Al Jolson - without blacking up

Gosh! This is a bit edgy! A guy dressed in a diaper. But he is B.L.A.C.K.. And that Jesus, he's a bit Gay. I am totally confused and my white liberal sensitivities are jarring as I write. Some things are OK and some things are not. I do find it very hard to keep up with what I am supposed to cheer and what I am supposed to boo.

This week in Edinburgh sees the opening of Jolson & Co, a bio-musical of Al Jolson, who famously was in the first "talkie". Jolson was a white Jew who favoured the not unusual stage image of a "blacked up" negro.

Except that in this production, the Jolson character will not wear black face paint because, said the producer, "In this day and age we are not out to offend anyone".

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't remember this level of sensitivity being brought to bear on "Jerry Springer, the Opera"

When those who work in the arts tell us they are not out to "offend" anyone, you need to be afraid, very afraid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes this is getting stupid. We are doing Buddy Holly and in the very important scene where Buddy helps bridge the racial divide in Harlem, thanks to our local council, we have to use white actors putting on Black accents - surely this is more insulting than simply putting on proper make up! It's political correctness gone mad!!