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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » David Walliams dressed as Kim Jong Un (Page 2)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: David Walliams dressed as Kim Jong Un
lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Which Is why I'm against those who mock the size of Trump's hands. He has absolutely no control over that and it's offensive. There's enough to criticise about what he says without geting into this area.

Though I've done this, I agree with you. But if you are attempting to claim parity with black/yellowface, we part.
quote:

There seems to me to be an enormous difference between black-face or yellow-face on the one hand and caricaturing Kim on the other.

There is a difference and no one thus far is arguing there isn't.
quote:
Walliams gives every appearance of attacking Kim and not being at all racist.

No. We have one (ONE 1 UN UNO) aspect of him from that night. His image which, granted, isn't a caricature. Even supposing he did not do a typical Walliams performance, the makeup is enough to warrant the accusation.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
I don't think it's possible to look at Walliams' costume and honestly think that he dressed up like that to take the piss out of Korean people.
Of course it is possible. Is it reasonable? From a photograph one cannot know his intentions. His behaviour would give more clues, however, barring descriptions of that surfacing we do not know those.
Except that Walliams hasn't been criticised for his words or behaviour in his Kim-persona. He's been criticised for the costume.

And we do know - to a high level of certainty - that the costume is not intended to mock Koreans in general, because we know what a caricature Korean costume would look like, and it would look very little like the one that Walliams is wearing.

And if we don't have any reason to think that, apart from the costume, Walliams said or did anything racist, then can we agree to extend him the basic courtesy of assuming that he didn't? Or is that too much to ask for a man whose choice of costume you disapprove of?

quote:
What a moronic statement.
So humour this moron and refute it with an actual argument?

quote:
Your post is an advanced stage, syphilitic moron with severe oxygen deprivation.
I'm happy to discuss this here, but if you'd be more comfortable doing it in Hell, then go for it.

quote:
If it were not for the history of blackface, the sketch would not have happened. It needs that history to make sense.
Yes! It's a joke about racism. Obviously it could only be made in a world in which racism is a thing. That does not make the sketch racist. It just doesn't.

quote:
Writing ≠ LARP.
I didn't say that it was. I was responding to a specific assertion by AmyBo that portraying a black person in one medium (LARP) is wrong because white people can't fully understand black people's experiences.

If valid, that argument would apply equally to writing, because it is not conditional on any factor specific to LARP. Fiction writing shares with LARP the quality of a person representing the thoughts, actions, words and character of another (imagined) person with different experiences. If attempting to cross the racial divide is wrong, because it is impossible, in one instance, it is wrong in the other, for the same reason.

When applied to writing, the argument is clearly nonsense. Therefore the argument is not valid. There may be other reasons to distinguish the two sorts of expression, but AmyBo did not provide any.

quote:
quote:

LARP is a form of story-telling.

No it isn't. It is a bunch of grown-arse people who still wanna play dress-up.
And here's me doing it for thirty years, and all this time I've though that the "RP" in "LARP" stood for role-playing, and that it was a direct descendant of the sort of interactive story-telling games known as RPGs. Guess not.

The dressing up is fun, though. I admit that.

quote:
If blackface were truly ancient history, then your "respectful" re-enactment argument might have legs. As it is not, it does not.
For clarity, I have not argued that Halloween costumes, LARP, re-enactment, story-telling or anything else is, or should be, "respectful". I think that would be a completely impossible standard to apply.

I am arguing that if something is not malicious, and cannot reasonably be taken to be malicious, it shouldn't be viewed as such. I am arguing against the view that would say, for example, "I'm pretty sure that David Walliams wasn't mocking Korean people or intending to express any other racist message, but that doesn't matter - I'm going to be just as offended as if he was".

quote:
A related anecdote. I once watched a production of The Elephant Man in which the man playing Merrick wore no prosthetic at all. The play was brilliant.
And no one was at all confused. Weird, huh?

Why would I find that weird? I've said already that authenticity in portraying a character is not a fixed standard. Presumably the way in which the Merrick character appeared to other characters in the play was signalled by some other means than costume.

I once saw a production of Measure for Measure where Isabella was played by a very short, black woman, and Claudio (her brother) by a tall white man, and that also worked. The fact that the characters were closely related, even though the actors could not have looked more different, was signalled by scripted words and acted affection. Theatre is like that. The conventions allow for that sort of suspension of disbelief.

I'm at a loss as to how you can get from the (perfectly true) observation than there are varieties of creative expression where certain sorts of costuming are unnecessary to the conclusion that they are always wrong.

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Gee D
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We must part then. No parody on the basic of physical make-up is warranted, be that make-up skin colour, hand size or shape of nose. It's just that the hand size refers to only one person - at this stage.

As to warranting an accusation, most definitely no. Walliams is very clearly not having a go at Korean people generally, but at one very dangerous and extremely cruel one, one who has chosen - as did his immediate forebears - to take out his cruelty on his own people.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

Can we agree that if I, a person of race A, had the talent to write a story in which the lead character was a person of race B, that would not, in itself, be racist?

Making the effort to imagine yourself into a character of another race, in order to write fiction that encourages others to do the same, sounds to me like an action that will tend to reduce the amount of racial prejudice in the world.

Thinking you've succeeded may be kidding yourself, depending on your skill as a writer, but the attempt itself seems like something that those who are against racial prejudice should welcome.

quote:
I would imagine how that character would think and act, taking into account the personality I had written for him of which his membership of race B might be a greater or lesser factor
I suspect that to lilBuddha the idea that race might be a lesser factor (in who the character is) might be hard to swallow.

Whereas I'd say that you don't get to a non-racist society - a society where people of different races co-exist and race isn't important - without a whole lot of fiction in which that's normal.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Brenda Clough
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In my little corner of letters, we spend all our time writing about other races, nay even other species. How do you write about Martians at all, except by imagination?
I am writing a series of historical thrillers in which all the characters are (by historical necessity) white. By major effort I did wedge in one batch of Asians, but it took many volumes to get it to that point. I could be exploiting white men, it is true; they have my sympathy.
And, if there is interest, I could find you another link to an image. It is of myself, taken last week at Halloween; I am wearing a very complete and pretty accurate Regency gown, spencer, bonnet, reticule and slippers all complete. It would be a sad thing, if I were confined only to cheong-sam and sam-fu.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Except that Walliams hasn't been criticised for his words or behaviour in his Kim-persona. He's been criticised for the costume.

What I am saying is that there is one piece of evidence and not the preponderance you keep referencing.

quote:

And we do know - to a high level of certainty - that the costume is not intended to mock Koreans in general,

Which appears to be projection as far as I can tell.

quote:

quote:
What a moronic statement.
So humour this moron and refute it with an actual argument?
I did. Hard to put it more simply. M&W's costume choice and Webb's line are exactly blackface and needs the history, and the attendant discrimination, to register at all. So, even though they are not intending to be racist, it has the same effect.
quote:

quote:
Your post is an advanced stage, syphilitic moron with severe oxygen deprivation.
I'm happy to discuss this here, but if you'd be more comfortable doing it in Hell, then go for it.

That reply was within Purgatorial Guidelines, exactly the same as your "any reasonable person".
quote:

quote:
If it were not for the history of blackface, the sketch would not have happened. It needs that history to make sense.
Yes! It's a joke about racism.

No, it isn't. It is a joke about re-enactors. More specifically, it is a typical M&W absurdist tableau which uses re-enactors as a foil.

quote:

Obviously it could only be made in a world in which racism is a thing. That does not make the sketch racist. It just doesn't.

This is an assertion, not a reasoned argument.

quote:
I was responding to a specific assertion by AmyBo that portraying a black person in one medium (LARP) is wrong because white people can't fully understand black people's experiences.
Fairly certain this is not what she is saying. She appears to be saying that it is offencive because it is blackface and modern versions, despite good intent, carry the weight of negative history. Largely because the negative isn't just history, but present reality.

quote:
Fiction writing shares with LARP the quality of a person representing the thoughts, actions, words and character of another (imagined) person with different experiences. If attempting to cross the racial divide is wrong, because it is impossible, in one instance, it is wrong in the other, for the same reason.

Writing is a considerably more complex issue than LARP. And, as I said has its own issues. Especially the one where black authors writing black characters have a much more difficult time getting contracts than white authors writing about black characters.


quote:
And here's me doing it for thirty years, and all this time I've though that the "RP" in "LARP" stood for role-playing, and that it was a direct descendant of the sort of interactive story-telling games known as RPGs.
Children playing dress-up generally role play as well. It is kinda the point.
Dungeons and Dragons in the sun; does that work for you? Ren faire for people who can't get laid?

quote:

quote:
If blackface were truly ancient history, then your "respectful" re-enactment argument might have legs. As it is not, it does not.
For clarity, I have not argued that Halloween costumes, LARP, re-enactment, story-telling or anything else is, or should be, "respectful". I think that would be a completely impossible standard to apply.

So they are disrespectful you admit?
quote:

I am arguing that if something is not malicious, and cannot reasonably be taken to be malicious, it shouldn't be viewed as such.

There you go with the "reasonably" again. Which is not reasoned support of your position as much as it is a passive-aggressive statement to ridicule those who disagree.

quote:

I am arguing against the view that would say, for example, "I'm pretty sure that David Walliams wasn't mocking Korean people or intending to express any other racist message, but that doesn't matter - I'm going to be just as offended as if he was".

Well, then you are arguing against no one on this thread. Because this position has not been stated.
The position of myself, and I think AmyBo, is that intent doesn't trump result.


quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

Do you think, for example, that if the Mitchell and Webb sketch were reversed, and a group of black re-enactors were dressing up as roundheads and cavaliers, that would be racist? Even if they were as comically bad at it as the white actors were at dressing up as Congolese soldiers?

Yeah, your reversal is exactly the same because there is all that history of black people enslaving white people, stealing their land, raping them, disenfranchising them, imprisoning them keeping them poor and then mocking them as well.

Go ahead, though, whitesplain some more. We're listening.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Golden Key
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Eliab--

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

quote:
If it were not for the history of blackface, the sketch would not have happened. It needs that history to make sense.
Yes! It's a joke about racism. Obviously it could only be made in a world in which racism is a thing. That does not make the sketch racist. It just doesn't.

It hurts people who *do* experience racism *now*. And a joke about racism should only be done by someone who and/or whose people have been on the receiving end. Otherwise, it's just more insensitive treatment, at *best*.

About blackface: Is that considered acceptable in the UK? (Painting with a broad brush.) Here, it's never, ever acceptable. There are people who do it; but they're intentionally mocking African Americans, or wildly insensitive, or deeply ignorant.

--------------------
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Golden Key
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Eliab--

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I don't think it's possible to watch the Mitchell and Webb sketch and honestly think that they wrote it to take the piss out of Congolese people.

Um...why in the world would anyone think it's ok to make fun of folks from the Congo? Because they're black and far away?


quote:
Painting one's face green or black is the exact equivalent of writing "Grallac had lived all his life in the goblin-warrens of Dastria..." or "A young African-American man was standing in the corner of the room..." in a novel. It tells you a bit about the character as a prelude to actually telling their story. It's that subsequent imagining which is the real point of the exercise.

It seems to me that if it isn't racist to imagine and portray a character of a different race through a written medium, it isn't racist to do so through an improvised dramatic medium either. Your complaint that we can't fully understand another race's experience is as nonsensical to me as an objection to LARP as I hope it is to you as an objection to novels.

The difference is that black people exist. TTBOMK, there've never been goblins nor green humanoids on this planet. So putting green paint on your face is unlikely to hurt/offend anyone, unless it's a sickly green. Depending on the goblin get-up, you might offend/hurt someone, if you go with the traditional interpretation of them as short, ugly, and deformed--because those conditions do happen among humans, and the people with them are subjected to a lot of crap.

--------------------
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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Boogie

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This takes place just up the road from me.

Britannia coconutters.

[ 10. November 2017, 07:34: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Curiosity killed ...

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The Britannia Coconutters remind me more of the images of chimney sweeps - I do remember coalmen looking like this too, plus the images of miners before pithead showers. Traditionally, in some areas (Border Morris, for the interested), Morris Men covered their faces with soot so they could perform unrecognised by the boss, but there have been incidents of Morris sides with blackened faces being attacked - that story is from Lichfield Festival this year, but there are other stories.

One of the current Border Morris sides, Boggart's Breakfast is using very ornate blue make up along with their black costumes which is an interesting way of dealing with this.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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lilBuddha
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Chimney sweeps wore turbans?
The history of Morris traditions isn’t perfectly clear. Except for the name, which is derivative of Moorish and the 15th C statue set of dancers which includes a black man.
It is a muddled thing which could be one, the other or both.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jane R
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Mummers' plays often include a character called the 'Turkish Knight' who fights St George and is killed - probably a reference to the Crusades. That's the most likely explanation of the statue set you reference (do you have a picture?). Mummers also did Morris dancing.

As you say, the origins of Morris dancing are unclear. Probably we are dealing with several points of origin.

Yes, I know... references to the Crusades are problematic too.

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lilBuddha
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The costume looks like a typical dancer, rather than a knight, to me.

[ 10. November 2017, 09:54: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jane R
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Interesting. It looks more like a real black person than someone white in blackface, though. It's also not an English statue; I was unaware that there were Morris traditions elsewhere in Europe.

I wonder if the statues are portraits of a real dance troupe, and one of the members of the troupe just happened to be black? No way of telling now, of course...

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
And a joke about racism should only be done by someone who and/or whose people have been on the receiving end.

I disagree. I believe that I am absolutely entitled to regard racists and racism with ridicule and contempt, and to laugh at them. I do not believe that I need to have been hurt personally by racism to find it an absurd, as well as an unjust, form of conduct.

quote:
Um...why in the world would anyone think it's ok to make fun of folks from the Congo? Because they're black and far away?
Why ask me? I don't think it's OK to mock any racial group. And I think I've said that often enough on this thread that if you missed it, it's not my fault.

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:

quote:
What a moronic statement.
So humour this moron and refute it with an actual argument?
I did. Hard to put it more simply. M&W's costume choice and Webb's line are exactly blackface and needs the history, and the attendant discrimination, to register at all. So, even though they are not intending to be racist, it has the same effect.
I think I said in my first comments on the sketch that the character’s behaviour was clearly based on crass and racist stereotypes, so pointing the same thing out with slightly different words doesn’t really count as either an argument or a refutation.

Yes, the sketch depends on a history of racism. Obviously.

But equally obviously, the sketch isn’t making any negative comment about anyone based on race. Hence, where’s the offence?

Are you saying that you don’t like seeing racism represented at all, in a light entertainment medium, even by people that you know aren’t racist? If so, sure, I get that. Some people can’t watch fictional depictions of all sorts of unpleasant things, and others don’t mind. I’ve got my own list of things I’d rather not see. That’s not an argument that the depiction is necessarily wrong – it’s an argument in favour of trigger warnings.

quote:
quote:
I was responding to a specific assertion by AmyBo that portraying a black person in one medium (LARP) is wrong because white people can't fully understand black people's experiences.
Fairly certain this is not what she is saying.

That is pretty much exactly what she said, except she used “people of color” rather than “black”.

quote:
Dungeons and Dragons in the sun; does that work for you? Ren faire for people who can't get laid?
Well, sometimes sun, and sometimes (like last weekend) rain and mud. It’s all good.

I think a “ren faire” is mostly a US usage, so I really couldn’t comment on your relative likelihood of getting laid there or at a LARP event. Why not turn up to both, and see?

quote:
quote:
quote:
If blackface were truly ancient history, then your "respectful" re-enactment argument might have legs. As it is not, it does not.
For clarity, I have not argued that Halloween costumes, LARP, re-enactment, story-telling or anything else is, or should be, "respectful". I think that would be a completely impossible standard to apply.
So they are disrespectful you admit?

No, I don’t admit that. I just think “respectful” is completely unworkable as a standard of behaviour in this area. Walliams’ costume, for instance, probably isn’t intended to reference Koreans in general at all, and if so, is neither respectful nor disrespectful of them. I don’t think the M&W sketch is particularly respectful of anyone, but I don’t think its wrong on that account.

quote:
There you go with the "reasonably" again. Which is not reasoned support of your position as much as it is a passive-aggressive statement to ridicule those who disagree.

No – it’s a recognition that some conclusions drawn about a person’s message, intent and purpose from their behaviour can be justified (even if in fact mistaken) because they are based on good grounds, and some can’t, because the conclusions aren’t well supported.

In my usual form of discourse (UK legal practice) “reasonable” is the word commonly used to make that distinction. It is not aggressive (passively or otherwise) or intended to ridicule others.

quote:
Yeah, your reversal is exactly the same because there is all that history of black people enslaving white people, stealing their land, raping them, disenfranchising them, imprisoning them keeping them poor and then mocking them as well.
Again, that’s a response to AmyBo’s position which was explicitly that “The act of putting on makeup to look like another race is in and of itself a denigrating act”.

She is not (when making that argument at least) relying on any particular history of racial interaction. She is saying that dressing up as another race (at least if you use make-up) is inherently a racist act.

You can defend parts of your case (the parts, in fact, that I am not attacking and agree with) by saying that there’s a history of racial oppression against black people, but you can’t use that to defend a case which is expressly advanced as applying to all races whatever.

quote:
Go ahead, though, whitesplain some more.
Go ahead. Any-fucking-colour-you-like-splain how that’s not racist.

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:


Painting one's face green or black is the exact equivalent of writing "Grallac had lived all his life in the goblin-warrens of Dastria..." or "A young African-American man was standing in the corner of the room..." in a novel. It tells you a bit about the character as a prelude to actually telling their story. It's that subsequent imagining which is the real point of the exercise.


So what do BME people do when they participate in LARP, playing the roles of white people? Do they use really pale foundation to "signal" that they represent a white person? Or do they do a "white voice"?

Or do they either (a) not do "signalling" of this kind or (b) not participate in LARP at all?

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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AmyBo
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There's a disconnect here, and I think I see it? Most of us are looking at this through the lens of being white. That's white privilege. Let's look at this through the lens of the person whose race is being portrayed. Do you still want to play dress-up as another race, or reduce their race to paint?

As for the LARPing thing, I'll get specific. My experience is with rendezvous-era re-enactment. Some very fraught racial tensions there already. I was personally appalled by a man who was white and decided to portray a Native character. The body paint he used to make himself look darker was really gross - both from a makeup perspective and from one of racial sensitivity, or lack thereof. But even if he left off the paint, he very well could be appropriating the culture of our neighbors. It's a delicate balance, and there is a lot of gray area; I tend to err on the side of caution because I certainly wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of such appropriation.

So maybe a "Moorish knight" or whatever POC a white guy is playing is OK, but then I have to ask, why? Can't you make room for people of that ancestry to play that character? Because the "indian" in grease paint made it pretty clear no Natives need apply.

I'm not calling the people in question jerks or evil. The act may be racist, but the person isn't necessarily a racist. It's not personal; there's no need to dig in and get defensive.

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Jane R
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The disconnect actually seems to be between Europeans and Americans. Americans are saying 'this is obviously racist' from the context of their culture and (some of) the Europeans are saying 'it's not so obvious from where we're standing.'

My own position: I wouldn't want to give offence by dressing up as a character of a different race for a costume party or a LARP... but I've been a Chinese peasant, a Hebrew slave and various other characters in operas I've taken part in. No, we didn't do yellowface for Turandot but we did wear slightly darker makeup than usual for Nabucco. Should we stop performing these works because Puccini and Verdi were Europeans writing about different races?

I think that the blackface Morris teams should stop blacking their faces, or choose different colours (I saw one team that had made themselves up in all the colours of the rainbow, thus annoying racists and homophobes in one act; their dancing was pretty good, too); but I can also see why the people who are protesting ('it's just tradition! it's got nothing to do with the Black and White Minstrels!') are upset at another example of the inexorable march of American cultural imperialism.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

But equally obviously, the sketch isn’t making any negative comment about anyone based on race.

Your posts seem to indicate that you either do not have the ability to understand or the willingness to; so going further on this example may be pointless.
quote:

Are you saying that you don’t like seeing racism represented at all, in a light entertainment medium, even by people that you know aren’t racist?

No, not what I am saying. Depictions of racism can have a positive purpose, even in light entertainment. But they can also be throw-away bits, like the M&W sketch, that trivialise a group's experience for the sake of a laugh.


quote:

I think a “ren faire” is mostly a US usage,

Worldwide, actually, though there appear to be more in the US. But living history, medieval faires, whatever. I grabbed a quick adult dress-up reference. Could have said Furries.

quote:
I just think “respectful” is completely unworkable as a standard of behaviour in this area.

Sorry, you'll have to explain this one a bit better. Why shouldn't respect be part of it? Granted, a large percentage of LARP appears to be fictional characters that the term doesn't apply to.

quote:

In my usual form of discourse (UK legal practice) “reasonable” is the word commonly used to make that distinction.

Yes, and then an explanation of why said thing is reasonable could be required to defend that determination.
And this is a conversation, merely making a simple statement without any reasoning is neither conversation nor makes your point.
Your single argument is one of intent and this does not negate harm, even in a legal application.

quote:

You can defend parts of your case (the parts, in fact, that I am not attacking and agree with) by saying that there’s a history of racial oppression against black people, but you can’t use that to defend a case which is expressly advanced as applying to all races whatever.

I am not. This thread is about Walliams costume and M&W got dragged in. Both cases of groups maligned by white people in Britain.
quote:

quote:
Go ahead, though, whitesplain some more.
Go ahead. Any-fucking-colour-you-like-splain how that’s not racist.

Whitesplaining is racist. Though, to be fair, the same comments could have been made out of a pompous disregard for others in general and...Oh, you think accusing you of whitesplaining is racist.
The term is similar to mansplaining. It is not directed at a general group, but a specific person, therefore the opposite of prejudice.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
(b) not participate in LARP at all?

Pretty much this, from what I can tell. LARP is OVERWHELMINGLY white.
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
The disconnect actually seems to be between Europeans and Americans. Americans are saying 'this is obviously racist' from the context of their culture and (some of) the Europeans are saying 'it's not so obvious from where we're standing.'

Some of the white British are saying it is not so obvious. And racism is often less obvious in the UK than in the US. Likely due to far fewer brown people in general, especially in the past, and slavery and oppression were done overseas rather than domestically.
But blackface was done the same in the UK as it was in America.

quote:
Should we stop performing these works because Puccini and Verdi were Europeans writing about different races?

No, but stop wearing makeup to portray other groups.

quote:
but I can also see why the people who are protesting ('it's just tradition! it's got nothing to do with the Black and White Minstrels!') are upset at another example of the inexorable march of American cultural imperialism.

Again, it isn't American. Racism in the UK isn't identical to that in the US, but this isn't one of differences.
The UK is very much more white than the US. It is only a few areas that have much melanin. And this affords a additional level of blindness, IME.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Doublethink.
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But there are also cultural differences, there is a history of traditional protest by the poor going back over 500 years that predates the transatlantic slave trade. Because the penalities for protest were so harsh (often hanging) people blacked their faces with charcoal to avoid being identified. They used ritualised forms of protest to give themselves social legitimacy, and some traditional festivals see themselves as being in this tradition and legacy (I am not referring just Morris here, but also other forms of guising.)

The Rebecca riots in Wales are a famous example of this kind of protest, as are the Captain Swing riots that spread across large areas of the south east. (Not riotous in the modern sense, they were largely peaceful.). The spreading nature of these protests after the beginning of enclosures and the loss of common land, especially in relation to the loss of traditional rights to gather fuel, hunt & glean, is what lead to blacking up for protest being specifically outlawed.

In addition, the British mischief night and Halloween traditions largely relate to the undead and magical beings, absent other cues my default assumption on seeing someone with a blackened face would be that they were portraying a demon or imp rather than a racial caricature.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
No, but stop wearing makeup to portray other groups.


Danny La Rue wore makeup (to say the least) in order to portray the 'other group', ie, women. Wrong? Or are women not oppressed enough yet to qualify as 'those who should not be represented by anyone else who isn't part of their specific group'?

How do impersonators impersonate their target without reflecting the fact of that person's ethnicity? It would be unacceptable to caricature the person's ethnicity, of course. But wouldn't it be insulting to ignore the fact of it, too, and pretend they weren't black or Asian or Latin American etc?

Or should white people not offer comic political critiques using personations of public figures who aren't white?

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Doublethink.
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I suppose the most obvious examples of white folk portraying Asians in the UK would be in pantomimes, in the production Aladdin or Ali Baba and the 40 thieves - I suspect it's challenged less because it's seen as unreal, fairytale, and also because of all the role reversal - the dame being played by a man the principle boy by a woman etc. So another transposition seems somehow less out of place - because noone is representing their own identity.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
No, but stop wearing makeup to portray other groups.


Danny La Rue wore makeup (to say the least) in order to portray the 'other group', ie, women. Wrong? Or are women not oppressed enough yet to qualify as 'those who should not be represented by anyone else who isn't part of their specific group'?
Cross-dressing is a bit more complicated, especially its history among the gay community. But cross-dressing hasn't been used to denigrate women in the same way blackface is used to denigrate brown people. Not giving it a right or wrong, though I've never cared for it.
quote:

How do impersonators impersonate their target without reflecting the fact of that person's ethnicity? It would be unacceptable to caricature the person's ethnicity, of course. But wouldn't it be insulting to ignore the fact of it, too, and pretend they weren't black or Asian or Latin American etc?

You impersonate them not their ethnicity. No makeup required. Impressionists have done for decades. It isn't ignoring ethnicity, it is making the person the centre.

If I did a verbal impression of the Queen, and it was good, I trust you'd be intelligent enough to get it and not be confused by the colour and age difference.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
But there are also cultural differences, there is a history of traditional protest by the poor going back over 500 years that predates the transatlantic slave trade.

Blackface as a caricature isn't strictly tied to slavery.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Doublethink.
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True, but the but the protest tradition has nothing to do with race and everything to do with disguise.

--------------------
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Nicolemr
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I think we can agree that race is an integral part of a person's identity. Therefore it seems to me that any attempt to portray a person accurately has to include some attempt to portray their race accurately.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
I think we can agree that race is an integral part of a person's identity. Therefore it seems to me that any attempt to portray a person accurately has to include some attempt to portray their race accurately.

I don't agree. As has been mentioned upthread, portraying a character of another race/culture has been done and quite successfully. Hamilton, the hottest theatre ticket in America and much anticipated in the UK, doesn't worry about portraying race.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
True, but the but the protest tradition has nothing to do with race and everything to do with disguise.

But the protest tradition doesn't encompass all of Morris or blackface dancers.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
How do impersonators impersonate their target without reflecting the fact of that person's ethnicity? It would be unacceptable to caricature the person's ethnicity, of course. But wouldn't it be insulting to ignore the fact of it, too, and pretend they weren't black or Asian or Latin American etc?

Well said. Walliams is very clearly targeting Kim as Kim, and not Koreans generally. No possible suggestion of the latter.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by AmyBo:
There's a disconnect here, and I think I see it? Most of us are looking at this through the lens of being white. That's white privilege.

Seems like some here are looking at this through the lens of being American. Taking a reasonable observation like "where I come from, it would be considered culturally insensitive to dress up as a member of a disadvantaged race" and turning into a universal prohibition. Without any regard for whether other people's cultures might look at things differently. Is that American privilege ?

quote:
My experience is with rendezvous-era re-enactment.
I had to look that up. Seems to mean early 1800s "frontier" America, but in mountainous terrain rather than cattle plains ???

quote:
I certainly wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of such appropriation.
Please do explain. With reference to your own culture, exactly what is it that you don't want us foreigners to do because it would "appropriate" your way of life ? Eat Macdonalds ? Watch Hollywood movies ? Drive pickup trucks ?

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
No possible suggestion of the latter.

This is even more dismissive and arrogant a statement than Eliab's "reasonable".
Clearly it is possible however unlikely you think it is.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gee D
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Perhaps you're right if anything is possible. So we'll just say that it appears extremely unlikely that it was intended as a caricature of Koreans as a race, rather than that of the murderous ruler those in North Korea have.

[ 10. November 2017, 20:57: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Perhaps you're right if anything is possible. So we'll just say that it appears extremely unlikely that it was intended as a caricature of Koreans as a race, rather than that of the murderous ruler those in North Korea have.

Yours and Eliab's posts are projecting intent based on a couple of pics and the lack of mention any feedback from the party guests, so "extremely unlikely" is a stretch.
And I am saying intent is not the only criterion.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gee D
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Not for the first time, you're reading something into my post that just isn't there. I've said nothing about a lack of racist intent, just about an intent only to caricature Kim - and that's all we know. Of course, as it's only a short clip, it's possible that Walliams has all sorts of nasty intents we don't know about; it may even be possible that your reading of a racist intent is correct.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Anselmina:
How do impersonators impersonate their target without reflecting the fact of that person's ethnicity? It would be unacceptable to caricature the person's ethnicity, of course. But wouldn't it be insulting to ignore the fact of it, too, and pretend they weren't black or Asian or Latin American etc?

You impersonate them not their ethnicity. No makeup required. Impressionists have done for decades. It isn't ignoring ethnicity, it is making the person the centre.

If I did a verbal impression of the Queen, and it was good, I trust you'd be intelligent enough to get it and not be confused by the colour and age difference.


Well, clearly in the case of a verbal impression one would need to be extraordinarily stupid to be 'confused' by colour and age difference. Unless of course it's a poor impression!

But by the same token you can trust me to be intelligent enough to look at David Walliams and know he's lampooning a mad-as-a-box-of-frogs world leader, not an entire ethnic section of the world's population. I see nothing at all confusing about his physical personation of Kim Jong Un. I know what he's doing, just as I know what Tracy Ullman is doing with her Angela Merkel characterisation on her current BBC programme. Making a comic-political critique of a prominent world-figure whose completely fair game for ridicule and lampooning.

Ethnicity is a complex construct, though isn't it? It's not merely physical. It is accent, language, use of the vernacular, clothes, customs; the psychology which drives behaviour, response, attitude etc.

Should you give the best verbal impression (which is not the same thing as 'impersonation', of course) of Her Maj, say over the radio, to people who couldn't see you, you would still most assuredly be portraying her within her own ethnic grouping. There is no way you could replicate the tones of a royal-born, aristocratic white English woman without placing her very firmly smack bang in the middle of where and how she was born, educated, within what kind of culture and according to what kind of societal mores. So what is the taboo about the physical aspect of ethnicity, which apparently doesn't apply to all those other aspects?

If you are, in fact, already verbally pretending for comic effect to be an ethnically white, blue-blooded elderly English woman of a unique and powerful position, why would you baulk at looking like her, too, if called upon to impersonate her, say for a sketch on TV? If you've no reservation about satisfying your audience's ears, why not their eyes?

True. The Queen's skin colour, age, hairstyle, figure etc is not the whole of who she is. But neither is her voice. If you think that looking like her is out of the question, where's the justification for sounding like her?

Are we saying that we shouldn't consider people, in general, clever enough to know what it is they're being presented with? Some, of course, won't be. But in a liberal environment where people of power are subject to irreverent comic critique, that is arguably a risk we should be prepared to take.

[ 11. November 2017, 00:39: Message edited by: Anselmina ]

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
So what do BME people do when they participate in LARP, playing the roles of white people? Do they use really pale foundation to "signal" that they represent a white person? Or do they do a "white voice"?

LARP (at least in the UK) is mostly white. The non-white LARPers I known (of Chinese and Middle-Eastern ethnicity) are a small minority, but play exactly the same sorts of characters, in exactly the same sorts of costume, as white LARPers. No one would expect them to stick to characters of 'their' racial type. In my corner of the hobby, no one would expect a dark-skinned LARPER to use pale make-up to portray, for example, a Norseman or Celt (and I've never seen anyone do that, but if they did, I don't think that anyone would mind).

At least in the systems I play, it is very, very rare to use face-paint to portray a human character of any race. The only examples I can recall is (a) to portray fictional human sub-types (such as Melniboneans or Githyanki) as truly white (as opposed to the pasty pink that is usually called white), and (b) to give a refined aristocratic character unusually pale skin. Different human races are portrayed all the time, but other means than face-paint are commonly used to signal that. Accents are used, frequently (though not universally).

There is (necessarily) a great deal of suspension of disbelief in LARP, so it's possible to get away with little to pass as whatever it is you want to play. But on the other hand, many people enjoy making an effort and appreciate that in others, so the standards of authenticity vary a lot.

--------------------
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Richard Dawkins

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:

But by the same token you can trust me to be intelligent enough to look at David Walliams and know he's lampooning a mad-as-a-box-of-frogs world leader, not an entire ethnic section of the world's population.

His intent isn't the whole of the problem. The problem is the yellow-face. And that he did not need to wear it to communicate who he was lampooning. Again, he didn't do Kim's other major physical attribute: Fat.

quote:

Ethnicity is a complex construct, though isn't it? It's not merely physical. It is accent, language, use of the vernacular, clothes, customs; the psychology which drives behaviour, response, attitude etc.

Culture comes into play as well. It is inter-related, but not identical.
quote:

Should you give the best verbal impression (which is not the same thing as 'impersonation', of course) of Her Maj, say over the radio, to people who couldn't see you, you would still most assuredly be portraying her within her own ethnic grouping.

No, her subculture, not her ethnicity.
quote:

There is no way you could replicate the tones of a royal-born, aristocratic white English woman without placing her very firmly smack bang in the middle of where and how she was born, educated, within what kind of culture and according to what kind of societal mores. So what is the taboo about the physical aspect of ethnicity, which apparently doesn't apply to all those other aspects?

There is not the same the history of oppressing royalty, except by other royalty and nobility, as there is of brown peoples.

quote:

True. The Queen's skin colour, age, hairstyle, figure etc is not the whole of who she is. But neither is her voice. If you think that looking like her is out of the question, where's the justification for sounding like her?

I did not say looking like her was out of the question, but that it is unnecessary.
quote:

Are we saying that we shouldn't consider people, in general, clever enough to know what it is they're being presented with?

Actually, yes, because they haven't been so far. If they were, we would not be having this conversation.
quote:
Some, of course, won't be. But in a liberal environment where people of power are subject to irreverent comic critique, that is arguably a risk we should be prepared to take.

The very same critique of Kim could have been done without the yellowface. Simply the haircut and the uniform would have been sufficient for anyone who knows who Kim Jong Un is, and not amount of makeup would inform those who did not.

[ 11. November 2017, 02:07: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jane R
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lilbuddha:
quote:
No, but stop wearing makeup to portray other groups.
You have to wear *some* makeup on stage, or you look like a corpse!

As I said, we wore ordinary makeup for Turandot (making us clearly European people in fancy dress, just like the plot really) and makeup a couple of shades darker than usual for Nabucco (Europeans with a slight tan, dressed in what appeared to be potato sacks).

quote:
The UK is very much more white than the US. It is only a few areas that have much melanin. And this affords a additional level of blindness, IME.
That's true enough. You're also correct that British racism tends to be more passive-aggressive than in-your-face, though it seems to be getting more like American racism post-Brexit.
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Golden Key
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lB--

quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I don't agree. As has been mentioned upthread, portraying a character of another race/culture has been done and quite successfully. Hamilton, the hottest theatre ticket in America and much anticipated in the UK, doesn't worry about portraying race.

Actually, my understanding is that Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the show and is (I think) Latino (possibly Puerto Rican) *purposely* set out to have a non-white cast.

In a clip I saw, there was one white actress--as Hamilton's wife, IIRC. The cast changes, periodically, so she may no longer be betrayed by a white actress.

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simontoad
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# 18096

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I'm going to chuck in the hand-grenade that is Papa Lazarou in The League of Gentlemen. This show had a cult following in Australia, but I'm not sure how mainstream it was in the UK. Certainly the creators of the show are all lauded as geniuses, and have gone on to work on some iconic British shows such as Dr Who, Horrible Histories, Sherlock and a number of top-drawer BBC dramas. They are, I think, the establishment in British Comedy.

The Papa Lazarou character wears blackface, but I find it difficult to watch because of how he bullies and manipulates the women in this clip. I haven't watched any other clip with this character. It just goes too far with me, which is saying something given the content of some of the other storylines. As I say though, the writers/performers have been certified as geniuses.

The League of Gentlemen: Papa Lazarou

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
lilbuddha:
quote:
No, but stop wearing makeup to portray other groups.
You have to wear *some* makeup on stage, or you look like a corpse!
Which is why I said “to portray other groups”.
BTW, brown people also wear theatrical makeup, though not to avoid looking too pale.
quote:

You're also correct that British racism tends to be more passive-aggressive than in-your-face, though it seems to be getting more like American racism post-Brexit.

It is quite nice of you to confirm this. I wasn’t quite sure I should believe my own experience. Or that of family, friends, coworkers... [Biased]

Yes, fuck Brexit and Trump. Britain is becoming America and America is stepping backwards. What a wonderful time to be alive!

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Jane R
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# 331

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lilbuddha:
quote:
It is quite nice of you to confirm this. I wasn’t quite sure I should believe my own experience. Or that of family, friends, coworkers...
Didn't mean to sound patronising - sorry. I've encountered blindness to prejudice myself - when complaining about people from the South being rude to me because of my (Northern) accent, I got 'what are you talking about? I've never had any problems in the South, only in the North.' From a Londoner. Gosh, yes, how very tolerant and broad-minded Southerners are; they aren't prejudiced against people with the *same accent as themselves*.

Race and class and parochialism all intersect over here. That's why we (still) have so many regional accents...

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
I'm going to chuck in the hand-grenade that is Papa Lazarou in The League of Gentlemen. This show had a cult following in Australia, but I'm not sure how mainstream it was in the UK. Certainly the creators of the show are all lauded as geniuses, and have gone on to work on some iconic British shows such as Dr Who, Horrible Histories, Sherlock and a number of top-drawer BBC dramas. They are, I think, the establishment in British Comedy.

The Papa Lazarou character wears blackface, but I find it difficult to watch because of how he bullies and manipulates the women in this clip. I haven't watched any other clip with this character. It just goes too far with me, which is saying something given the content of some of the other storylines. As I say though, the writers/performers have been certified as geniuses.

The League of Gentlemen: Papa Lazarou

It was a big hit in the UK, the man playing the woman in the headscarf is the guy who wrote Sherlock and plays mycroft in it- Mark Gatiss.

It has not aged well. Yes, that is self-evidently blackface - and I am ashamed to admit that until you posted that I hadn't noticed.

When I watched it I saw the character as an evil clown, one of a series of grotesques in horror-comedy show in which no one was who they represented. (In so far as that's true of the plot - he steals away people to a circus of which he acts as ringmaster and then transforms them - it also reflects a lot of the anti-Roma prejudices directed at travellers.) Now that I come to think of it the pig-faced shopkeepers are self-evidently a crystallisation of every cliche about inbred rural villages.

I know it is a series whose portrayals have made me increasingly uncomfortable over time, not just re race but also the portrayal of woman, other nationalities and transgender folk. I actually own copies of those series, but haven't watched them in over a decade - think I'll bin them.

[ 11. November 2017, 13:08: Message edited by: Doublethink. ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Doublethink.
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# 1984

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Trivia fact, the League of Gentleman is set in Royston Vasey - because that is the real name of Roy Chubby Brown, who the creators claim to have disliked - though I note wiki says he was cast in the series at one point.

This is the same team who did Psychoville and Inside No 9

[ 11. November 2017, 13:14: Message edited by: Doublethink. ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Doublethink.
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# 1984

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This old guardian article has a round up of more recent incidents (it was written just before Obama won his first term): https://www.theguardian.com/film/2008/aug/23/comedy.race

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Ooops! Several posts up, I said that a white actress had "betrayed" Mrs. Hamilton in "Hamilton". I meant "portrayed".

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
I think we can agree that race is an integral part of a person's identity. Therefore it seems to me that any attempt to portray a person accurately has to include some attempt to portray their race accurately.

...portraying a character of another race/culture has been done and quite successfully. Hamilton, the hottest theatre ticket in America and much anticipated in the UK, doesn't worry about portraying race.
That's an artistic decision taken by a professional theatre company. The amateurs at portraying other people that we're talking about in this thread - guests at fancy dress parties, role-players - face a similar decision - how much will looking more like the person I'm portraying add to the experience ? But (often) make that decision as individuals, without a director/producer to co-ordinate the look across the cast.

Seems like you're making a utilitarian argument that the gains (from makeup that suggests the race of the character one is playing) are smaller than the losses, and therefore it shouldn't be done. The loss being the risk that someone of the ethnicity portrayed will be offended thereby. Is that it ?

The alternative might be that you're saying that trying to look like someone else is an inherently disrespectful action. And that while you're quite happy for anyone to disrespect Glorious Leader, you think it's wrong to disrespect Koreans in general, regardless of how beneficial it may be in other ways.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Seems like you're making a utilitarian argument that the gains (from makeup that suggests the race of the character one is playing) are smaller than the losses, and therefore it shouldn't be done. The loss being the risk that someone of the ethnicity portrayed will be offended thereby. Is that it ?

Surprisingly, fairly close. Except that I'd argue out of respect rather than utilitarianism.
quote:

The alternative might be that you're saying that trying to look like someone else is an inherently disrespectful action.

I'm saying that using makeup to impersonate another group which has been maligned by doing so is disrespectful. As I have stated more than one on this thread.
quote:

And that while you're quite happy for anyone to disrespect Glorious Leader,

Disrespecting him for what has has done is fine, disrespecting him for what he is (by birth/culture) not so much.
quote:

you think it's wrong to disrespect Koreans in general, regardless of how beneficial it may be in other ways.

Go on then, tell me how disrespecting Koreans is beneficial.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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So, here we have a thread where white people want to look brown for fun when real brown people’s attributes are erased.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16932 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged



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