1. Is it me, or is this TV commercial indefensibly gross, and signals the impending end of civilization?
2. Reasons not to duck the New York Times op-ed pages…Yale student Kathryn Hu contributed a sane and thoughtful essay on the topic of classic operas with characters and plot elements that seem sexist or racist to today’s more enlightened audiences. As we know, today’s “woke” censors of the arts and arbiters of what we are allowed to watch and hear have their own solution: never do the piece again, despite its obvious virtues, or interpret and rewrite it out of existance or into nausea, like John Legend injecting “It’s your body and your choice” into the lyrics of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I had to suppress my gorge from rising while reading this article, for example, that described the current production of J.M Barry’s 1904 classic “Peter Pan” in Washington D.C:
In [Playwright Lauren Gunderson’s] version now playing at Shakespeare Theatre Company (retitled Peter Pan and Wendy…), the character of Tiger Lily has been completely reconceived. No more the helpless princess in distress, Tiger Lily is now a spirited and fearless Native rights activist whose people thrived in Neverland long before Captain Hook’s pirate ship dropped anchor and Peter showed up with the Lost Boys.
Because as we know, there were so many Native American activists in 1904. To anyone with brain cells and cultural perspective that haven’t been woked to death, it is obvious that Barry’s Neverland is a child’s fanciful impression of Indians, pirates, and friendly wild animals. It has nothing to do with reality , so imposing current day adult political views on the and characters is neither fair nor necessary.
Hu’s solution to the supposed horrors of 19th Century biases and social mores in opera:
To survive, opera has to confront the depth of its racism and sexism point-blank, treating classic operas as historical artifacts instead of dynamic cultural productions. Opera directors should approach the production of these classics as museum curators and professors — educating audiences about historical context and making stereotypes visible.
3,.And reasons to avid the Times op-eds like the plagues they generally are. Thanks to Ann Althouse for fisking the idiocy emitted by once -sensible Times columnist Bret Stephens, now a Stockholm Syndrome victim after too many months of being dominated by his arch-progressive colleagues. She saved me the trouble, and her reaction was identical to mine. Poor Bret wrote, in “What Will It Take to Beat Donald Trump?/It’s not what the progressive left is talking about”:
“[T]he winning Democrat will need to make Trump’s presidency seem insignificant rather than monumental — an unsightly pimple on our long republican experiment.… not a fatal cancer within it. Mike Bloomberg has the financial wherewithal to make Trump’s wealth seem nearly trivial. Joe Biden has the life experience to make Trump’s attacks seem petty. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have the rhetorical skills to turn Trump’s taunts against him. As with most bullies, the key to beating Trump is to treat him as the nonentity he fundamentally is. Wouldn’t it be something if his political opponents and obsessed media critics resolved, for 2020, to talk about him a little less and past him a lot more? When your goal is to wash your hands of something bad, you don’t need a sword. Soap will do.”
Can you imagine a more vivid example of how bias makes you stupid? Now here’s Ann:
1. Isn’t this how they tried to defeat Trump the last time around? Diminish him. Insist that everything about him is small — hands, penis, brain, worldview. Donald Trump can’t possibly be President! Isn’t that less likely to work when Trump actually is President? 2. Biden can run by standing in place, embodying “life experience”?! He’s “experienced” to the point of old age, and we’re wondering if he currently has what it takes. 3. Who cares if Bloomberg is richer than Trump? I don’t think Trump won because people simply admired him for his wealth. Bloomberg might be able to use his wealth to run ads that work to some extent, but those ads are likely to minimize the significance of his stature as a very rich man, not vaunt his wealth in comparison to Trump’s — my pile of money is bigger than yours. If size matters, Bloomberg is the one who will look small compared to Trump when we see them on the debate stage together. 4. I find it very hard to believe that anyone could — in real time, on a debate stage — best Trump in a game of trading taunts, and it just seems silly to posit that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar could do it because they have “rhetorical skills.” 5. Talking about a human being as filth or disease… I thought we weren’t doing that anymore. I thought you could get canceled for that. But Donald Trump can take it. He can take everything dished out against him. That’s why these ideas about how to beat him feel like absolutely nothing.
4. Ethics Alarms Poll report. In these two polls on the controversial Peloton commercial, the revelation was that the proportion of men to women among Ethics Alarms readers was much closer than I thought. Also, on this alleged gender-based issue, the difference between the two groups responses was negligible.
5. Good drag, bad drag? A. At the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas this week, Star Wars fans who brought their kids to see the final installment of the trilogy trilogy went to see the movie got a pre-show consisting of drag queens discussing space fashions. For some reason, parents were upset by this.
Stipulated: parents who bring children to this chain are not firing on all cylinders. Audiences are sometimes drunk and rowdy, and the place is an adult venue. However, the cinemas allow children, and management with any cylinders firing at all should have known that a drag queen feature would not be an appropriate intro. I’m not convinced its an appropriate intro for an adult audience. I have no quarrel with drag queens; I know a few, and they seem to be nice people. I don’t think they should be getting in people’s faces, however, and that’s what this is. It smacks of pro-drag queen propaganda. The film showing wasn’t “La Cage Au Faux.”
The chain should apologize for not making it clear to audiences what they were buying tickets to.
B. Meanwhile, in Seattle, activists are attacking the stage musical adaptation of “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Here’s the “woke” Seattle Times:
A man in a dress. That was the central gag of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” the 1993 Robin Williams hit about a hard-luck actor named Daniel Hillard who loses custody of his kids and masquerades as a Scottish nanny to stay in their lives. It was the second-highest-grossing movie of the year, just behind “Jurassic Park.”
But a man in a dress doesn’t cut it as a punch line in 2019 — not without serious and necessary conversations. The new musical adaptation of “Mrs. Doubtfire” at The 5th Avenue Theatre, which features heavy-hitter talent (including Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks), is already slated for Broadway, but not without scrutiny and criticism.This summer, a Change.org petition asked The 5th Ave to cancel the musical altogether, citing the film’s “tired, transphobic tropes.” Though “Mrs. Doubtfire” is not directly about transgender identity, “the central device of the plot, crossdressing as an elaborate ruse, strengthens the assumptions and misjudgments that continue to harm trans women in implicit, pervasive ways,” the petition, started by Seattle-area theater artist Eli Blodgett, says. “As trans theatre-maker and critic Brin Solomon writes, … ‘Because mainstream society, by and large, thinks of trans women as “men in dresses” instead of women, the man-in-a-dress joke perpetuates the idea that trans women are “unnatural” and fit for ridicule and scorn.’”
This reads like a parody, and it should be.
- Don’t tell me what makes it as a punchline in 2019. (and I speak as someone who has never found drag humor funny. Well, sometimes when Monty Python did it, but not in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”)
- “Serious conversations” are not necessary when comedies are involved; in fact, the opposite is true. If audiences find the show funny, it’s funny. Those who don’t or won’t find it funny should spend their tickets elsehwere, like, say, for “The Book of Mormon,” because its fine to make fun of religious people, right?
- “Mrs Doubtfire’ has nothing to do with transsexuals whatsoever. Any transsexual activists who find that movie insulting of offensive is looking to be insulted and offended to advance a political agenda.
If they have any integrity or courage, the show’s creators and producer should tell critics to back off and shut up. This is show business, however, so integrity and courage are as rare as Carolina parakeets. Watch: they’ll be groveling soon.