Abra-Obama

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby Tim Ellis » January 31st, 2009, 10:47 pm

So if I wanted to do an impersonation of Obama, you'd recommend I do it without black make up otherwise it would be considered racist?

What if I wore an Obama mask purchased at the local magic shop?

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NCMarsh
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby NCMarsh » January 31st, 2009, 11:13 pm

A couple of thoughts:

A. I'd don't speak Japanese, so I can't comment on the words or vocal rhythms, etc. But, in terms of the physical end of the performance -- movement, gesture, expression, etc. -- it didn't seem like he was mocking Obama, but mocking blackness. The physicality wasn't that of Barack Obama, but of 'generic black person.'

B. Blackface is not simply putting on makeup that makes you appear black. Blackface is a very particular style of makeup that creates an intentionally monstrous/grotesque/degrading image of a black person. This wasn't about someone wearing black makeup, it was about someone in blackface.

As a way of trying to answer Tim's question; if you did it in blackface; and if your performance mocked "blackness" rather than mocking this particular black public figure, then I think it could fairly be considered racist.

If you were just in makeup as a black man, and you were mocking the particular physicality, voice, ideas, etc. of this black man; then I don't think it can fairly be considered racist.

I can't imagine what it is like to be considered someone else's property -- human livestock. Or, in my parent's lifetime, to be able to be tortured and killed without legal consequence. Those wounds, I can imagine, would heal slowly.

Whites living today certainly aren't responsible for those acts. But it seems smart, to me, to steer clear of anything that smells of viewing blacks as less human. If you've seen minstrel/blackface, the performances very clearly depict blacks as little more than animals that speak. Casually evoking the imagery of those performances is stupid and hurtful.

my .02

N.

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby Tim Ellis » February 1st, 2009, 12:13 am

I didn't feel he was mocking "blackness", but other than that, I agree with the rest of your post.

Well said.

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NCMarsh
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby NCMarsh » February 1st, 2009, 2:21 am

Maybe saying he was "mocking 'blackness'" wasn't the best way of putting it...

It struck me something like this:

You take a six year old outside and say "draw that tree;" and they won't even look at that tree...he just stares at the paper and draws a circle on top of a rectangle...learning to draw begins with learning to look at "this" tree and draw what's in front of you instead of what's in your head

This performance struck me in the same way...it felt lazy...Obama has a very particular way of carrying himself and a very particular set of gestures, and -- to me -- it didn't seem like there was any attempt to do Obama...that instead they went for "black guy shouting change"

so, I don't know that it was intentionally racist...but definitely racially tone deaf...and, imo, bad art

Henley
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby Henley » February 1st, 2009, 3:44 am

NCMarsh wrote:This performance struck me in the same way...it felt lazy...
...shouting...

...bad art


Welcome to Japanese t.v.!
(Although I prefer the word "artless".)

opie
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby opie » February 1st, 2009, 9:30 am

When all is said and done with, the man's greatness comes from the fact that he has a wee bit of Irish in him, and everybody knows that we Irish can take a joke....

http://www.oneeyedparrot.org/obama.html

opie

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David Thomas
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Re: Abra-Obama

Postby David Thomas » February 16th, 2009, 7:07 pm

They showed this on fox news today! :O


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