October 13, 2021

"Back in 2005, there was a very specific incident that had made Chappelle realise his comedy might be harmful. In a sketch he considered to be ironic..."

"... he was dressed in blackface and dancing, when he heard the loud echo of a white man’s laughter reverberate across the set. To Chappelle, this was evidence that his satire wasn’t working: regardless of his intention, some people felt he was giving them the green light to laugh at an oppressed minority. Over 15 years later, The Closer confirms that Chappelle is no closer to remedying his original problem. After all, he is still drawing out mean-spirited laughs from a crowd – the difference is that the laughs are now at the expense of another marginalised group."

ADDED: As we were talking about yesterday, here, Chappelle uses the idea of blackface in his new show, in the context of imagining "TERFs" questioning what transgender women are doing: "They look at transgender women the way we blacks look at blackface. They go 'Oh, this bitch is doing an impression of me!'" That was criticized by a transgender woman who said “He compared my existence to someone doing blackface.” 

Now, in that old Chappelle show incident, Chappelle himself was in blackface, that is, Chappelle was doing a "impression" of his own "existence" and envisioning it in a negative way. That would be comparable to a transgender woman wearing makeup, clothing, and a hairstyle of a type that she herself didn't respect but thought was demeaning! That's more like what a drag performer might do. 

When should women who are not transgender say "Oh, this bitch is doing an impression of me!"? The real answer, I think is, when the getup is an expression of hatred toward women. That's when the blackface comparison is apt. 

ALSO: I said "That's more like what a drag performer might do." Note the "might." A drag performer might admire and respect women and might outright loathe women. There's a whole range in between that's involves satirizing women and clowning in the guise of a woman. But these performances are themselves subject to critique. You can do it, but we get to talk about your doing it.

93 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Chappelle is getting a whole lot of coverage. Why? Does he present that much of a danger?

Chris said...

In other words, the left: "Dance monkey the way we tell you to" It's the left who is racist here. Because he will not hew to their demands and make jokes according to their dictates.

This Person said...

Fortunately for those who find victim mentality to be a pandemic of its own, it makes people weak and fragile, and therefore the people who adopt it will lose in the end.

mikee said...

Comedy might be harmful. Comedy. Harmful.
There is no racism problem in this country any more, and this is my evidence of that.

rehajm said...

...some people felt he was giving them the green light to laugh at an oppressed minority

TBF, it is a very, very minor minority. Part of the issue is many people don't feel the need to reorganize the history of humanity into the unsafe chaos demanded.

MikeR said...

Joke from my youth: "How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?" "That's not funny!"

Wince said...

"...the comedian who once poked fun at racists now specialises in mean-spirited, punching-down humour, says Micha Frazer-Carroll, and it’s no joke."

Always laughed at Chappelle when he was funny, didn't when he wasn't. Never looked for more than that from him. These critics obviously fee betrayed on behalf of the preferred narrative.

Rather than register to read Micha Frazer-Carroll, I'll wait for Chappelle's retort.

TreeJoe said...

I love how TERF is considered a mainstream term now that does not require definition. It's trans exclusionary radical feminist.

Think about that for a minute.

MikeR said...

The problem today is that trans people are not an oppressed minority. Rather, they see a chance to jump into the position of oppressor.
It's a big mistake on their part. Aside from some Hollywood idiots, everyone is starting to hate them.

Drago said...

"Over 15 years later, The Closer confirms that Chappelle is no closer to remedying his original problem."

Non-leftists like Chappelle and see truths in his comedy.

Thats the "problem" according to the Maoist Left/LLR-left.

rehajm said...

I mean, I like what Chappelle does. The court jester bit needs to be run relentlessly on these nouveau elite-cum-powerful. I just wish he was funnier.

Gunner said...

The Black libtard overclass must be really mad at Dave for once again exposing that they have more in common with White SJWs than the vast majority of Black people.

Owen said...

I find this whole subject utterly devoid of interest or value. I guess that just shows me to be too stupid to perform the mental gyrations needed to follow the gender- and race-twisting logic, the multiple backflips of analogy, being presented by Prof. A. Or maybe it shows me to be secretly a hater, hiding my white supremacist rage under a pretext of ennui. Whatever.

That said, I wish Dave Chapelle all the luck in the world. I haven’t seen “the Closer” yet but it sounds good. As for his critics? To perdition with them.

Andrew said...

Sincere question: Why is "whiteface" not as offensive as "blackface"? Is it because it doesn't have the same history? For example, there was an 80s SNL skit in which Eddie Murphy pretended to be white. Is that still acceptable?

mgarbowski said...

Trent Crimm was the only thing worthwhile about the Independent, and he quit.

Fernandinande said...

some people felt he was giving them the green light to laugh at an oppressed minority.

If only blacks were oppressed, which they're not, "some people" might have had a point, which they don't.

“He compared my existence to someone doing blackface.”

The difference is that the person with the existence expects other people to go along with his fantasies.

Heartless Aztec said...

Yeah. It's called free speech from both sides of the sketch/routine. It's America. Or was. Maybe Tim Allen wasn't the Last Man Standing. Maybe it's Dave. And he coming a cigarette.

sean said...

Maybe objections to blackface should be limited to instances where it constitutes an expression of hatred, but they aren't, as witness (one example of hundreds) the furor over Olivier's "Othello." Prof. Althouse sometimes reminds me of Georg Lukacs, sitting at home writing intellectual works about the proletariat's consciousness but ignoring the Gulag operating all around her.

rhhardin said...

Blackface isn't offensive. The message might be or might not be, and it might be intended to be offensive or mocking (different audience), but so what.

Bunch of pearl clutchers.

rhhardin said...

North of Lake Placid is a 4800ft (I think) peak named Whiteface. Long hike and then you find a store and cars parked on top.

JPS said...

Andrew,

Oh heck yes it’s still acceptable. That skit was brilliant.

Eddie Murphy flashing a huge grin and the OK sign in Beverly Hills Cop, however, has got to go.

rhhardin said...

I never understood drag performers. Apparently they have a kink that I don't, I figured. Also they have no taste in music.

Comedians dressed as a woman I understood. An incongruity plus mocking imitation of women's gestures.

rhhardin said...

It's like a long argument about God keeps the sun at the center of the universe. Everybody speculates how he does it.

That the sun isn't at the center of the universe gets no hearing.

There's nothing wrong with blackface.

rehajm said...

MadisonMan said...
Chappelle is getting a whole lot of coverage. Why? Does he present that much of a danger?


So far he's not cancelable.

rhhardin said...

The obvious solution for Whiteface mountain is move it somewhere where it won't be offensive to the inhabitants of Lake Placid.

Che Dolf said...

"They look at transgender women the way we blacks look at blackface. They go 'Oh, this bitch is doing an impression of me!'"

The problem with transgenders isn't that they're disrespectful to women, or that they ruin women's sports, or anything like that. It's that they're not entirely sane, and a civilization that pretends they're sane because people want to feel "inclusive" is on the way to committing suicide.

M Jordan said...

I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t get the “pregnant people” phrasing (instead of “pregnant women”) until about a month ago. I had thought they were trying to tell me that men can have babies, through implanting a fertilized egg or something of the sort. Technology, IOW. Finally the light dawned: No, no, no … they are telling me that women can pretend to be men and, since they do have womenly hardware, they — as “men” — can get pregnant.

This is the world we’ve arrived at. Dave Chapelle is considered edgy and brilliant for noting the Theater of the Absurd we are living in. I credit him for courage but not necessarily wit.

Randomizer said...

Is blackface always bad, or only bad if it's based on hatred? When Al Jolson performed in blackface, it clearly wasn't based on hatred, but was an exaggerated interpretation of black performers. Drag performers look to be completely analogous. My understanding is that they do an exaggerated interpretation of women.

The transgender issue is unrelated because they are unquestionably not performing. They assert that this is who they are. The biggest difference is that everyone else is required to conform to this assertion.

Insist that a drag performer is not a woman, and you expect a humorously catty response. Insist that a transgender woman is not a woman, and expect to be thoroughly shunned.

Lurker21 said...

In a sketch he considered to be ironic he was dressed in blackface and dancing, when he heard the loud echo of a white man’s laughter reverberate across the set. To Chappelle, this was evidence that his satire wasn’t working: regardless of his intention, some people felt he was giving them the green light to laugh at an oppressed minority.

Maybe the guy just thought the sketch was funny? And is White laughter different from Black?

Also, "irony" can be a tricky word. There is the heavy-handed irony of saying the opposite of what one means, and then there is the graduate school version of irony where one is never quite sure of what one means or of what anything means or whether anything means anything.

Chappelle has an interesting background:

David Khari Webber Chappelle was born on August 24, 1973, in Washington, D.C. His father, William David Chappelle III, was a professor of vocal performance and the dean of students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. His mother, Yvonne Seon (née Reed, formerly Chappelle), worked for Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, is a Unitarian Universalist minister, and has been a professor and university administrator at several institutions including Wright State University and Prince George's Community College. ... Chappelle grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and attended Woodlin Elementary School. His parents were politically active, and family house visitors included Pete Seeger and Johnny Hartman.

Lurker21 said...

Why is "whiteface" not as offensive as "blackface"?

In another century or two, all other things being equal, it might be. But for the time being, "blackface" carries a lot more historical baggage than "whiteface."

Amy said...

I watched The Closer last night. He seemed to me, to be an equal-oppty offender. Not many were exempt. I enjoyed it and found it more thought provoking, poignant and a bit sad, more than funny overall. But I cannot imagine how someone could watch the entire thing and come away thinking he was a hateful person. Unless they go into it LOOKING to be offended. Hmmm...could that possibly be the case?
He is an example to me of someone with F-U money. Good for him - I hope he has a great life.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke…

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

"mean spirited laughs" are only allowed when you attack Trump, republicans, conservatives, white men, and Christians.

AlbertAnonymous said...

“After all, he is still drawing out mean-spirited laughs from a crowd”

How doe anyone know a regular laugh from a “mean spirited laugh”? This whole article is BS.

Deevs said...

That initial story about Chappelle in blackface is weird. He was disturbed a white guy laughed at his sketch? Wasn't that what he was going for? Getting people to laugh?

As for drag, too often drag performers look like monster versions of women. I have a difficult time believing there isn't some malice in a lot of those performances.

Lurker21 said...

"Punching up humor" and "punching down humor": Molly Ivins had a similar perspective when she deplored right-wing satire. The problem with her view is that a lot of left-wing humor was actually punching down yet regarded as righteous because of the cause it purportedly served, and more than a little right-wing humor was punching up at established authorities.

The line's a little clearer in Chappelle's case if he's not jabbing or jibing at woke politicians, corporations, or celebrities, but I wouldn't take "punching up" and "punching down" at face value. There are usually assumptions and an agenda behind such terms.

Ron Winkleheimer said...


there was an 80s SNL skit in which Eddie Murphy pretended to be white. Is that still acceptable?

You can find it on youtube, so I'm going to say yes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_LeJfn_qW0&t=205s

SeanF said...

In "The Closer", Chapelle specifically talks about the concept of "punching down", and why he doesn't feel that phrase is accurate in regards to his humor.

That the author of this piece accuses him of "punching down", but makes no attempt to argue against his refutation of it (or even mentions his refutation of it), tells me she's not to be taken seriously.

Jeff Weimer said...

I don't know, Andrew, but "White Like Me" was *hysterical*.

Lem said...

I’d like to see some figures proving how “marginalized” trans are in today’s America. I’m skeptical.

SeanF said...

Althouse: The real answer, I think is, when the getup is an expression of hatred toward women. That's when the blackface comparison is apt.

Do you think Al Jolson's act came from a hatred towards blacks?

Blackface compares more closely to drag than it does to transgender, for sure. But I'm not sure how drag is, per se, any less demeaning to women than blackface is to blacks.

jaydub said...

A lot of this country's problems would be solved if the Left wasn't so fixated on race and if Karens were as rare as trans. Besides, who cares whether radical feminists welcome trans into their community? They apparently don't particularly care for white, straight or Republican males or females either. If Micha Frazier-Carroll has a problem with Dave Chappelle why can't she/he/they/them, as the case may be, just ignore his comedy? I can't stand to watch a single late night TV comic and haven't for years, but I really don't care whether they exist or not. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

Interested Bystander said...

Blogger Andrew said...
Sincere question: Why is "whiteface" not as offensive as "blackface"? Is it because it doesn't have the same history? For example, there was an 80s SNL skit in which Eddie Murphy pretended to be white. Is that still acceptable?

10/13/21, 8:29 AM

Yes, Andrew, it's the history. It's Jim Crow and Step n Fetchit and Al Jolson and "Amos and Andy." It's white people dressing up as blacks and portraying them as slow, lazy and stupid. That said, apparently a professor was forced to resign because he played a film with Othello portrayed by a white man with black paint. That's not really the same thing as traditional black face with the white circles around the lips and eyes.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

It's comedy.
If you don't like it - turn it off.

Oh NO - say the authoritarian Soviet left, who seek to destroy freedom of speech. Who is next?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"These critics obviously feel betrayed on behalf of the preferred narrative."

That's the gobsmacking part. I own you. Say what I want you to say.

No one more racist than a middle-class Prog.

Tina Trent said...

Remember Divine? Did the high heels insult women more when she ate dog poop off the sidewalk? Sort of a philosophical question.

The whole trans hysteria is just another step away from equal treatment under the law. Neither Teena Brannon nor Matthew Shepard were killed for being trans or gay. They got into money fights with their meth dealers. The Book of Matt explains that tragic hoax. I researched the Brannon one. It’s disgusting how Hollywood minimized how another girl was tortured and killed with Brannon, and a young man too. Don’t steal meth. The other victims were disappeared by Hollywood in a coordinated effort to pass a specific piece of legislation sitting in Congress at the time to add “gender” (ie. further erase heterosexual women) from hate crime laws. Next came homeless hate. Then Asian hate. The media coordinates these things with the activists. They have no relation to real crime rates. The media focuses on the cases they want to use for political ends and obscure the identity implications of the rest.

Three years before James Byrd Jr. was killed, Steve Jesperson strapped a random woman to the bottom of his truck and dragged her to death. A few dozen other men and women were killed this way around the time of Byrd’s murder, but only Byrd was counted as a victim of hate. Jesperson’s body count of dead woman is technically 8 but likely closer to 50-100. But, not hate. They were just women.

One of Matt Shepard’s killer’s mother crossed the same meth gang Matt did and was tied to a post and left to die just like Shepard. This wasn’t, of course, counted as hate. Gay sex is pretty common among even non-gay meth users. Meth isn’t, like, inhibiting.

We have destroyed Western Civilization, and these laws were the thing that started the fire. If you want to return to a civilized state of existence, we first must return to equality before the law. We have to eliminate hate crime laws first. All else will follow. Trans distraction is just the latest way to silence all discussion of the subject. In three months it will be something else. Chappelle should run for Congress. He’s the only person I can imagine getting a bill passed that made young black men killing other young black men counted as hate. And then the whole house of cards would fall.

gahrie said...

Sincere question: Why is "whiteface" not as offensive as "blackface"? Is it because it doesn't have the same history? For example, there was an 80s SNL skit in which Eddie Murphy pretended to be white. Is that still acceptable?

The Wayans made at least one movie where they disguised themselves as White women. The Left's answer would be twofold: A) Black people cannot be racist. and B) White people cannot be discriminated against.

Iman said...

Me me me me me me… my existence. Sooooooo self-involved.

Let the freaks get their freak on. Just keep them far away from our children.

MikeR said...

FdB on the new oppressors: https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/that-one-side-would-like-to-utterly
They're killing the left.

Big Mike said...

And before Eddie Murphy, back in 1970 comedian Godfrey Cambridge put on whiteface to play a white bigot who wakes up one morning as a black man in “Watermelon Man.” Cambridge was a genius who died (of a heart attack) much too soon (age 43). More recently didn’t the Wayans brothers put on whiteface and drag for a movie?

Achilles said...

The only people you can make fun of are white males.

If an asian male is white enough you can make fun of them too.

That means "conservative" for the people dumb enough to vote for democrats.

TWWren said...

Watched Chappelle on Netflix yesterday. I laughed maybe twice. I kept asking myself what I was missing? Then it occurred to me that Chappelle is not a comedian in the traditional sense. He is more like a televangelist delivering his multi-media message to his flock; a serious message with an occasional joke to lighten things up. Visions of Joel Osteen come to mind.

Achilles said...

MadisonMan said...

Chappelle is getting a whole lot of coverage. Why? Does he present that much of a danger?

Everyone is uniting against the aristocracy.

The democrats have lost Black people. Chappelle is just the latest influencer to start taking them on. Several athletes have been speaking out, Minaj etc.

And the democrats have attacked them as you would guess.

Trump won the election 75 mill to 63ish mill. He absolutely destroyed Biden in the election.

That will be the high water mark for democrats here on out. The number of "mail-in" ballots they will need to win elections from here on out is going to be impossible to hide.

Geoff Matthews said...

Rachel Dolezal wasn't doing blackface in a hateful way but she was canceled.
I think we all know what would happen if some celebrity came out and said that they identified as African American now, and attempted to do an actual depiction of it (like Tropic Thunder but real).
And we aren't up in arms over drag queens, even though they are the sexual equivalent of black face.
These aren't that different.

Ann Althouse said...

"Do you think Al Jolson's act came from a hatred towards blacks?"

Here's what the podcaster Andrew Hickey says in this premium episode" of his "History of Rock and Roll" show:

"Now, for those of you who don't know, Jolson was the biggest performer of the 1920s and early thirties, and he was one of the few white men to sing with emotion and have success in the pop field before the fifties. But Jolson was also a blackface performer, and it's been argued that he used blackface as a way to give himself the freedom to sing more emotionally. And if I had an entire lifetime rather than a mere half hour that would not be enough time to unpack the cultural dynamics of a black female blues singer who performed in ragged clothes to play up to an image she hated, teaching a white man who was in the closet and who wanted to sing the blues, how to give a more authentic performance, by introducing him to the work of a blackface performer. And even if I could parse that particular interaction, that would be *so far* out of my lane that I wouldn't want to touch it with someone else's bargepole."

Richard Dolan said...

"The real answer, I think is, when the getup is an expression of hatred toward women. That's when the blackface comparison is apt."

Really? When Gov Northam or Canadian PM Trudeau did their blackface routine, you think they were expressing hatred of black people? Seems very unlikely.

GRW3 said...

This is all a part with the long standing efforts of groups like Media Matters to go through the words of people with whom they do not agree to find out of context quotes. I say this because it's obvious that none of the complainers actually listened to Dave Chappell for context and content.

First of all let me acknowledge he does make a lot of jokes about white people. So what, he's a comedian and we do have some odd ways. (I once told my sons that if they wanted to know why Sweden had, at that time, the highest suicide rate in the world they should spend some time where there are only white people.)

Listen to the show for content and you will find
- He lives in small town America, the red portion, and he likes it. He makes gentle fun of these small town folks, not the mean spirited humor of the elite who despise fly over country. In a previous special he said he moved to a small town because he felt safer and that it was better for his family. He also said he keeps weapons for his protection.
- He hangs out with white people in his small town's bars. Sometimes the nice ones and some times not. He gets along fine and feels safe.
- Finally, you will hear his pain when he talks about his trans comedienne friend Daphne. He speaks about her and their interactions at length. He admired her ambition to be a professional comic and even let her open for him one night. She bombed but even in that he saw promise and offered to help her do better. Despite that promising future she ended up killing herself after the twitter trans mob hounded her to death. Her sin? She said kind words in defense of Dave. Dave has started a trust fund for Daphne's daughter.









Ann Althouse said...

"a black female blues singer who performed in ragged clothes... a white man who was in the closet"

LaVern Baker and Johnnie Ray.

Ann Althouse said...

I strongly encourage you to subscribe to Hickey's premium level, which gives an extra short episode on a particularly recording for every regular free episode. He totally deserves $1 of your money a month (or $5 if you also want his books in ebook form).

Missoula Comics said...

Grammar question. In your sentence "The real answer, I think is, when the getup is an expression of hatred toward women" why did you separate 'I think is' with commas rather than just 'I think'? Sorry if I'm a nerd, but Shatner did go to space today so I'm experiencing a nerd full moon event

Ann Althouse said...

"But I'm not sure how drag is, per se, any less demeaning to women than blackface is to blacks."

I'd like to see research on the subject, looking into individual performers and why they are doing it and what they think is entertaining the audience. Notice that Chappelle himself was only guessing and worrying about what was amusing his audience. You could even question your own motivations. Am I doing this out of love or hate? And even for us cis-gendered people, when are we authentically ourselves and when are we acting out a role that has to do with our idea of gender? Is it all layers of the onion? If I am fixing myself up with clothing, makeup, and a hairstyle, am I going for the true me or some idea that I think people in general have about what expresses femininity? If the later, am I doing this out of LOVE for women or is there an edge of hatred or some other negative feeling pushing me? I suspect that NO ONE thinks too deeply about this and that MOST people think so shallowly about it that it shouldn't even be called thinking.

Ozymandias said...

AA:

The issue for so-called TERFs is the preservation of women-only spaces and services from incursions by trans-women, most particularly by those whose trans status is little more than self-declaration. The objection, at bottom, is that there is a difference—that trans women are not genuine women, they are trans women, a position to which many trans women themselves ascribe.

I took Chappelle’s comment regarding the analogy to blackface to mean that trans status was “an impression” in the sense that it was not genuine. The issue of hatred needn’t enter into it. Rachel Dolezal was also doing “an impression” of blackness. It was an impression presumably devoid of hatred, but Dolezal was, nonetheless, not genuinely African American. Her wish to be black did not make her impression genuine.

Trans women’s civil rights does not require the oblivious denial of their difference from women when women’s rights are also concerned. Deployment of formulations such as “women who are not transgender” to refer to women reflects the derangement we are asked to adopt for fear of cancellation.

Chappelle’s point, which he stated more than once during his monologue, is that “gender matters.” Something analogous to a bfoq should apply to circumstances in which women’s recognized interests in privacy and security are implicated. It’s one thing to treat trans women as women for most purposes out of a pluralistic sense of civility. But to claim that one must literally believe there is no difference between a trans woman and a woman is to require adoption of a delusion, a denial of the irreducible biological and historical facts. And to claim that one’s “existence” depends so completely upon the personal beliefs of others is to have mistakenly made one’s existence a hostage to others.

Unknown said...

I finally watched the Chappelle special, primed to find it entertaining. What a disappointment. This guy is an incoherent mess. I wanted to laugh, but kept finding myself wondering how people can chuckle at his offensive descriptions of things like the the joys of glory hole sex, or why Mike Pence is a closeted gay. (I don't even particularly like Mike Pence). Yeah, it's nice that he agrees with me on 1 out of 5 of his statements, but really, Dave C is not a reliable provider of wisdom or laughs.

The whole transphobia controversy has benefitted Dave, according him undeserved cultural prominence.

Give him his props for more courage than most, but this is Grade D humor. Maybe humor wasn't the point. But if so, what WAS the point?

Kevin said...

and it's been argued

An argument requires evidence, proof, demonstrable and falsifiable facts.

What we have here is "some people speculate", and we should give credence accordingly.

As in none.

PM said...

Drag will be accepted by women because gays are doing it.

Sterling said...

The Chappelle blackface skit. I would have laughed heartily too. It is very funny. https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=98&v=xprpXDnIU6A&feature=emb_logo

Sebastian said...

"The real answer, I think is, when the getup is an expression of hatred toward women. That's when the blackface comparison is apt."

Meaning what--that blackface is always an expression of hatred? or sometimes under some circumstances? What exactly makes the comparison "apt"?

I am willing to accept the rule that because blackface comes across as demeaning to minorities it must never be done or accepted. But that is not the rule being applied by the left, for whom antiracism is just as situational as anything else.

Nor does the rule presuppose hatred: I do not think Northam or Trudeau, or Al Jolson for that matter, expressed "hatred."

Achilles said...

I think letting men compete against women in sports is worse than men dressing in drag.

The problem here isn't that comedians or people do this sort of thing.

The problem is that there is a coordinated and organized and well funded group of people that are trying to both destroy the common fabric of our society and simultaneously censor and destroy their political opposition.

The problem isn't black face or drag or trans people.

The problem is democrats, their uniparty counterparts in the GOP, and the billionaires that are funding and organizing this destructive agenda.

SeanF said...

Your quotation from Hickey doesn't contain an answer to my question.

And I also don't believe for one minute that the motivation of the performer has any bearing on whether blackface is considered acceptable.

Drago said...

TWWren: "..a serious message with an occasional joke to lighten things up. Visions of Joel Osteen come to mind."

Lost me at "serious message" and Joel Osteen in the same sentence.

Narr said...

I haven't seen the new show yet, but I did recently see his response to critics who called his scatalogical humor childish and immature: a little cantata entitled "Diarrhea."

Childish, immature, and funny.

The Wayans got mentioned; Key and Peale do women of all races. So TFW?

Are boy sopranos and counter-tenors and trouser roles problematic?

All art is artifice.

Ozymandias said...

Ann Althouse said: “[A]m I going for the true me or some idea that I think people in general have . . . . I suspect that NO ONE thinks too deeply about this.”

One man who thought about authenticity deeply was Sartre in “Being and Nothingness.” In describing the type of bad faith that fails to coordinate the facts with transcendence and instead denies the facts in favor of transcendence, Sartre gave the example of a gay man who denies his gayness: “Here is assuredly a man in bad faith who borders on the comic since, acknowledging all the facts which are imputed to him, he refuses to draw from them the conclusion which they impose.” He denies being gay despite his recurrent gay conduct by asserting his transcendence over the past, by being “perpetually born anew.”

There is something of the trans radical posture in Sartre’s description: a denial of the biological and personal-historical facts in favor of a “born anew” narrative. The trans radicals, moreover, extend their bad faith, demanding that all others adopt their view of themselves. The latter demand certainly betrays the artificiality of the posture.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

That initial story about Chappelle in blackface is weird. He was disturbed a white guy laughed at his sketch?

It's especially incongruous because most of the skits in the Chappelle Show were premised on black stereotypes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO3wTulizvg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-zSJljpKNc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kB5XXn0eKow

However, one of the most brilliant comedy skits of all times has to be ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLNDqxrUUwQ

rhhardin said...

The chief mark of woke truths is that they were never debated. So much for more speech.

Howard said...

I don't hear a lot of kvetching over anti-Semitic and asiaphobic jokes.

https://www.jpost.com/j-spot/dave-chappelle-jokes-about-world-conquering-space-jews-in-new-netflix-special-681259

cassandra lite said...

It's weird that no one points out the antisemitism of the show. At the end, he gives a sincere metaphorical hug to the targets of every joke EXCEPT the Zionists. They're still the vicious colonizers who in his telling use the same tactics against the Palestinians that the Nazis did to them.

Michael McNeil said...

It's like a long argument about God keeps the sun at the center of the universe. Everybody speculates how he does it. That the sun isn't at the center of the universe gets no hearing.

I like that argument in general — except that in the particular example employed there's a third explanation: The universe is expanding from a point which is 90° orthogonal to every spot in our 4D (including time) physical universe. Thus, every point in the universe is (the nearest thing to) “the center of the universe.”

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The word "Phobic" is so over-used and inaccurate. It's right up there with "racist!"

devoid of all meaning at this point.

Lurker21 said...

Is "blackface" necessarily about "hatred"? It certainly does demean and marginalize. Does "hate" always mean passionate animosity and hostility, or can it also involve implying that people aren't as good or don't belong? I suppose 1950s jokes about women and today's jokes about men have a similar animus in that they put the other sex down, but were they expressions of a passionate hatred? There may even have been some affection mixed in, and maybe that was true of old minstrel shows and of drag performances today. We call blackface hate because it enforces racial hierarchies and disrespects outgroups, but the emotions involved may be more complex than just "hatred." But I'll stop because this is how Megyn Kelly got in trouble.

What about the drag bits in Monty Python though? Hatred? Or something harder to label?

tim in vermont said...

Chappell didn't mock trans people in any way, he just refuses to allow their deliberate twisting of his words to control his art.

tim in vermont said...

"The universe is expanding from a point which is 90° orthogonal to every spot in our 4D (including time) physical universe. Thus, every point in the universe is (the nearest thing to) “the center of the universe.”

Change "is" to "might as well be" and I will buy it.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Interested Bystander,

That said, apparently a professor was forced to resign because he played a film with Othello portrayed by a white man with black paint. That's not really the same thing as traditional black face with the white circles around the lips and eyes.

The professor was Bright Sheng, a very fine composer of Asian descent, who was teaching a course on Verdi's Otello and wanted the class to see the original Shakespeare before investigating the transformation of the original playscript to an Italian libretto. And the "white man" in question was Laurence Olivier.

That said, I don't think Bright Sheng was forced out of his position (at U. Mich, wasn't it?)

Dr Weevil said...

People have mentioned Eddie Murphy's SNL skit, but no one has mentioned Coming to America, in which he plays four roles, one of them in whiteface. Here's the list, from Wikipedia:
Prince Akeem Joffer, the prince of Zamunda
Randy Watson, a soul singer with the fictional band Sexual Chocolate
Saul, the Jewish barbershop customer
Clarence, the owner of the barber shop.
If the credits had used a fake name, I never would have noticed that Saul, the stereotypical middle-aged Jewish guy, was played by Eddie Murphy, not a white man: the makeup and mannerisms are that convincing. (It must have taken a whole lot of makeup.) By the way, Saul and Clarence argue about boxing, so Eddie Murphy is arguing with himself.

Narayanan said...

Professora so what makes you think /transgender womyn/ are not misogynistic

Narr said...

Eddie Murphy was great in The Nutty Professor. He didn't do any whiteface, but a lot of drag.

Should B/black and/or African-American women be allowed to sing Brunnhilde, or Butterfly?

Ann Althouse said...

"Professora so what makes you think /transgender womyn/ are not misogynistic"

You're assuming a fact not in evidence.

I don't assume ANYONE is not misogynistic.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Chappelle blackface skit. I would have laughed heartily too. It is very funny. https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=98&v=xprpXDnIU6A&feature=emb_logo"

Thanks. Now I remember having seen that before.

It really is tremendously complicated.

Skippy Tisdale said...

"The transgender issue is unrelated because they are unquestionably not performing."

The fuck they ain't. Every last one of them.

Skippy Tisdale said...

If blackface is outlawed, only outlaws will sing the showtunes from Finnian's Rainbow.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Given that there are now more than two genders, the solution in sports equity is to three categories -- Male, Female and Other.

tim in vermont said...

Chappell's 'fried chicken' bit was about him not doing what he really wanted to do because of what other people would think, I am not sure it's the logical slam dunk the writer thinks it is.

Tina Trent said...

Don’t assume any of this isn’t being backed by huge, increasingly radical political organizations using woke billionaire cash to eat older, actual grassroots gay activism — along with the rest of us. I know a lot of nervous gays and lesbians. None dare say a peep.

I remember when the HCR, the elite gay and lesbian group — though almost all the leaders were men, and while women were often degraded by them, it was improving — were slowly but steadily forced to add trans to their “parade.”

The older gay men hated it. The older gay women hated it. Generationally, they were of the ‘second-wave-feminist, equally opportunity, no discrimination, but otherwise please do leave us alone’ philosophy. They tended to be well-off, sane, established, professional people who lived in nice houses and didn’t scream and act out (they didn’t like Act-Up, for one thing).

Within a few years, they were submitting entirely to the trans agenda. Screamed at in the gorgeous boardrooms they built. Forced to force biological woman lesbians back to the curb.

All of this is political. Trans is just the latest mask they wear. And all of it is misogynist. And all of it wants you to submit in your living room and hand them your children. No exaggeration.

And it’s utterly naive to pretend otherwise. Once the bread and circuses end, the long knives come out.

PM said...

Frankly, the folks at TCM have covered the 'why blackface sucks'. Back in the 1800s with Jump Jim Crow et al, white people were on stage making money pretending to be, and making fun of, exaggerated versions of black people. Well, I like mockery as much as anyone, but it's the 'playing black' for money when, at the same time, keeping black people from making money in the same venues: traveling shows, live theatre, TV and Hollywood, where I can say, yeah, that's cold-blooded.