Sunday, July 13, 2008

Folks, How Can I Make Whoopee UP HERE...When DOWN IN FRONT The "Coughers" Are Whooping?

Oh my. You tell 'em, Eddie.
Maybe the audience would be grateful if I stepped to the footlights some night and voiced the above protest about the 'coughing chorus' down in front.

But that wouldn't be kind and it wouldn't be just. The cougher doesn't cough in public on purpose. He can't help it. It embarrasses him as much as it annoys his neighbors.

What he needs, to avoid that throat tickle, is an introduction to OLD GOLDS.
Many of us have seen enough minstrel photographs to be somewhat desensitized, but...wow, THOSE GLASSES! This picture of Eddie Cantor is the most frightening thing I've seen this year. I don't think I'll ever understand the grotesque caricature that was blackface comedy.

When I first looked at this advertisement I instinctively thought it was a reference to whooping COUGARS, which any frequent nightclub patron can relate to.

PS: Cantor wasn't bemoaning his inability to have intercourse on stage, he was referring to the play he was currently in.

(The New Yorker, January 26 1929, p.40)

2 comments:

bambizzoozled said...

I thought it was trying to say COUGARS, too!

Anyway, Eddie Cantor, ah yes... Old Banjo Eyes - that's what they used to call him. The glasses really bring that out. Often, he would not black up around the eyes, because he was sensitive to the makeup.

Of course he is talking about making love - it's a humorous double entendre involving the name of the show he was currently in.

So... You'll never understand the grotesque caricature, eh? Well, first look around at all the ass clowns out there like Lil Jon and T-Pain (if you don't know you better ask somebody - google it).

Now that you have confirmed you are familiar, please proceed.

How easy is that to make fun of, right? Is this what the Black population wants their children influenced by? Well, if you are not raising your kids, then Lil Jon is.

So anyway, here is my style of blackface, which I call the Fifty Gold Teeth style.

http://www.myspace.com/fiddygt

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Hiya Bimbizzoozled!

Google image searches turn up lots of funny-looking celebrities -- Marilyn Manson, Billy-Ray Cyrus, Fanny Brice, just off the top of my head -- so, if I were to assign a physical stereotype on the basis of the professional appearances of flashy celebrities, I'm sure I could do so for just about anybody. Lil Jon and T-Pain versus -- say -- Slipknot? Who is more freaky?

Likewise, it's very easy to "make fun" of any stereotype you care to name. The ability to make fun of a group of stereotypes does not make them accurate, regardless of who or what is doing the stereotyping.

And as far as who I'd want my (hypothetical) children to emulate, I certainly wouldn't pick role models like Paris Hilton or Dick Cheney. There are LOTS of bad role models in the world.

I think blackface is very interesting as a cultural phenomenon, but I can't view it as either an accurate portrayal of average people or as a positive social force, in the same way that other ethnic-parodies of the time were generally ignorant, selective, and mean-spirited -- if not considered so by the performers than certainly by the majority of the audience.

So -- to expand on my statement in the post -- I CAN understand why and how blackface came about, and I can even see some things about it that are "not bad" -- but I don't view it as an accurate portrayal of the average 1920s African American, and I certainly can't appreciate its overt or underlying sentiments or purposes.