When The Anti-Liberty Mobs Attack, Courage And Character Are Paramount, Part II: “Slav”

Betty Bonifassi in “Slav”

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.


Sources: NYT1, 2.

20 thoughts on “When The Anti-Liberty Mobs Attack, Courage And Character Are Paramount, Part II: “Slav”

  1. I wonder what they would think today of Robin Williams and Hank Azaria in the Bird Cage (or Ugo Tognazzi in La Cage aux Folles, for that matter).

    • That’s my favorite double bind now, Fred. (Great to hear from you, by the way.) It used to be considered courageous for straight actors to play gays, since audiences would, they feared, think they were gay. But now, since Hollywood is in thrall to LGBTLMNOP cant, it can only cast gay actors,and openly gay actors, in gay roles, or be subjected to criticism. And if that is the “rule,” any straight actor who plays a LGBT role is presumptively gay. Or something. Good job, everybody!

  2. Do you really mean to write, “because it does have Canadian indigenous actors in the cast.” or should there be a ‘not’ included?

  3. Reminds me of when I visited the University of Ottawa just as they were having a bit of controversy over a yoga program offered by (gasp) white students. Campus progressives (which was just about everyone) gnashed their teeth, and the organizers repented and went out and promised to go and find some students of Indian descent who were both willing and qualified to run the program (I don’t know if they ever found anyone.)

    It’s too bad that among all of the scholars and sages there, no one knew that yoga began as British military stretches repackaged as “ancient Indian” techniques, and sold to gullible westerners.

  4. I guess all those Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, et.al. albums from the 1960s and 1970s will have to be recalled (oops too late) since the musicians on so many of those great soulful tunes were a bunch of white kids from Mussel Shoals, Alabama.

  5. ‘The term slave has its origins in the word slav. The slavs, who inhabited a large part of Eastern Europe, were taken as slaves by the Muslims of Spain during the ninth century AD. Slavery can broadly be described as the ownership, buying and selling of human beings for the purpose of forced and unpaid labour.’ Roots of slavery BBC
    But in truth the Slavic people were enslaved as early as Sparta, so a show like this that links through music two groups that have been so repressed is a wonderful step to understanding if bigotry in the name of political correctness did not come in to play. As a gay man in the arts I can tell you I have many gay actor friends afraid still to take gay roles as aforesaid of being type cast. But thank god we have some brave actors that are coming forward. As long as they are convincing in the role it is ok.

  6. Only ‘blacks’ can do ‘black’ things. Only ‘whites’ can do ‘white’ things.

    I guess the Left does like segregation after their brief, apparently lip service, foray outside of that racist worldview from about the late 60’s to the early 00’s. I guess about 40 years was a good run for them.

  7. The entertainment industry has gone out of it’s way to taint the entire industry and it’s driving me away. I stopped watching TV and I’m not sure I’ll be returning other than isolated things like local news and “maybe” the possibility of one show. Right now it’s not turned on more than about 20 minutes a day for the local evening news/weather – I don’t care one bit about sports.

    I recently watched what will likely be my last movie in the movie theater.

    I simply cannot force myself to spend the big dollars required to attend any professional theater and I’ve severely limited my attendance to local community theater performances, which I’ve been part of for many years.

    Guess what people, I’m fine with this, there’s lots of other stuff to do to enjoy life. Try it.

  8. My brother-in-law and I have been engaged in an ongoing political argument since 2016 though we have somehow managed to keep our relationship on good terms. The latest fight was about the Scarlett J controversy in which I concluded, “How about we just treat everyone the same?” And my brother-in-law said “I would agree with you in an ideal world, but transgenders don’t have the same opportunities because people are biased against them. Why can’t you let them have this one little piece? Its their story.” I honestly don’t know how to respond when the argument gets here (except to point out that “giving this one little piece” is mostly likely not going to fix anything but instead make things worse – and he would not even consider that argument). And I have noticed that our arguments almost always do get here (and by “here” I mean the “but racism, sexism, homophobia, etc” rationalization) no matter what we are arguing about. Anyone have any advice on where to go from that point – assuming I want to stay on good terms with the person I am arguing with?

      • I have read through the rationalization list half a dozen times at least by now. It has certainly helped clear up my own thinking but when I try to communicate it to the progressive side, its like I am speaking some kind of racist language. I mean, I guess that is what is sounds like to them since I come out of the conversation being accused of racism or some sort of other bigotry. I want to stay open minded because these people are (were?) dear friends of mine for a long time, and I don’t want to just write them off as hopeless causes. But it seems that every time I get into an argument with the progressive side, they could care less about my actual reasoning but instead seem to spend the entire time either trying to read my mind to figure out what horrible thing I actually mean or trying to discover what is personally wrong with me to make me present such heartless arguments. It is depressing and leads me more and more down the path of silence. Thank you Jack for continuing to fight the good fight here. I know how difficult it can be.

    • Your BIL does not want to think too hard, and that is why he will never be ethical. And he does not have any problem whatsoever with that.

      Until he can see that this is a problem, a flaw in his character, you are pissing in the wind. Logic has failed, and without an agreement to facts you will get nowhere.

      Be nice. Stay in contact. It is not your job to convert him or anyone.

      Just don’t let them convert you, because it is the lazy and easy way to go.

      • I guess I was hoping for some sort of magical answer that I hadn’t thought of yet but I think you are correct. I have tried so very hard to understand my progressive friends the past few years, but I have just about reached the end of my patience. Conversion to their side isn’t likely. Creating further polarization is my real fear. I hate what has happened to us.

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