The King and I is back in the West End, 67 years on from its Broadway debut.
But its portrait of a white woman being both fascinated and repelled by a society depicted as both backward and barbarous is winding up a few PC critics.
The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish whinges The King and I one of the most problematic musicals of the 20th Century American canon. Michael Billington expresses similar sentiments in The Guardian , saying it seems to endorse the idea of the
civilising influence of the west on the barbaric east.
The Independent's Paul Taylor detects a smack of imperial condescension to this story of a widowed, well-bred Victorian governess who... gives a funny foreign despot... a stiff dose of Western values.
Time Out's Andrzej Lukowski, meanwhile, calls the musical kind of racist ... like an elderly relative who you make allowances for on grounds of age.
Director Bartlet Sher responds that the show remains resonant, powerful and extremely well-conceived. He also dismisses suggestions the piece has dated, saying its views on colonialism, gender equality and the conflict between modernity and
tradition make it as timely and powerful as ever.
I wonder if these PC critics would have banned British cave rescuers from helping out in Thailand lest heroically saving children's lives affirms 'white saviour' stereotypes.
Offsite Comment: The King and I : a West End treat
The Montreal International Jazz Festival has explained its decision to censor a show
featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves.
Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont said the decision to abruptly cancel SLAV partway through its run was made for a mix of technical and human reasons, including security concerns raised by the escalating vitriol surrounding the show. He
also said that the show's star, Betty Bonifassi, had broken her ankle and indicated she was no longer able to continue.
He said that while many protesters were peaceful, the festival and the theatre where the show was performed were concerned by the aggression of some protesters and the rising division and anger surrounding the show. He said Bonifassi's decision to
not continue was prompted both by her injury and the criticism.
Dupont said the festival and the production company would absorb what he said would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses associated with cancelling the show, including paying the performers.
SLAV, one of the hottest tickets at this year's jazz festival, was the subject of protests claiming 'cultural appropriation' of black culture and history. It was described as a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs and a journey through
traditional Afro-American songs, from cotton fields to construction sites, railroads, from slave songs to prison songs.
Black activists denounced the show and its mostly-white cast, and U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the festival in protest.
Amid a storm of international media attention, the festival announced Wednesday it was cancelling the remaining performances and apologizing to anybody who had been hurt.
The renowned Quebec playwright Robert Lepage who directed the show criticized the decision to cancel it, calling it a direct blow to artistic freedom. He said in a statement that actors pretending to be someone else is at the very heart of
When we are no longer allowed to step into someone else's shoes, when it is forbidden to identify with someone else, theatre is denied its very nature, it is prevented from performing its primary function and is thus rendered meaningless.
A shock poll by Reuters/Ipsos reveals that the Democrats are shedding millennial votes, with support dropping by 9% since 2016. This shift is most pronounced among white millennial men, who now favour Republicans over Democrats by 11%.
The Democratic Party seems to have adopted a rather toxic mix of identity politics and political correctness that blatantly sneers at white folk, especially men. So perhaps it is hardly surprising that the party has been losing support from white
millennial men. But the party's malaise seems more widespread than that, plenty from the minority communities are voicing their disquiet at being presented in a permanent state of victimhood, especially as the previous administration didn't
actually do anything to help them break out from such a state.
Anyway a passionate and eloquent YouTube video by Brandon Straka seems to have inspired a movement to #WalkAway from the Democratic Party. Straka notes of his original reason for aligning with the Democratic Party was his belief in free speech and
equality for all. And then insightfully notes that as the party lurches towards identity politics and authoritarianism, then he cites exactly the same reason for walking away.
I suspect that Donald Trump has changed politics around the world for a few years yet to come. You may, or may not, agree with his policies, but he has been seen to be going out on a limb to do something positive for his electors. Maybe it is no
longer enough for other parties just to utter fine words, and do little more. People now expect their representatives to do something that actually helps.
Suddenly It's Spring
That's Oxford, 17 March 2018, 11:20
That's Oxford is a local television service for Oxford and the surrounding area.
Suddenly It's Spring was a children's cartoon made in 1944, featuring the doll Raggedy Ann setting out on a mission to ask the Sun to shine on her poorly owner. On her journey she was shown asking other weather elements, Mr Cloud, Mr Breezy and Mr
Zero to assist her.
Ofcom received a complaint that the character of Mr Cloud was depicted as an offensive and outdated racial stereotype of a black person. Mr Cloud was depicted in the cartoon as a black person from the deep south of America with exaggerated facial
features. In addition, he was portrayed as indolent with slow, slurred speech.
Rule 1.3: Children must206be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them206.
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context206Such material may include, but is not limited to, ...humiliation, distress, violation of human
dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race....
The Licensee accepted that the cartoon contained a racial stereotype that was likely to cause offence and apologised for any offence caused.
Ofcom considered whether the characterisation of Mr Cloud in this cartoon was unsuitable for children. In Ofcom's view the exaggerated facial features and indolent nature of the character reinforced an outdated, pejorative and harmful racial
stereotype of a black person which was not suitable for children to view.
Rule 2.3 states that in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that potentially offensive material is justified by the context. Context includes, but is not limited to, editorial content of the programme, warnings given to
listeners, the time of the broadcast and the likely expectation of the audience.
We first considered whether this content was potentially offensive. Given this cartoon included a negative stereotype of a black person, which reinforced racial prejudice, Ofcom was of the view that this material was also highly offensive.
We next considered whether there was sufficient context to justify any potential offence. We acknowledged this cartoon dated from 1944 when there were very different attitudes towards portrayals of race and when race discrimination was prevalent.
We also accepted that with the appropriate level of context such archive material may still be broadcast. However, in our view UK audiences today would find such racial stereotyping highly unacceptable and out of step with generally accepted
standards as it was broadcast in this case. Therefore, the broadcast of this offensive content without a warning or any other context was also a breach of Rule 2.3.
Instagram has apologised for censoring a photo of two men kissing for violating community
The photo - featuring Jordan Bowen and Luca Lucifer - was taken down from photographer Stella Asia Consonni's Instagram.
A spokesperson for the image sharing site regurgitated the usual apology for shoddy censorship saying
This post was removed in error and we are sorry. It has since been reinstated.
The photo was published in i-D magazine as part of a series of photos by Stella exploring modern relationships, which she plans to exhibit later this year. It only reappeared after prominent people in fashion and LGBT+ rights raised awareness
about the removal of the photo.
New theatre audience advisories in Canada are warning about specific plot points that could trigger
emotional trauma for those of a snowflake disposition.
This spring, Western Canada Theatre attached a warning to Children of God, a musical about residential schools, that indicates the production's mature and potentially triggering scenes involving residential schools and sexual abuse.
A subsequent production, Armstrong's War , a play about an Afghan War vet, came with the following advisory:
This hard-hitting yet inspiring drama about bravery and survival contains some potentially triggering content about the horrors of war and mental illness.
And unsurprisingly the trigger warnings have sparked a bit of a debate.
James MacDonald, artistic director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C., is in favour of using trigger warnings where the material justifies it.
I think if we inform the audience beforehand, and they're not blindsided by it, then they don't have a negative reaction to it.
MacDonald said he saw a need for trigger warnings after his company staged a play that featured a scene of a daughter being sexually abused by her father. He said:
Even though we had put a content warning on the play to say that there was adult content and scenes which may disturb people, that particular scene evoked many reactions and responses from the audience, and they felt like they were blindsided by
For other theatre professionals, trigger warnings are the very antithesis of what theatre is designed to do: provoke reactions.
Montreal's Imago Theatre specializes in English-language plays written from women's perspectives and often features plays about challenging subject matter, like rape and violence against women. But there isn't a trigger warning anywhere in sight.
Imago's artistic director Micheline Chevrier explains:
I think we have to be careful with trigger warnings. I'm not a fan of wanting to tell somebody exactly everything they're about to experience.
She worries trigger warnings are the first step toward avoidance of difficult material altogether, a slide into self-censorship by playwrights and directors afraid of offending patrons.