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Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, June 3, 1959

June 3, 2009 |  2:00 pm


Confidential File


Deep South Deep in Literary Criticism

Paul CoatesTwo weeks ago a nursery book entitled "The Rabbits' Wedding" was hastily removed from Alabama's public library shelves as "pure integrationist propaganda" because it linked in matrimony a white rabbit and a black rabbit.

Now, "The Three Little Pigs" is under attack in Florida.

Segregationists there charged in yesterday's papers that the porkers are undermining Southern culture. "One of the pigs is white, another black, and the third a black and white 'mulatto,'" they pointed out in righteous indignation.

Their spokesman, David Hawthorn, also declared, "The book shows the white pig getting destroyed by the wolf, but the black pig survives."

Since it's apparent that there's going to be a wholesale burning of nursery rhymes below the Mason Dixon Line, I can see a lucrative field for authors who want to revamp Mother Goose to fit the southern literary market.

June 3, 1959, Mark Miles And being a boy always interested in a fast buck, here's my first offering, entitled: "The Three Little Pigs in Dixie."

Once upon a time, in a sleepy village on the banks of the Mississippi, lived three little pigs -- a white pig, a mulatto pig (which was "passing"), and a black pig.

Each set out to seek his fortune.

The little white pig was walking along a bayou when he met a man with a bundle of straw, and he said to him:

"'Pears to me you all could give me that straw so's I could build me a house."

The man gave the little white pig his bundle of straw, and the little white pig built his house of straw in one of the better residential districts of the town.

The little "passing" pig was walking along Bourbon Street when he met a man with a bag of furze.

"Reckon you could spare that furze, mister?" he asked. "I'm fixin' to build me a house."

At Ease, Beauregard


The man gave the "passing" pig his furze, and the "passing" pig built his house of furze next door to the little white pig's house of straw (which was all right, because what the little white didn't know didn't hurt him).

The little black pig was walking past the town statue erected to the memory of Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard when he met a man with a load of bricks.

"I knows what you gonna say," the man sighed wearily. "Go ahead. Take 'em."

The little black pig took them and built himself a sturdy house of brick right across the street from the little white pig's house of straw and the little "passing" pig's house of furze.

Then came the wolf!
June 3, 1959, Billie Holiday
"Little pig, little pig, let me come in," he demanded.

"No, no, by the hair on my chiny chin chin," answered the little white pig.

"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in," snorted the wolf. He huffed and he puffed and he huffed, but he house straw didn't budge.

Slinking next door to the little "passing" pig's house of furze, the wolf went through the same bit. But not even one furze fluttered.

Then the wolf moved across the street to the little black pig's sturdy house of brick, huffed once, blew down the house and ate the little black pig.

Just then, Relman Morin, of the Associated Press, who happened to be down there to cover the story, walked up to the wolf with notebook and pencil in hand.

"Tell me, wolf," he asked, "how is it possible that you couldn't blow down the little white pig's house of straw, but you could blow down the little black pig's sturdy house of bricks?"

"Mister, folks 'round here don't take kindly to nosey Northerners askin' questions," the wolf snorted.

With that, the wolf ate up Relmarr Morin -- notebook, pencil and all. And evahbody lived happily eveh after.

(Author's note: In a subsequent article, I will delve into the knotty problem of Little Miss Muffett. That spider that sat down beside her? Black, you know.)



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