Showing posts with label Characterization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Characterization. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

David Byrne is Not Racist


I am not a huge fan of what David Byrne did to Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth when they were in Talking Heads. I am pretty sure that I fall on Chris and Tina's side of things when it comes to how they experienced David's unique form of human interaction.

However, I will defend David from any charge that he is racist. I'll take up that cause any day of the week. 
Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has apologized for wearing black and brownface in an unearthed promotional video, calling it a "major mistake in judgement."
In the clip for the rock band's concert film 1984 "Stop Making Sense," the star is shown interviewing himself, while donning black and brown face to impersonate several non-White people.
The 68-year-old musician took to social media on Tuesday to express his regret after the vintage clip resurfaced online.
"To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brownface, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgment that showed a lack of real understanding," he wrote in series of posts shared on his Twitter page.

"It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else -- you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were."
Virtually every attempt to wear black or brown face is reprehensible and ignorant, and so I commend him for apologizing. In the context of Stop Making Sense, this was an inclusive set of songs that traversed multiple genres of music, much of it steeped in other cultures. You could criticize them for appropriating those cultures, but you'd be wrong. Talking Heads brought people onto the stage with them that would normally have been excluded.

I think what David was going for was a more inclusive, shared experience that was meant to bring people together to enjoy things they would not otherwise have been exposed to. We know from Chris's book that the band added musicians so that they could bring in a wider audience and make what started out to be four white people playing an eclectic mix of musical genres into a truly integrated and inclusive experience. There is no punching down here.

And it is true that he was and still is a person with quirks and strange ways of behaving and interacting with people. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to speculate on that. I know what has been written about him, and I don't think that's the way to frame this. What I think is more true is that there was no harmful intent, no desire to render another group of people as irrelevant or to make it so that they are no a part of the songs or the presentation. This seems like an awkward effort to elevate and hear other voices and not much more than that.

Now, will people forgive him for it? I sure hope they will and I know there are other artists who need to have this reckoning.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Enlisted




This is the actual premise of a show on Fox:

Enlisted is a military-set family comedy centering on three brothers who, when the best of the best are sent overseas, stay behind to keep the post in order. Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young star alongside Keith David and Angelique Cabral.


Sounds like a hoot. The problem is, this sort of a situation wouldn't actually happen and that means that the premise of the show, which is critical in any comedy, falls apart right away.

You would never see three brothers anywhere near each other unless they were on leave in the Army and you have what would appear to be three men in their thirties with what amounts to almost no rank whatsoever. The dude in the middle has a combat patch, is Airborne qualified with the Pathfinder badge, and he's a mere private? A buck sergeant, if that? Really? And the other two have too much hair and not enough rank as well.

The people who stay behind are usually non-deployable. These three able-bodied men are all brothers, serving on the same Army post, and they didn't deploy with their units? How are you going to mine that for laughs? Good luck.

These things matter even if it is just a comedy.