Fortunately, not every artist has the jelly-spine of Scarlett Johansson when the political correctness, anti-liberty mobs attack.
In Montreal,the Montreal International Jazz Festival immediately did its best imitation of the artist bowing out of her planned role as a transgender male when it cancelled the show “Slav,” by the acclaimed Quebec theater director Robert Lepage. The production called itself a a “theatrical odyssey” inspired by “traditional African-American slave and work songs,” but–oh-oh!–it also features a nearly all-white cast performing “black” music. Silly me, I never realized music was colored. Lepage, is white, as is “Slav’s” star Betty Bonifassi. Only two of the seven cast members are black.
The show was immediately attacked for its “cultural appropriation” and by black activists for “stealing” “their” songs.
The jazz festival , emulating most organizations that ironically tend to have even fewer spinal columns than individual people, canceled the show after only two performances, even though the production had sold more than 8,000 tickets for its scheduled for 16 performances. The craven festival organizers said it had been “shaken” by the criticism, and grovelled, saying.in a statement, “We would like to apologize to those who were hurt. It was not our intention at all.”
As I wrote in the Part I, as Johansson essentially killed a film project because she didn’t have the wit or the guts to stand up to unethical bullying by transgender activists, “What is desperately needed when groups misbehave this way and abuse their influence and power is for their target to say no. Unfortunately, doing so requires unusual levels of principal, character, responsibility, intelligence and courage.”
Scarlett obviously doesn’t have them. Roger Lepage, however, does, especially after several leading theater directors in Quebec rallied behind Lepage this week, pointing out that closing the production could have a chilling effect on artistic expression in Canada. At least four theaters are now proceeding with productions of “Slav,” and preparing to metaphorically spit in the protesters’ eyes.
Lepage declared on Facebook that “Slav” had been “officially muzzled,” pointing out what should be established and obvious but suddenly isn’t: “Everything that led to this cancellation is a direct blow to artistic freedom…since the dawn of time, theater has been based on a very simple principle, that of playing someone else.”
Bonifassi, in an open letter, condemned the “intimidation” that had greeted the production. In an open letter to La Presse, a leading French language newspaper, she warned that “a theater must be free to shine — and to make mistakes.” She suggested that the pursuit of culture ought to be colorblind: “Are we going to forbid a young Haitian woman from studying Bach, as Nina Simone was able to do?”
What a subversive concept in Progressive World, 2018, that anything should be colorblind!
I wonder if Scarlett Johansson, or anyone in progressive cant-toadying Hollywood, is paying attention. Probably not. Nonetheless, this is how to resist cultural bullies, political correctness thugs and anti-liberty mobs. Knock down their weak and inconsistent arguments, stand fast, and show some courage for other artists to emulate when the mob comes for them.
Meanwhile. as Johansson moves on to her next million-dollar, protest-free paycheck, Lepage is apparently hungry for more controversy.
His next show examines some ugly episodes in Canadian history, including the forced assimilation of indigenous children at residential schools. Already activists are attacking the show, to be produced in Paris in December, 2018 and in Quebec in 2020 because it does not have Canadian indigenous actors in the cast.
Of course they are.