There was a time when you couldn't get a job in the comic book industry unless you knew how to draw at least half a dozen hilarious racial stereotypes, and could depict in detail what each looked like when getting punched in the face by a marine. This was the same for the advertisers in said comics, who knew that nothing could get 1940s America reaching for its wallet like brazen ignorance of anyone who existed outside the master race.
Fortunately for us, racism plus time equals hilarity.
Wheaties vs the Japanese
To be fair to Wheaties and their awesome racism, this ad came out during a a point in our nation's history where it was patriotic to use racial slurs. Like Ford Motor Company's 1951 campaign, "So simple to drive, a Korean woman could do it -- if her people didn't have flippers." Or the campaign from the late forties, "Italians fuck their sisters for money; use Colgate."
True story: Years ago, I was selected by Knight Rider to defend the planet Knight Rider. So obviously, my extensive military background makes it difficult to look at combat tactics from the same point of view as racist Wheaties marketing civilians. That being said, this trap seems really fucking stupid, even for a comic book ad. A box of cereal in the middle of the trail? And Wheaties is saying that this, leaving a cereal box out, is a big step up for Japanese military intelligence. What was their trap before, just leaving a cupcake out on a landmine?
The illustrator may have forgotten to draw the rest of the soldiers, but it's more likely that during the noisy cereal discussion, the rest of the squad was taken out by enemy snipers.
That's what I take issue with; despite their brilliance in quickly identifying the booby trap, no one thinks there's anything wrong with giving a 10 minute soliloquy about all the wonders of its bait. When Knight Rider and I were racing through the Rocket Cosmos and we came across a bag of pasta wired to a thermal astrobomb, I did not turn to him and exclaim, "If only the fiends hadn't booby trapped that macaroni! Why, Knight Rider, it's loaded with nutrition and with some trusty know-how and an old timey paste pot, we could make our dames wigstands they'd flip for! Why, they'd be so fancy, those space Chinamen might forget all about this crazy old war, boy oh boy!" That's a good way to get killed by your own talking car.
Wheaties vs the Japanese II
It's too bad for that soldier that "wheaties" is Japanese slang for "child boy whore." And actually, if you move the accent to the first syllable, it means "a trick child boy whore" that looks like a can of peanuts but actually shoots poisonous snakes when you open him. Man, how did we ever win that war? Oh yeah...
Great, now nothing's funny anymore. Thanks a lot, nuclear holocaust!
What's Your BQ?
To get a glimpse at just how bad things were back in the racism boom years, you have to see the public service announcements trying to address the problem. What's your B.Q.?
Question A is brilliant because the races are mixed in with everyday things like spiders and "long hair music" to trick you into being honest. "Cabbage... UGH! DISLIKE. Spiders... NO THOUGHT! VACANT. Hey I'm on a roll! Jews... UGH! DIS--whoa, you almost got me, B.Q. Test!"
I feel like there should be an answer key. I mean, how do I know if I'm right for giving Baptists an UGH, but giving Negroes an UM? And I have a question about the author of this quiz - how is the enlightened non-racist quiz maker and the guy who refers to "long-hair music" the same person?
One thing I do know, the illustrator clearly wasn't on board. At least three of the world's races are depicted as being stoned out of their goddamned skulls: