WHEN I was little, one of my favourite movies was the Song of the South, a movie that was well ahead of its time in combining live action and animation, and about which I remember most the infuriatingly chirpy and catchy song “Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah” and the story of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby.
For the 99.9 per cent of readers not familiar with the story, the main character is a none-too-bright rabbit. His arch-enemy, the not-much-brighter Br’er Fox, devises a plan to catch Br’er Rabbit by fashioning a lump of tar into the shape of a small human, and putting some clothes on it. Br’er Rabbit idiotically picks a fight with the lump of tar and every time he lands a punch on it he gets a little bit more stuck, until he’s trapped. There’s more to the story than that, involving reverse psychology and Br’er Rabbit talking Br’er Fox into a course of action that ultimately permits his escape, but it’s the Tar-Baby bit that stuck with me, if you’ll pardon the pun.