Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hey, Hey, you're just not that funny...

Lots of to-do in the media today about a skit on Red Faces last night. A bunch of doctors rehashing a skit they'd done on Red Faces back in the day when they were just lowly medical students. Despite their apparent intelligence, they exhibited a shocking lack of foresight when they decided to do a skit about the Jackson 5 involving four of the little skitters donning blackface, and one a whiteface (he was depicting Michael in modern times)...

Harry Connick Jnr was on the panel and was not at all impressed by the obvious racism.

Now, the vast majority of voters on a Today Tonight polls (that paragon of virtue) voted that the skit wasn't racist. Many responses to the incident that I've read amongst the Aussie public said this was just typical of "Aussie humour" and that obviously Harry didn't get it because he was American. Fingers have also be pointed at Harry because he himself has worn blackface on a couple of occassion in his past, so obviously he's being completely hypocritical.

Many have said the skit wasn't at all about the colour of the Jackson brother's skin, but rather an exercise in mocking their performace style - their moves...

I didn't see the entire skit - because, let's face it, I LOATHE the show and celebrated when it was shut down. I'm pretty annoyed that it's been resurrected, and OMG, it's not even on a Saturday??? So, I only caught a brief referential clip on one of the news web pages, but it seemed to me that the main focus of the skit was on the juxtaposition of whitefaced Michael singing with his, quite obviously, black brothers. That the man playing Michael's part had to LIGHTEN his face to play a black man...

This isn't racist, or so it seems. It's not about races - as Michael sang...

Except...

Well, it's mocking the fact that a good looking black man hated his appearance so much that he undertook several procedures to wipe away the traces of his African American origins. Yes, I know he claimed to suffer from a skin disease that lightened his skin, but even putting that aside, he had his nose narrow, and lips and chin altered, and why? Well, it's widely speculated that he grew up in America during a time of racial turmoil, and he was adored while he was a little dancing black boy, but once he started entering manhood, he started to become what was so often stereotyped as threatening in the US, he was becoming a black man...

So, the skit was in bad taste, because it mocked a man for having major insecurities about his appearance because his appearance represented a race that has long been the victim of racial slurs...

Oh, but hey, that's just Aussie humour, right...

1 comment:

Spiralmumma said...

I loathe Hey Hey too-so I knew nothing about it till I saw the hash tags on Twitter lol... I agree with your sentiments entirely. in very poor taste, especially considering 'Minstrel' shows were the height of white racist African parody :( I remember my parents watching them! ( how embarrassing, my parents aren't racist really, just a product of their era I guess) I saw the pic of HCJ in preacher guise and he's supposed to be portraying a White preacher- but his face does look quite dark. NOT the same as blackface though, by a long shot.

If hey hey and racist skits are 'typical Aussie humour'. ( or 'umor' as Kath & Kim would say) then Im happy not to be a typical Aussie. I really don't think it is, it's idiot 'humour' big difference

Teenagers and the failing parent...