Abra-Obama

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.

Postby Tim Ellis » 01/26/09 05:23 PM

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Postby Terry » 01/26/09 07:21 PM

This should be on the Scoundrels Forum under Con Men. . . .
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Postby David Vamer » 01/28/09 03:52 PM

Terry, I find your equating the President to a Con Man to be extremely offensive
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Postby Cugel » 01/28/09 04:10 PM

Lighten up, David. I thought you were made of much sterner stuff:

Had I been in Josh's shoes, I'd have chosen material that ENCOURAGED the ladies to get frisky, then I'd have pushed them past their comfort zone onto MY playground. Sure, it might have gotten me banned from the show, but so what? TV is far too full of bland wussies who take whatever crap is dealt out to them in order to preserve any chance of another guest shot.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 01/28/09 04:43 PM

Terry wrote:This should be on the Scoundrels Forum under Con Men. . . .


Image
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Postby Cugel » 01/28/09 04:47 PM

This must be the only magic forum on the net that you could have a humorous discussion like this without it getting locked, huh Chris?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/09 04:48 PM

Once you get past the shock of seeing a Japanese man in blackface, it's even worse because he's such an abominable magician!
I declare that it goes into the Hall of Worst Magic Acts Ever Seen.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 01/28/09 04:49 PM

Cugel wrote:This must be the only magic forum on the net that you could have a humorous discussion like this without it getting locked, huh Chris?

I wouldn't know. I'm currently taking a few months off from that sort of thing... ;)
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Postby Cugel » 01/28/09 04:54 PM

Chris Aguilar wrote:
Cugel wrote:This must be the only magic forum on the net that you could have a humorous discussion like this without it getting locked, huh Chris?

I wouldn't know. I'm currently taking a few months off from that sort of thing... ;)


Hey, at least you can come here and let your hair down. I'm thinking of starting a thread on "routining", myself.

But enough meta-commentary. Back to the Obama show.
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Postby Terry » 01/28/09 04:59 PM

David Vamer wrote:Terry, I find your equating the President to a Con Man to be extremely offensive


Lighten up Francis.

I guess a joke is a joke except when it comes too close?
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Postby Terry » 01/28/09 05:01 PM

Chris Aguilar wrote:Image


Are you kidding me?

I'm glad we have the opportunity to correct the mistaken belief that all boobs in office come only from the south.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/09 05:34 PM

Please put a lid on it.
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Postby Ray T. Stott » 01/28/09 05:47 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Once you get past the shock of seeing a Japanese man in blackface, it's even worse because he's such an abominable magician!
I declare that it goes into the Hall of Worst Magic Acts Ever Seen.


Did anyone notice that the M.C. looked a lot alike a Nipponese Chuck Barris (Discounting the hair cut)?
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Postby opie » 01/28/09 06:44 PM

I suspect that the clip will earn the man some nastygrams from Obama Japan.

To me, the clip illustrates just how much our President has impressed even the common people of the world. Hoo ah.....

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Postby Cugel » 01/28/09 06:52 PM

To me, it demonstrates again that the Japanese have a healthy sense of humour.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/09 09:40 PM

... and a bit of racism, too.
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Postby 000 » 01/28/09 11:40 PM

Nice looking change bag though..........Ive just binned the crappiest change bag that must have ever been made by a certain South American outfit. Made more from stiff cardboard ( which broke) than wood.
Racism no, sense of humour yes. Obama is truly a global phenomenon and satirical ripps comes with the territory.
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Postby Cugel » 01/28/09 11:50 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:... and a bit of racism, too.


How so? I must admit I watched the first 20 seconds only and found it amusing.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/29/09 12:49 AM

In the United States, from which you are not so you might not get this point, it is considered racist to dress in blackface.
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Postby Cugel » 01/29/09 01:23 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:In the United States, from which you are not so you might not get this point, it is considered racist to dress in blackface.


You mean like John Belushi as the samurai chef on Saturday Night Live? Or Eddie Murphy as the old Jewish guy in "Coming To America?" Or Lenny Henry doing an impersonation of Steve Martin? Or Brad Pitt impersonating a gypsy in Snatch?

I completely take your point. It's not okay to do a black and white minstrel turn, not just in my opinion, but in the opinion of any decent person. But I thought this was just a guy made up to look like a famous politician. The only thing he was satirizing was the rhetoric Obama used to get elected, not Obama's race.

I find racism offensive but I really don't think this qualifies.
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Postby 000 » 01/29/09 09:49 AM

YES WE CAN overcome the differences in Magicland, as we seek to reward those fine originators of ideas and creativity, whilst we continue to pour scorn on those whose very only purpose is to rip off and leech of the creativity of others. YES WE CAN.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/29/09 10:09 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:In the United States, from which you are not so you might not get this point, it is considered racist to dress in blackface.


Sadly it's still considered cute to dress up as "oriental" or put on a turban and make jokes about cows and philosophy or loud clothes and make jokes about gays.

The "minstrel" show thing was about American white folks pretending to have reason to look at their black neighbors as somehow different and comical - a ploy which came back to haunt our bigots via some skits in the show "Living Color" and some pointed humor from the likes of Lenny Henry.

Homey don't play dat. Cue the fly girls and let's just look at the guy as bait for some parody. BTW did you hear about what some singers over there were doing when Bowie was on tour in 83? Right - they were putting on blonde wigs and trying to croon. Sometimes flattery brings on its own form of parody. :)
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Postby David Vamer » 01/29/09 04:00 PM

"Sterner stuff?" I have no problem with the performance. It had the kernel of a funny idea, if badly executed. ANYTHING is fair game for satire, ESPECIALLY politicians. Justice Brennan covered that in a rather lengthy legal opinion.

My gripe was with a political agenda finding it's way onto this forum. I thought we had a gentlemen's agreement, if not an outright rule, to leave politics at the door.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 01/29/09 04:28 PM

For reference: Blackface in Japan.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/29/09 04:38 PM

For reference - they are ethnicly diverse culture with such a great for outsiders as to have some folks dressing up as wannabees... really?
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on 01/29/09 04:41 PM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: way too easy to make comment - so I won't bother to point out the obvious to those who wish not to see beyond their delusions.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 01/29/09 05:11 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote: Sadly it's still considered cute to dress up as "oriental" or put on a turban and make jokes about cows and philosophy or loud clothes and make jokes about gays.

What? No it's not. Not in 2009. Where do you get that idea?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/29/09 06:29 PM

Terry wrote:Lighten up Francis.


Welcome, Sgt. Hulka, to the Forum.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/30/09 12:56 AM

Impressions are a different area.

Rather than get into that discussion, here's a clip of Jim Carrey doing a killer impersonation of Sammy Davis, Jr.--which goes to show you don't need brown greasepaint, a fake nose, and a nappy wig:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCUxZJCt ... re=related
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Postby Ryan Matney » 01/30/09 02:35 AM

Hey Richard,

Billy Crystal did a killer impression of Sammy with all of the above.

Just saying...
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Postby Tim Ellis » 01/30/09 06:28 AM

"Impressions are a different era?"

But this guy was doing an impression of Obama...

What about C Thomas Howell, the "Soul Man"...?
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Postby Terry » 01/30/09 11:16 PM

Why is it not racism when black comics take shots at white/oriental/etc. people? Amazing how things get ignored depending on which ethnic group is telling the joke.

There is a simple answer to the problem - you don't like the video - don't watch it. Since it was made for viewing by a Japanese audience, they probably don't give a tinker's damn about what we think anyway.
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Postby flynn » 01/31/09 01:08 AM

Its all in the approach.
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Postby opie » 01/31/09 11:24 AM

Here is an objective approach to the question of Obama humor:

http://www.wimp.com/obamafun/

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/31/09 12:37 PM

is the objective the lens closer to the eye or the one further away?
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Postby opie » 01/31/09 06:58 PM

tsk tsk......opie
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Postby Terry » 01/31/09 07:54 PM

opie wrote:Here is an objective approach to the question of Obama humor:

http://www.wimp.com/obamafun/

opie


This reminded me of the movie 'Barbershop' and how Cedric's character, Eddie, spoke his mind about some of the "icons" of the black community.

Most black friends I have, work with and attend my church in South Carolina appreciate honest open communication about the issues. It is white people who have become so anal about offending someone that it locks any communication out.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 01/31/09 09:58 PM

From Wikipedia:

Definitions
Though the term racism usually denotes race-based prejudice, violence, discrimination, or oppression, the term can also have varying and hotly contested definitions. Racialism is a related term, sometimes intended to avoid these negative meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, racism is a belief or ideology that all members of each racial group possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it as being either superior or inferior to another racial group or racial groups. The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular racial group, and that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief. The Macquarie Dictionary defines racism as: "the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate others."


Legal
The UN does not define "racism", however it does define "racial discrimination": according to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life. '[1]

This definition does not make any difference between prosecutions based on ethnicity and race, in part because the distinction between the two remains debatable among anthropologists.[2] According to British law, racial group means "any group of people who are defined by reference to their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin".[3]

_______________________________________________

In regards to the Obama clip, I cannot see any example of racism whatsoever.

However, I can understand how some people may think the intention was to offend, after reading this - also from Wikipedia:
________________________________________________

Blackface, in the narrow sense, is a style of theatrical makeup that originated in the United States, used to take on the appearance of certain archetypes of American racism, especially those of the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon".[1] Blackface in the broader sense includes similarly stereotyped performances even when they do not involve blackface makeup.

Blackface was an important performance tradition in the American theater for roughly 100 years beginning around 1830. It quickly became popular overseas, particularly so in Britain, where the tradition lasted even longer than in the US.[2] In both the United States and Britain, blackface was most commonly used in the minstrel performance tradition, but it predates that tradition, and it survived long past the heyday of the minstrel show. White blackface performers in the past used burnt cork and later greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their lips, often wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tailcoats, or ragged clothes to complete the transformation. Later, black artists also performed in blackface.

Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrelsy played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide. In some quarters, the caricatures that were the legacy of blackface persist to the present day and are a cause of ongoing controversy.

By the mid-20th century, changing attitudes about race and racism effectively ended the prominence of blackface makeup used in performance in the U.S. and elsewhere. It remains in relatively limited use as a theatrical device, mostly outside the U.S., and is more commonly used today as social commentary or satire. Perhaps the most enduring effect of blackface is the precedent it established in the introduction of African American culture to an international audience, albeit through a distorted lens.[3][4] Blackface's groundbreaking appropriation,[3][4][5] exploitation, and assimilation[3] of African-American cultureas well as the inter-ethnic artistic collaborations that stemmed from itwere but a prologue to the lucrative packaging, marketing, and dissemination of African-American cultural expression and its myriad derivative forms in today's world popular culture.[4][6][7]

_________________________________________________

Finally, this quote about Blackface in Japan is very interesting

_________________________________________________

Japan
Blackface in the Japanese culture has developed with different intentions from other cultures, as it reflects a conscious embrace of African and African-American culture.[106] According to Joe Wood, "they wear blackface in order to embrace black people."[citation needed] For many years the Japanese have appreciated African American musical styles, notably jazz, funk, rock n roll, and hip hop. Groups that have incorporated blackface into their act include Rats & Star and The Gospellers.

Japanese encounters with black people dates back to 1853 when Commodore Perry "re-opened" Japan and brought with him a troupe of minstrels. Much contact with American blacks took place after World War II. In reference to the experiences of African American servicemen in Japan, Ben Hamamoto writes, Many felt a noticeable difference being in a country that did not have a history of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy and found genuine curiosity more than prejudice colored their experiences with Japanese people.[107]


___________________________________________________

Bottom line for me, the guy wanted his audience to know who he was impersonating, so he dressed like him and tried to do his make up as much like Obama as he could.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/31/09 10:15 PM

Somehow, I don't think a Japanese person doing a dumb magic act with a big false nose, a Jewish accent, and an apparent fondness for money, would be considered an "embrace" of Jewish people.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/31/09 10:16 PM

Yes Tim, I found the special pleading for Japanese blackface comical and referenced it back on the 29th.
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