For shame

Recently (October 6th, to be exact), there was a reunion show of an Australian broadcast called Hey Hey It’s Saturday. Imagine a Down Under version of the Gong Show. Making a 20th anniversary appearance are a group that call themselves “the Jackson Jive”. Here they are:

If you watched until the end, which I could not on my first or second attempts, you see Harry Connick Jr, one of the celebrity judges, expressing his outrage at the blackface mimicry of the Jackson Five.

It is difficult, as someone who has now spent their entire adult working life trying to educate people about the profound racism perpetuated in the popular media, to find a simple way to express my anger at this performance. In fact, I typically take for granted that such buffoonery lies on the other side of the line most people would draw between unacceptable and entertaining. But it appears that the host of Hey Hey, its producers, at least half the studio audience, 80% of the 3,000 surveyed viewers of the show, and that witless woman judge all need a rapid injection of knowledge and basic human decency.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “For shame

  1. how do you come down on Roger Sterling’s blackface party skit in Mad Men a few weeks ago:
    a) wrong under any circumstances
    b) appropriate given that it was clearly established as an unfortunate anachronism highlighting the character’s profound boorishness and with two characters (Don and Pete) reacting in disgust
    ?

  2. Jenn Lena

    I’ve thought about that since that episode and have settled on (b). It was bracketed in such a way as to provoke thoughtfulness, derision, and not humor.

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