The trouble with sockmonkeys

by twit

is that they are usually made to look like socks.

For example, via

Sock Monkey Fun!

these are the kind of sockmonkeys one might find if one googled such a thing.

and then we have this hot new commodity:


From the creators of the SockObama, a bit of a mea culpa:

We simply made a casual and affectionate observation one night, and a charming association between a candidate and a toy we had when we were little.

has anyone ruled out “just plain crazy” as an explanation?

This is only our introductory plush toy. If we choose to move forward with a Republican candidate, we’ll begin with an elongated and slightly lumpy, fuzzy Idaho potato.

because that is funny.


via Jezebel:

As if there hasn’t been enough coverage of how using images of monkeys to represent the first African-American Presidential candidate from one of the two main parties is unwarranted and incredibly racist, there’s a new company marketing a new Obama-monkey product.

it’s just too soon after this:


(image via Jezebel)

to deviate so far from the standard for sockmonkeys and not expect to make millions off the ensuing uproar free publicity…

UPDATE! Via Jezebel:

On its no-longer-fuctional website, the gentlemen who once wrote, “We wonder now if this might be a great opportunity to take this moment to really try and transcend still existing racial biases,” when people complained that their ObamaMonkey might be ever-so-slightly offensive have issued an apology.

It says, “We are very apologetic to all who were upset by our toy idea. We will not be proceeding with the manufacturing of this toy. Thank you.”

UPDATE! Just kidding! The creators of the SockObama are looking for a new manufacturer, says the Salt Lake Tribune on June 18, 2008:

The statement said the mass production of the doll, and the upcoming Sen. John McCain take – JohnnieMcSock – are canceled. However, that comes because Binkley Toys Inc., the Canadian company originally hired to mass produce the doll, pulled out after receiving multiple e-mails pointing out the racist nature of the doll.

… While West Jordan’s The Sock Obama is issuing refunds to those who had pre-ordered the doll from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, the company hopes to find a new manufacturer for their doll.

5 Responses to The trouble with sockmonkeys

  1. ladycynster says:

    Is it wrong that I didn’t spot any potential racism and just thought, there’s a cute toy of a politician?

    That either makes me remarkably unobservant or inherently racist, or something.

  2. My wild guess would be that you might be part of what is sometimes referred to as “Generation Y.” Not remarkably unobservant, perhaps just raised up after the point when the negative associations of the imagery were so present in our culture. You got the new versions of cartoons and your high school history class failed to connect you with a wide swath of American history, aka the parts we are embarrassed about and which form a collective sense of shame about ever having been so backward.

    I see the outrage as a general call to remember where we have been as a country and to understand what lurks in the creative leap made by the creators of the Sockobama. They like sockmonkey dolls, and they then associated Obama with a monkey to come up with their idea. Like they say, they don’t plan to make a sockmonkey for McCain, they plan to start with a lumpy, fuzzy Idaho potato.

    It is that leap from Obama to monkeys, while McCain gets associated with a lumpy potato (b/c he’s kind of Irish and a lot of them died in a ‘potato famine’, get it?), where if we reflect on the history that goes with the associations, yeah, they are pretty offensive.

    The thing is, the doll is kind of cute and McCain as a potato-head is funny on its own. The doll is intriguing because it is so subversive, and I expect that some will want it just because it is so bad – it will be a relic of a historical period in time when we still had not moved past the collective shame of our racist history.

    but I do like to think that no one is inherently racist. And I see your comment as an indication that the association of the denigration of people of color with monkey images is taught by our history and culture.

  3. annie oakley IV says:

    if you were 1/4 as outraged about the sexist Hillary merchandise I’d be willing to think about this issue, but obamaphiles never thought that misogyny was important enuf to address in any way. so not interested in this petty bit of “outrage”.

  4. It sounds like you would be interested in my letter to Hillary Supporters planning to vote for McCain:

  5. lestro says:

    first, i am not particularly outraged. twit pointed out there is “an outrage” but i am not particularly outraged and actually do see a bit of a resemblance around the ears…

    but what makes you think that misogyny had anything to do with the decision not to support a baby boomer who voted for the war, thinks saying we should “obliterate” iran is a good idea, over-inflates her own experience by lying about snipers, ran a terrible campaign (poor planning, bad strategy and worse money management), thinks that a government mandate that forces people to buy healthcare is the best policy for coverage (my god, how republican is that? force the people to buy insurance? what a boon to the insurance companies…) and has an unelectable-sized unfavorable rating that hovers in the mid-50s?

    my god, you’re right, it must be that she’s a woman…

    there were plenty of men who had the same policies and i didn’t support them either.

    trust me when i tell you, misogyny had nothing to do with it. i didn’t support hilary because she was a horrible candidate for president. could she do the job? of course. there’s just a better choice.

    besides, by your (ridiculously stupid) logic, if anyone who didn’t support hilary is a misogynist, then anyone who didn’t vote for obama must be a racist? right? so go back to your klan rally.

    see how stupid that sort of thing sounds? come on…

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