Meredith Simons, a law student, who has a bright future in academia or the Democratic party, has discovered to her horror that “white” actors play “non-white” roles in plays and movies.
In a Washington Post article Simons includes in this series of racist miscastings Anthony Hopkins (Welsh descent) who plays Zorro. This implies that the Spanish are non-white, which is probably news to the Spanish. Perhaps Stevens follows the British dictum that wogs begin at Calais. Or can only persons of the same nationality as a character play that character: only Danes can play Hamlet; only Italians, Romeo and Juliet; only Brits, Henrys; only Macedonians, Cleopatra, etc. Of course, this would close off all but one role in Shakespeare to blacks. And opera! Trouser roles! A lot Italians pretending to be Chinese and Egyptian and even Scottish! Germans cast as Norse gods! Quelle horreur!
Simons is treading on especially dangerous ground when she points to the character of Jesus. Can only a Jew play Jesus? Also she doesn’t seem to consider Jews white. She seems never to have met a blond, blue eyed Jew. And King David was probably red-haired, and pale like other red heads. And whom would she qualify as a Jew? Would she use matrilineal descent? The Nuremberg Laws? 1% genes? Those commentators who agree with her tie themselves in knots about whether Jews and Arabs and Italians and Egyptians are “white.”
The hundreds of comments have pointed out the dozens of factual errors in her article: e.g, she condemns allowing Valentino to play an Arab in The Sheik – but the sheikh in the end turns out to be a European. Simons’ spelling is also weak; she refers to a person of Nigerian “dissent.”
As a law student she may have never read or seen a single play by Shakespeare (or perhaps by anyone else) She may have missed the fact that AN ACTOR IS A PERSON WHO PRETENDS TO BE SOMEONE HE IS NOT. The better an actor imitates a character different from him, the better an actor he is. Shakespeare’s actors were all male. None of them were women, or Jews, or Moors, or Italians, or Danes, or bears, or monsters, or sprites, or kings, or dukes, or friars etc. They used make up and costumes as part of the act. That’s what actors do.
Much of the fun of a play is the implicit distance from reality. Let’s pretend – but we know it is pretense. In As You Like It in Shakespeare’s time men played women disguised as men. A current production of that play has an all-female cast: women playing men playing women playing men.
Or perhaps Simons doesn’t realize that plays and movies are not reality, reality being a concept that she has a distant and hostile relationship with. That is a good possibility. The Post, like other liberal organizations, thinks that reality is a fascist patriarchal plot. When a male can declare himself a woman (or a chicken or a Martian, or whatever he chooses) and the Obama administration will force everyone to accept it, we know that reality has been abandoned. But a European on stage can’t pretend to be an Arab, or anyone whom Simons has decided should be played only by an appropriately swarthy person of the right race-nationality-ethnicity -appearance.
There are some good comments at the Post blog.
Typical Washington Post story: “Blah blah RACE blah blah blah RACE blah RACE RACE blah blah RACE.” As for me, I am officially RACED OUT!
Look for the upcoming Post headline: “How The Quarterback You Root For In The Super Bowl Reveals If You Are A Racist.”
Errol Flynn was not an 11th-century Englishman, so how could he possibly play Robin Hood? How could he understand the struggles that Robin Hood went through? His use of a longbow was cultural appropriation!
Don’t forget all those Klingons played by white and black actors. Many Vulcans too.
You forgot about Vulcans and other aliens. Why did Hollywood cast Alan Rickman as an alien in Galaxy Quest when we have genuine aliens like Johnny Depp and the entire Post editorial staff?
And let’s not forget that shameful Dustin Hoffman running around dressed up like a woman in “Tootsie”. I mean REALLY….
And in other news, Bollywood uses Indians to depict characters of non-Indian descent, whatever the Chinese _ollywood is uses Chinese to depict characters of non-Chinese descent, and perhaps most alarmingly, George Lucas uses humans to depict non-humans.
““Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” 2014: White actor William Fichtner played Eric Sacks, a villain who’s typically depicted as Japanese; he’ll reprise the role in future movies.”
You know, the actors playing the turtle are not actually mutated turtles, and neither is the rat a rat.
So? According to this politically correct bs who should have played the character in 10,000 BC?
you mean as in CHI-RAQ which is a GREEK comedy by Aristophanes about white people in Greece doing naughty things? Cultural appropriation anyone? It could very well be the pot calling the kettle…..
What about all the gay actors playing heterosexuals, and vice-versa? I sometimes find that funny. In one show that ended recently, the main star who played a debonair ladies’ man is gay in real life and a co-star who played a gay person in the show is heterosexual in real life.
Simons’ article is such a demonstration of liberal inanity, ignorance, and stupidity that one suspects that lurking in the bowels of the Washington Post there is a crypto-conservative who commissioned this article to disgrace liberals.
But probably this comment explains the article:
Hmmmm, my boss gave me an assignment to write an article that will get as many “clicks” as possible. How about a someone who grew up in a Northern state making fun of how DCers handle snow in a condescending and idiotic way? Oh, someone beat me to it. I know, how about an article inferring that Mike Myers shouldn’t be able to play anyone but a Caucasian Canadian? I mean he wasn’t really a young kid living in his parents’ basement. As an American I am completely offended that Kate Winslett was cast as an American in one film and a German in another. I’m going to picket Rosamund Pike’s house because she was cast an American in both Gone Girl and Jack Reacher. This can’t happen.