s a shitty world. And I have dealt with it personally. I frequently deal with it personally. Ironically, many of the people who might claim that systemic racism doesn’t exist would point to me and my personal success as proof. I imagine they probably point to the success of Ms. Owens here as well.

Fuck those people! I got where I am because I’m a fucking genius… and I’m fucking lucky. If I were white, I’d be president by now… of the planet.

But also fuck the people, white or black, who might criticize me or Ms. Owens for being who we are… She has just as much a right to be an “Uncle Tom” as she does to be a gangsta rapper. Like I said… you do you.

That, said… Candace… well, actually… WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?!?

I have serious doubts that you “actually read the book” Uncle Tom’s Cabin. And if you did, I don’t think you actually understood it. I’m actually not a Civil War lit era scholar. But I have read it. And lucky enough, several of my friends ARE Civil War lit scholars. So they might even be nice enough to sort of help you out here.

Tom is NOT the hero of the book! At least not in the way we usually use the world “hero.” Yes, he’s the title character… but he’s arguably not even the protagonist.  If anything Eliza is the hero… or maybe Little Eva. He’s a martyr. Tom believed in a doctrine of passive Christian non-resistance. He puts his faith in white people and in the system, believing that by being devout he will ultimately be set free in both body and spirit. And for all his troubles, do you know what actually happens to him? You should if you read the book… he dies in slavery! He is beaten to death by an evil slave owner after years in captivity, separated from his family who he never sees again. The “good” white slave owners who are trying to help him and set him free are too late and they fail… all while Eliza, another slave, who fights for her freedom and flees captivity in the face of many trials and dangers that face her, is able to escape and begin a new life for herself and her family.

Like… that’s literally the plot of the book! The whole fucking point is that “Tom is the best negro that a white man could possibly ask for, and in payment white people are really shitty to him and fucking kill him!” THAT’S THE POINT! Like, it’s not ambiguous. If anything, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is kind of an annoying read because it is SO morality heavy. It is famously melodramatic. The whole point of the book (written by a white woman, btw) is “hey fellow white people, the status quo sucks, so maybe don’t expect negroes to lay down and take our bullshit… because we’re fucking killing them… even the good ones!” The reason “Uncle Tom” became the insult it is today was because he represents a black man that accepts the institutionalized racism of the system in which he is placed to the point that he not only fails to help correct the system but can’t even save himself.

So i’m not saying you have to believe what I believe. I’m not saying you have to have my politics. I’m not saying that anyone should change the way they speak or carry themselves. But if you’re going to try and get all holier-than-thou and and pull some bullshit pedantry on something like this…  then best know your shit!

“Come hard with your good shit… and leave the dumb shit at home!”

-Christopher Maverick

32 comments for “If you’re going to “well, actually…” racism, make sure you pay attention to the “actually” part…

  1. avatar
    May 7, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    This almost feels like a trick, as in, “Let’s get people to share this and demonstrate how dumb they really are”.

    • avatar
      May 7, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      I would respect that more. But no. I’m pretty sure she thinks she makes sense.

    • avatar
      May 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Yeah, and I also suspect that she really thinks that Uncle Tom was the hero precisely because he didn’t make the trouble that Eliza did.

  2. avatar
    May 7, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Does she have a cabin?

  3. avatar
    May 8, 2018 at 5:37 am

    “He puts his faith in white people and in the system, believing that by being devout he will ultimately be set free in both body and spirit.”

    It’s been many years since I read this, but, didn’t he put his faith in god? So your assessment of her quote and the book seems to be skewed. However, as I mentioned, it has been many years since reading this book. Just curious.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 5:39 am

      I mean yes. I said “christian” and “devout”. I didn’t think I was being ambiguous there.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 5:49 am

      Chris Maverick So his faith and it’s impact are integral to the character of the book. Correct?

      So in referencing the book, she is correct, he was A heroic character as presented by the author. Interpretation aside, as there are many ways to interpret such things, as evidenced by the way in which “uncle tom” became an epithet.

      I don’t see her defiance as being “dumb”. But that is MY interpretation.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 5:53 am

      No… he’s not. Not in the way she means. He’s a tragic character. He’s pure victim. He’s a nice guy who believes in god, yes…. but nothing good comes of it. He’s a hero in the exact same way as uncle Ben Parker or Thomas and Martha Wayne.

      Like I get that you want to find a way that I’m wrong. But this is a pretty cut and dry book. It’s not really a book about Uncle Tom being a hero…. anymore than it’s about him having a cabin. The cabin is barely in it, in fact.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:07 am

      Again, as I said, I have not read the book in many years. So forgive my Wikipedia reference.

      “At this point Tom Loker returns to the story. Loker has changed as the result of being healed by the Quakers. George, Eliza, and Harry have also obtained their freedom after crossing into Canada. In Louisiana, Uncle Tom almost succumbs to hopelessness as his faith in God is tested by the hardships of the plantation. However, he has two visions, one of Jesus and one of Eva, which renew his resolve to remain a faithful Christian, even unto death. He encourages Cassy to escape, which she does, taking Emmeline with her. When Tom refuses to tell Legree where Cassy and Emmeline have gone, Legree orders his overseers to kill Tom. As Tom is dying, he forgives the overseers who savagely beat him. Humbled by the character of the man they have killed, both men become Christians. Very shortly before Tom’s death, George Shelby (Arthur Shelby’s son) arrives to buy Tom’s freedom but finds he is too late.”

      Are you saying that this is not what happens in the novel? If so, then I stand corrected.

      Otherwise, if that is in fact what happens in the book. Tom sacrifices himself to save Cassy and Emmeline, as well as has an impact on the hearts of the men who kill him.

      So it could, at the very least, be argued that he is not a “victim” but truly a martyr and as such, in terms of the story “heroic”.

      It seems to me that the author was advocating social justice in a time when there was little to be had. Perhaps with minimal effect, but I don’t believe that detracts from the intent.

      Point being, could his actions be interpreted as heroic? If so, her statement is not “dumb”. And neither is disagreeing with her. In an recent interview, I found her to be quite articulate and clear on her position. Agree or disagree with her politics, I question your interpretation of her statement based on what little I know(admittedly) at this point of a book I have not read in decades.

      I am looking for clarification, not argument. If what is presented by my source(even though it is generally subject to error) is correct, then I will simply disagree with your assessment and leave it at that.

      Our ideals do not align, so there is no need to debate such things. I am just looking for clarification of the source material.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:16 am

      again… I specifically said he was a martyr. I’m not saying he’s a bad person. In fact he’s specifically not. He is good and moral to a fault. But he’s not really positioned as a hero. The whole point of the book is that he is killed for not doing anything wrong. You’re supposed to feel bad for him. Not aspire to be him.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:27 am

      Chris Maverick OK, so that is your interpretation. Understood. Based on that interpretation of the character, your assessment of her tweet makes sense regardless of my agreement.

      Thank you for clarifying.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:38 am

      No. That’s literally the plot of the book. You get that you’re looking at my assessment of her argument that “she’s read the book and he’s the hero.” And I’m saying “no I’ve read the book. He’s the victim” and trying to make an argument based on the Wikipedia page right?

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:52 am

      Chris Maverick I am not making an argument based on anything. I asked you a question about what happens in the book. I referenced Wikipedia, as I mentioned, since I have not read it in many years. I asked YOU for clarification as to whether or not what I referenced was actually part of source material as you claim to have read it in recent memory. I thereby defer to you being more familiar with it at this time than I am.

      That said, my reference is correct in regards to content(i am not interested in interpretation), then her statement, also has merit. Regardless of how he got to that point, if, in the end, he sacrifices himself for others and his beliefs, then his conviction is indeed a heroic act.

      Even if he uses that conviction as a means by which to cope with being abused throughout the book, his sacrifice is ultimately the end of his journey as a character.

      So it is not about having faith in “white people”. It’s about having faith in general, and in his case in God.

      If that is not what happened in the book, and he simply relied on the mercy of his masters to get by, then you are indeed correct.

      But I am not interested in interpretation.

      Did he use his faith as a means to stand to his beliefs and endure. Yes or No.

      If yes, her assessment has merit.

      If no, her assessment does not.

      I have already stated multiple times that I have not read the book in many years. So I am in fact deferring to your knowledge of the material, hence my questions. Your opinion of the material is not required to answer my query.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 8:25 am

      No… he does not… or at least not in the way you mean… or she means. The entire point is that it’s a complex book. It’s taught over and over for a reason. An argument could be made that Tom’s purpose is to show that there is moral merit in standing to your christian ideology in the face of adversity. But that’s not what she is saying. And it’s not necessarily the best argument. But it could be made.

      It’s also not really what you’re saying.

      Tom is neither hero nor protagonist. He has no real journey (other than being sold in the very beginning of the book). He has no character arc. He is static… because that is the whole point of him being there. His actions have very In literary terms, he’s more positioned as an object. He’s an objective for other characters.

      If you don’t know the book, it’s hard to explain…. but he’s a hero in the same way that say Zelda is in the Legend of Zelda were Link is the hero. Or the same way that Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan…. He’s an inciting incident. Yes, the book is named after him. But he doesn’t DO anything…. you’re not intended to associate with him. That’s not what it’s about… none of that part is opinion…. that’s just the plot to the book/game. And it’s the point that Stowe is making… he is no more the hero than the “cabin” is…

      My point of this whole post is you can’t “well, actually” someone on a book unless you know the details of the book really well. She doesn’t. You seem to be intent on showing “yeah, but your interpretation is wrong.” because you seem to feel like anything I do is interpretation. But we’re not even talking about the interpretations yet…. interpretations would be more like “Is Eliza the hero? Or is it really about Ophelia? Maybe about George?” Those are discussion questions. Tom is static. And from anything other than a most surface reading, maybe the least interesting part of book. Again… like THAT’S THE POINT.

      And yes, there are arguments that one could make that disagree with what I’m saying…. but the point that you are basing yours on from the wikipedia page is almost an entirely inconsequential moment. It’s not really about him doing something heroic. It’s more about him getting beaten for not doing something wrong. The book is cited as sort of emblematic of melodrama. There’s just way more going on than you are sort of implying… and like it’s hard to simplify it for you… because it’s NOT SIMPLE. Seriously, like people write their dissertations on this book. A LOT.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Chris Maverick And as such I have begun reading it. As this discussion peaked my curiosity.

      That said, his death, at the culmination of the book, as I have now read that chapter to gain a further grasp on his final moments, is as I suspected. And properly summarized in my reference.

      Might I read the book and interpret his faith as insignificant in the overall story? Of course.

      However, based on the actual words written by the author, I seriously doubt that the devotion to his faith was simply tacked on at the end to imply he kowtowing out of deference to the “white man”.

      I could be wrong. Hence reading the book, but nothing I have read thus far supports your assessment in any way.

      If anything the conversation between Emmeline and Cassy in regards to faith only reinforces the idea of Tom’s noble sacrifice made possible by his conviction.

      So in the end, the “least interesting part of the book” appears to symbolize a common thread as presented by the author.

      People of faith must stand together against the oppression of slavery. In fact she makes the case that all people must stand up and do what is right.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Chris Maverick It’s not all that complicated. OK, so he is a representation, and in some ways a catalyst. Neither of which changes how his story ends or the effect it has on the rest of the characters, now does it?

      His arch does in fact, as written have direct impact on several characters. There is no interpretation in that. And the effects are not difficult to understand.

      So he does not represent a victim, no matter how you or anyone else perceives his character. Ultimately he actually refuses to be victimized as evidenced by his final words to Legree and subsequently Sambo and Quimbo.

      So her point, that the bastardized version of his character and story are not actually correct, is validated by the book itself.

      Whether or not what he does is ACTIVELY heroic throughout the journey is not what makes his final sacrifice heroic.

      He aids in the escape of Emmeline and Cassy. He refuses to betray them at the cost of his own life. Even if her were a complete asshole up to that point, that act is in FACT, without question heroic. Even if it were redemption for earlier failings, which I don’t believe was the case.

      So, in that story, as it ends, what he does, has impact. It is important to the culmination of the story. There is nothing complex about that.

      The broader themes, the overall message? Up for discussion and interpretation.

      I am in no way arguing that the book is not deeper than a tweet. However his sacrifice is relevant and IMO makes your assessment of her statement as “dumb”, which I might add is my only real point of contention here, is, to use one of your terms.

      Problematic.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      ok… I’m trying to actually be polite here… that’s NOT a hero… I get that you want to defend him… but honestly it seems more like you’re arguing just to position yourself as arguing against me to prove how smart you are… like even more than normal with you…

      Like, you aren’t even remotely qualified to make the argument you’re making. Being a hero, is not about goodness. Arguably, from a literary standpoint, Tom isn’t even a character. He lacks agency. He lacks a character arc. He’s an object. That’s why I compared him to Zelda in the Legend of Zelda games.

      But even from the heroic action standpoint that you are trying to argue… it really doesn’t go down the way you’re arguing. Yes, he does maintain his moral fortitude. That’s kind of the point. But it’s not presented as an action the way you mean. He simply does what he does… that is he remains devoted to his religious ideology of non-resistance which is suddenly in opposition to what Legree wants. Yes, he aids in the escape but only as an incidental consequence of his devotion to Christianity, which comes from visions that he sees of Eva and Jesus. There is a sort of near crisis of faith, which he overcomes, but not to the level that one would really qualify as heroic in a popular sense, and certainly not in the regular sense.

      It could maybe be argued that he is a hero in the book, in that he is certainly not a villain… but he is certainly not THE hero… if you’re going to be that pedantic.

      The point is… you’re literally trying to “well actually” something… in a post about “well actuallying” and in doing so admitting that you’re doing it from the frame of reference of reading only the wikipedia page and the final chapter.

      It is not simple… seriously… they give people doctorates for analyzing THIS book. I can literally introduce you to people who have…. but you’re doing that thing you do where you go “well… here’s my limited understanding of this thing… and since I’m really smart I can’t be wrong… so I’m just going to assume everyone else is an idiot”

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      Chris Maverick is your head that far up your own ass?

      One of the first things referenced in the book is Tom’s character, his honesty, his faith.

      The last thing he does is to sacrifice himself as a testament to that faith.

      He is a symbol. Doing what he believes is right, regardless of consequence. Which is kind of the point of the book as stated by the author.

      You said her reference was “dumb”, it wasn’t. Interpretation of the book aside, a case is easily made supporting what she said.

      The fact that someone pays you to teach anything both astounds and terrifies me.

    • avatar
      May 8, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      Dude… seriously.. I’VE READ THE BOOK…. I’ve taken classes literally about THIS BOOK….. I can introduce you to people who’s academic careers are based on THIS BOOK… you don’t know what you are talking about

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Chris Maverick IT’S NOT THAT COMPLICATED!!!

      This book is taught in middle school. That’s when I read it. What you are attempting to do, what you often attempt to do, is present something simple in such a manner as to make it seem as if only an “expert” could possibly comprehend it’s meaning.

      You aren’t that fucking smart. Persistent maybe, but insightful, um no.

      I know people who spent years as mechanical engineers, working for some of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world, designing components for every type of vehicle imaginable.

      That in no way means that I, an amateur gear head, who loves anything and everything mechanical can’t understand how a typical combustion engine works. What all of the parts do and how they have evolved over the years. Am I going to invent the next high output engine? No. But I sure as fuck understand the principles of increasing the pressure or density of air being pushed through the engine to increase horsepower.

      I read the fucking book as well. When I was 12, along any number of classics. I understand the premise of the book.

      As I stated, and you continuously fucking ignore, I am not interested in anyone’s interpretation of the meaning of the book. In that regard I pretty much can guess what someone like you would say.

      YOU said her assessment was “dumb”. And you are ignoring the actual content of the book to stick to that point.

      Is Tom a traditional, he kills the bad guy, hero? No but what he represents is in fact presented as heroic. And, based on what the AUTHOR said about the book, that was kind of the point.

      She wants people to act, to do something to stop slavery.

      Tom is does not end up as a victim. He is not a caricature as became the normal interpretation in the decades following the book.

      That was her(Owens) point, and it is neither dumb nor inconsistent with the themes of the book.

      Which was the only thing I didn’t agree with in regards to your post. The rest of your rambling was amusing as always. You wanted to turn it into some kind of intellectual pissing contest.

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 5:40 am

      Vic. In all seriousness. I’m sorry. You can’t have this conversation. You don’t know what a character is or symbolism or protagonist. You literally don’t know what half the words you are saying mean.

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Jesus. Live action Dunning-Kruger right here.

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 5:47 am

      Chris Maverick If you believe that, then you are correct, there is no point in this conversation. I can assure you, my ability to understand literary terms is not the problem here.

      Again, the arrogance of people like you never ceases to amaze me.

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 5:52 am

      It’s not arrogance. You just don’t know what you’re talking about and since you refuse to admit that or admit that anyone could be smarter than you in any arena… there’s no point in trying to explain things to you…. your assertion that “he’s a hero because he’s symbolic” is incorrect… that’s not how that works. In fact, the argument that he is symbolic and not a caricature is almost entirely nonsensical. You’re literally contradicting yourself… and you don’t know it.

      for the benefit of people paying attention. Nat’s Dunning-Kruger comment is particularly apt. Vic is in effect saying “I learned how to do fractions when I was 12. It has numbers. Therefore I don’t need to know calculus because numbers are numbers and I am an expert!”

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 5:53 am

      Vic Carter, you seem to be using hero to describe anyone who manages to do something you consider admirable, no matter what consequences their previous actions had. That isn’t a definition I think you’ll get a lot of support for. (From your description, is say maybe you could go so far as martyr.)

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 6:24 am

      Chris Maverick What you did to make your initial point was ignore the actual context of his character in the book. You made the claim that he was the victim.

      You are arguing over semantics, which in this case are completely irrelevant to the point she was making.

      To most people, Tom, a man of conviction, is a heroic character even if he is not THE hero of the book. That is not complicated. Not even a little bit.

      His acts, whether you think they were or not, can be perceived as noble or heroic or symbolic, or whatever fucking word makes you geniuses feel better about yourselves.

      If Tom tells Legree where Cassy and Emmilene are, they will be captured. He is told that he will be tortured and killed if he doesn’t comply. He refuses. Whatever word you want to use to describe that sacrifice, it has DIRECT impact on all of the characters involved in his death.

      Which gives Tom, the character, actual significance in the book. He dies so that others may live… Sound familiar?

      But you want to deconstruct the book on a level that was NOT part of the authors intent when it was written.

      Slavery Bad, no matter how “nice” you might be to your servants, you are still doing them an injustice. We must stand up as Christians and stop this evil.

      THAT was her message. Everything else you use to pick apart the story is based on interpretation. Valid only in academic circle jerks and the like.

      As stated above, pull your heads out of your asses. No one is trying to debate the literary conventions of the book. Why?

      Because they aren’t fucking relevant to the point that was being made.

      “Uncle Tom” has become a derogatory term. This occurred through the bastardization of the character from the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

      The original character, as written, is not indicative of the changes that were made over the ensuing decades. As evidenced by the actual fucking book.

      So in response to some idiot calling her an “Uncle Tom”, she referred to him as being the hero of the book. Could she have said it in a more accurate fashion? Detailing his actual journey and subsequent ,martyrdom? Of course…

      But it was a fucking spur of the moment tweet. Regardless of any analysis of the book, her point(uncle tom was not a victim, he was not JUST a house nigga, and he did not server the white man just to be a good little boy for massa), is correct.

      Whoosah…

      Never cease to amaze me…

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 6:43 am

      “What you did to make your initial point was ignore the actual context of his character in the book.”

      you don’t know what character means. Everything else you’ve said in that comment after that (your first line) is therefore nonesensical….

      “His acts, whether you think they were or not, can be perceived as noble or heroic or symbolic, or whatever fucking word makes you geniuses feel better about yourselves.”

      seriously… to take your car metaphor from earlier, it’s like you’re saying “bigger engine, bigger carburetor, bigger spark plugs… all the same thing” You can totally get more power just by forcing more pressure through the engine and you’re certainly never ever going to blow the engine out. Yep…. that’s how that works!

      “But you want to deconstruct the book on a level that was NOT part of the authors intent when it was written.”

      So…. you understand the author’s intent… because you somehow mind melded with her across space and time when you were 12… And I don’t understand her intent, even though I’ve read “A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin” wherein SHE explains what her intent was.

      “THAT was her message. Everything else you use to pick apart the story is based on interpretation. Valid only in academic circle jerks and the like.As stated above, pull your heads out of your asses. No one is trying to debate the literary conventions of the book. Why?”

      Good point. I’ve changed my mind. You’re smarter than everyone. You know the book from vague memories in sixth grade, and a cursory reading of the wikipedia page and the last chapter. Marla Anzalone, I’m sorry… but your PhD is cancelled. Please also tell your advisor that she has to give her tenure back.

      “But it was a fucking spur of the moment tweet. ”

      No it wasn’t… it was a a meme that she went out of the way to build for herself. That’s not spur of the moment.

      “‘Uncle Tom’ has become a derogatory term. This occurred through the bastardization of the character from the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The original character, as written, is not indicative of the changes that were made over the ensuing decades. As evidenced by the actual fucking book.”

      I actually addressed this… in detail. In fact, it’s way more of my post than the actual book analysis. You just ignored that because you wanted to focus on the one part you thought you could disagree with because you’re so much smarter than me.

      “Regardless of any analysis of the book, her point(uncle tom was not a victim, he was not JUST a house nigga, and he did not server the white man just to be a good little boy for massa), is correct.”

      Except it’s NOT… It is true that he’s not “the house nigger” in fact… he’s not at all… in any way shape or form. Not metaphorically… not in current usage… and not in function. That’s not his job in the book. He is the victim… that’s literally THE PLOT OF THE WHOLE FUCKING BOOK! Oh wait… no I guess it’s not… I forgot… because you said so because you’re smarter than everyone else.

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 7:03 am

      I haven’t read this whole thread, but has “hero” ever been defined? I’m not an English major, but my understanding of a hero is someone who triumphs over extreme adversity. Someone like Braveheart would be a classic hero. Or any woman in a Lifetime movie who leaves an abusive relationship to thrive as her own person. By this definition, Uncle Tom does not seem to be a “hero.”

    • avatar
      May 9, 2018 at 7:35 am

      Stephanie: Hero is defined… yes… several times. and in a few different contexts… one of the most notable being a protagonist who undergoes a heroic journey (Joseph Campbell, Hero With a Thousand Faces). But that’s a specific thing… and it doesn’t really apply to Tom at all in this book. The hero doesn’t have to necessarily “triumph” in this sense… and in fact, very often he explicitly fails. But he does sort of necessarily undertake a journey that drives the action. Eliza does this in the book.

      More generally you could probably just argue that the protagonist is the hero even outside of the context of a monomythic journey. You’d be a hero simply by being the main character who undergoes some sort of character arc… Eliza again here.

      This becomes more debatable… the terms aren’t totally synonymous, which is why we have two of them. But I could grant that they are loosely interchangeable in common usage. But then that becomes a literary discussion. Is Uncle Tom the protagonist of Uncle Tom’s cabin. There’s an argument to be made here. I’d argue very much no. A lot of people would. He is the eponymous character (the book is named after him) but my argument here (and I’m not alone) is that he’s not really the protagonist, and in fact is only barely a character at all. He has no character arc, he almost entirely lacks literary agency. He is an object that is acted upon. It’s sort of the point of the book actually.

      Vic is right to say that he’s a symbol. The text is pretty clear on that as well. I never said he wasn’t meaningful. In fact, I straight up said his function is as martyr in the original post. Tom’s non-resistance and acceptance of status quo puts him in a place where it allows the institution of slavery to continue to exploit him. Which again, Stowe has pretty much said in her supplemental material. Literary criticism… of herself… which Vic says is useless academic wankery… The point of the book is that he is doing nothing wrong. In fact, he does everything right… moral and christian. And for that he is victimized. Because the ignorance to the systemic oppression of the racist institution equates to complicity in its continuance. His function is to stand as a symbol of the noble and innocent negro… to show white America its own evil in oppressing him. Again… Stowe has actually explained this… at length… which is why Vic’s argument about her intent is kinda ridiculous…

      So that’s where you come into the fundamental flaw in Vic’s argument. Vic is saying is that Tom is a hero because he represents a concept that Vic admires. The problem is, that’s not really how that works. It’s why we have different terms. Being the title character does not make you “the hero” nor does being symbolic. It’s why we also wouldn’t call Zelda the hero of “Legend of Zelda”, Godot in “Waiting for Godot”, Pennywise/It in “IT”, Bartleby in “Bartleby the Scrivener”, Beloved in “Beloved” or the whale/shark in “Moby Dick” and “Jaws”.

      You could argue — and I think this is where Vic was trying to go originally, but changed horses midstream because he was more interested in “winning” in his own eyes — that it heroism is standing to your moral convictions. Tom does do that… in fact, it’s literally the only thing he ever does in the book. And there is an argument there… but it’s not simple. It’s nuanced. It’s also kind of flawed in that, that’s sort of a circular definition of heroism. Especially in fiction. “He’s a hero because he does his thing.” But if you focus purely on the theme that “Christianity is good!” then this sort of works. Of course, it would work better if you use the character of Little Eva in the book…. so again, Tom’s not really “THE hero” in that sense… maybe “A hero.” But also, it ignores the central theme of the book that “Slavery is bad!” to which Tom is far more symbol/martyr than character/hero. I mean… you know, if you want to use semantics, which Vic says are dumb… because apparently language doesn’t matter. Which… you know is weird… since Owens was making a semantic argument in the first place.

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