Who’s Afraid of Whom?by Steve SailerMay 24, 2017Increasingly, social-grievance jihadis are getting themselves worked up over casting decisions in movies, TV shows, plays, and even operas, labeling anything they disapprove of as “whitewashing.”Granted, the number of beneficiaries of disputes over which celebrities will get which roles is minuscule. But the various contradictory controversies, when considered together, are revealing for what they show about the unprincipled nature of contemporary moral crises.In the past, acting was less concerned with issues of identity-politics authenticity, or even all that much with authenticity at all. Performing was basically conceived of as Let’s Pretend for grown-ups. Who was putting on the show was less important than how much showbiz professionalism they put into it. The most admired actor of the mid-20th century, Lord Laurence Olivier, was famous for insisting that what he was doing was just playacting.Therefore, … in the 1960s, his somewhat childlike delight in dressing up crashed into the new civil rights seriousness when he released his controversial movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello in the U.S. Here’s Sir Larry ecstatically explaining how he got into blackface for Othello:Read the whole thing there.
Black all over my body, Max Factor 2880, then a lighter brown, then Negro Number 2, a stronger brown. Brown on black to give a rich mahogany. Then the great trick: that glorious half yard of chiffon with which I polished myself all over until I shone…The lips blueberry, the tight curled wig, the white of the eyes, whiter than ever, and the black, black sheen that covered my flesh and bones, glistening in the dressing room lights.Okay!