Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Drag Queen OK; Blackface Not. Why?
Over on another thread about a rant by some guy named George Lopez (I guess he’s a comedian?), @vthek (VictorTangoKilo) suggested replacing “drag [queen]” with “womanface,” which prompted a connection I had not previously considered: Why is “drag queen” to be celebrated and encouraged. At the same time “blackface” is condemned and anybody who ever participated in it or even enjoyed a show including it must be erased from society and history? Victor’s use of “womanface” provided me with a new perspective on drag queens.
As I understand it, blackface is objectionable because it is appropriating the superficial appearance of black people’s identity in order to poke fun at that identity by stereotyping or exaggerating certain characteristics.
Is that not also what “drag queens” do with their “womanface?” They appropriate a female outward appearance and then poke fun at that female identity by stereotyping and exaggerating certain perceived feminine characteristics. Based on my very superficial readings, most “drag queens” make no claims to being actual women. They readily acknowledge that they are men adopting a pretend female role.
So if blackface is so bad that its existence must be eradicated from the historical record for appropriating black people’s identity, why do drag queens get celebrated for appropriating women’s identity? Or is this just another social rule that I have to accept as is regardless of its logical inconsistency?Published in Entertainment
I have seen some black comedians performing sketches in blackface. It was very old black and white footage found and lost by chance on YouTube. I didn’t recognize any of the players and couldn’t be sure whether it was TV or pre-TV entertainment (one of the props was a very old model automobile). Anyway, it was hilariously funny comedy and obviously not particularly aimed at a white audience. But why would black players wear blackface for a black audience? Why was that funny to them? The effect of blackface in entertainment is more complicated than simply “racism!”.
Even further back in memories, I remember being surprised to see in an old Hitchcock movie that members of a small group of live (jazz?) musicians who were playing in some sort of English club were in blackface. This must have been common back in the Jazz Age. It seemed more like an attempt to make the band seem more authentic than an attempt to make fun of black musicians.
If only all the many thousands of students focused on grievance studies were searching for truth and not trying to cover it up to support false narratives.
Young and Innocent. Warning: SPOILERS but not really. The movie’s protagonists are on the run, looking for the real killer. In the opening scene we’d seen the murder twitch his eye when under pressure, and so we have, 90 minutes later, this nifty little sequence. It must have been quite effective on the big screen.
Ha! That’s it! Thank you, @jameslileks.
I remembered that someone was hiding in the blackface band for some reason, but I’d completely forgotten that magnificent pan! I did see it on the big screen, though, along with almost every other Hitchcock film, thanks to the American Film Institute when their theatre was embedded in the Kennedy Center back in the ‘90s.
Why do they want to perform for children?
Lucky you! We forget, watching on our computers or even big TVs at home, how enormous and luminous these faces could be.
It’s a nifty little movie, with some great miniature work as well. But that seamless tracking shot (well, he may have cut away when he passes the first pillar) that swings out and bores in – it’s a highlight of the pre-Hollywood period.
I saw two on the widescreen: Vertigo, and Rear Window. The latter is still my favorite. One of the greatest sets ever built.
It’s a demeaning portrayal of second-class citizens, a reduction to crude racial stereotypes that played to stupid cliches of the happy darkies toiling in the antebellum fields. The portrayal of blacks in the cartoons, comics, and movies was awful for decades – pop-eyes, big lips, slow-movin’ dullards. They’d get a better shake in musicals, but for the most part, they were porters and janitors.
That’s actually a terrific point, and one I wish I’d thought of.
Blackface is necessarily performed by individuals of light complexion, which creates a clear disparity in, as TBA so beautifully put it, the aggrievitas of the two groups involved: black grievance trumps white privilege by orders of magnitude.
In contrast, drag is performed by presumably “gender diverse” individuals, a group with high victim status, at the expense of women, a group that currently enjoys lower victim status. (If anyone doubts that, look at the abuse women are currently taking from men who self-identify as women).
Miss Theocracy makes a good point.
Sadly I think the Trans / Drag thing is just at the start of a done deal. Why? Because the girls / women want it. They love the guys. Like and love the gays. They love them as friends. They love working with them. They love the meeting and partying involving them. Be it Pride festival or Drag Parties, the women love it and so it is here and here to stay.
Why? Leftist logic . . .
If they’d just left our kids out of it, nobody would care.
Because LOTT just reposts what the alphabet people post. Corporate Media does a lot of heavy lifting to make the Alphabet people more hygienic. But when the radical queer element post for themselves without the corporate filter, a lot of the stuff they try to hide from the normies gets out.
In the flop movie, Babylon (2022), a lurid and scatological account of Hollywood’s transition to sound, a black jazz trumpeter is told to darken his skin because, on camera, he looks white compared to his orchestra. (Evidently Southern audiences ca. 1929 are OK with a black orchestra, but not an integrated orchestra.)
For some reason, he’s supposed to feel humiliated by this. I am not sure the audience agrees, given that they’ve already seen the grotesque clown makeup that the white performers in the same musical are forced to wear for the camera.
I am lucky enough to have seen a broadcast of Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) before they excised the cute little black centaur … who shines the hooves of the white centaurs!
It should be noted that a black opera singer (I forget his name) has complained that wearing dark make up for a role is not the same as the “comic” blackface with exaggerated lips. (Obviously, comedian Billy Crystal’s loving tributes to Fernando Lamas and Sammy Davis Jr. were not intended as insults.)
Given that it’s OK to caricature “hillbillies” and working class whites, the ban on blackface should probably be considered as yet another example of Black Privilege.
I don’t deny that. Based on things I have read, there are drag shows that are pornographic. But the two I saw were not. I’m not saying that that makes them suitable for children. There are adult stand-up comedians that no sensible parent would take their minor children to because the comedians cannot deliver three sentences in a row without dropping the F-bomb.
None of the women in my party took offense and thought that the performers were mocking women.
The shift took place long before that incident. Whoopi and Ted were criticized immediately, not just in retrospect.
Here’s how a drag hag preformed in our little town for a Halloween show. I apologize for the poor quality of the photo. What you are looking at is a guy who is mostly naked, except for a plastic corset into which people have stuffed dollar bills, a thong, and pasties over his nipples. He started out in a flamenco-style dress and stripped down to this. Children 13 and up were invited, and there were children there, according to someone I know who went there and took this photo (she was entirely supportive and could not understand why I objected). I will be writing a post about this and what actions I took. Why in hell does some guy want to parade like this in front of kids?!
She under-bused him in a matter of days.
Correction needed. Joy(less) Behar is a known Blackface purveyor.
I think that would be women who enjoy drag. Going by fag hags.
Unless you are in Thailand.
I think the point is to normalise drag.
You need to ask, though, whose idea was this?
Did a bunch of drag queens show up at a school demanding to read Snow White to the children?
I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s feeling like the response to marriage equality was a redirect of discomfort at how straight marriage had changed (unchallenged).
Until the recent era, I never heard complaints about minstrel shows from Black people in America, and I’m 64 years old. And even the complaints I hear now are almost exclusively from White people. Come to think of it, I never before heard complaints about Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, the Indian woman on a stick of butter, or the racial/ethnic humor of Redd Fox and Don Rickles. Even during the great era of “Pollack jokes” I don’t remember any anguish or significant push by the Polish community to condemn such things. People took such things in stride back then and not personally.
It is totally okay and socially acceptable in America today to make fun of “Rednecks.” How many Good ole’ boys do you see out on the streets protesting this? None. Because they refuse to take offense. The mark of a real man. You also don’t see yellow-haired women protesting blonde jokes either. Probably because they are too stupid to know they are being made fun of!
Make it entertaining, then.
I don’t understand your last point. However, why do Drag Queens want to perform for children? Why do they want to encourage children to become Drag Queens? Why have them dress up and perform suggestively for adults who throw dollar bills at them? Why sexualize children? Isn’t this pretty much the definition of grooming?
No, make it illegal to perform for children. I don’t care if some screwed up adult wants to go to a drag show. They can manage their own perversity. Leave the kids out of it.
They may not have made them to you?
Your other points are well taken, but there’s the factor of punching up vs punching down. Fwiw I think rednecks are the only group that has free reign to make fun of rednecks.