NROP: The Death of Art.

From a very young age, I wanted to make acting my career. As if it was yesterday, I remember singing (and acting out) “I am a little kettle,” in front of people who did not understand English. They thought I was fantastic, and would ask me to do the song over and over again. I could say that it was then that I realized art was universal and people from different countries and all walks of life could appreciate it. But, I was not smart enough to draw such conclusions at the age of four or so. However, my brain did register the fact that I could do what I liked and there would always be people who would enjoy it.

To those of you who do not know the nursery rhyme, check out the YouTube video below.

“I’m a Little Teapot” song and dance video

Yes, my moves were as fly as the pink cat’s in the video.

(There is an error in the lyrics in this video, but I chose it anyway because it included the suave moves that were so instrumental in my success with this song.

The original lyrics:
I’m a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle
Here is my spout
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out!
)

I hope I do not have to convince you that I am NOT a teapot. However, that rhyme might ultimately be the root of my affection for tea.

There were various roles I played throughout the years, but another one I remember quite vividly is that of Zeus and Aphrodite. Yes, you read that right – I played two characters in the same play, which, I might modestly say, showcased the diversity of my talent. And yes, I played two different genders. Did anyone gasp? How can that be? To make the matters worse, I played a god and a goddess who are meant to be Greek. Although I think I am an amazing human being, I do not consider myself a god. As far as I know, I do not have any Greek roots, either.

Can you guess where I am going with this?

There were a few reasons for why I was passionate about acting (still am). The potential for fame and fortune were definitely important. However, another factor, that you might have already guessed from above examples, was the ability to become whatever and whomever. One moment I was a teapot, the next a god, a man, a woman, a Greek. All of those have a set of different attributes. One-dimensional was never my thing. I wanted to play it all to broaden my horizons and to stretch my limits. Acting made me feel free.

Unfortunately, things just are not the same anymore.

If you have read some of my previous posts, you know that there are things that are no longer accepted in movies (like smoking).

I am sure you all have heard about the controversy surrounding the Oscars – how the majority of winners/nominees are white and how few female directors win the trophy. Back in the day, the movie and acting had to be good. No, not good, GREAT. This year, the rules have been updated to make sure that the winner circle is diverse enough next time around. (They do not focus on the quality of the production.) You can read about that in detail –> here <–.

But, I am getting off-topic…

As if all of that was not restricting people’s creativity enough…

The latest controversy surrounds a Halloween movie entitled: “The Witches,” and the lead actress – Ann Hathaway. In that movie, Ann plays a witch who has claws for hands. That portrayal is similar to a disability called ectrodactyly – which involves deficiency or absence of one or more fingers.

Once the outcry occurred, Ann apologized. (Comments in brackets and italics are mine and not part of the quote.)

“Let me begin by saying I do my best to be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others not out of some scrambling PC fear, but because not hurting others seems like a basic level of decency we should all be striving for. (That it does.) As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty (I am with you, Ann), I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. I am sorry. (Wait, you lost me. So, you were trying to hurt others with this role?) I did not connect limb difference with the GHW [author’s note: Grand High Witch] when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened. (Well, then, since you were not trying to hurt someone, it looks like your apology is out of PC fear more than anything, after all.)”

The good thing that comes out of this, is that more people became aware of the Lucky Fin Project and the congenital disorder of ectrodactyly. I have met people with that condition. I urge that you familiarize yourself with it so you are not as shocked when you see someone on the street with deformed hands.

For research, I have decided to watch the movie. It made me wonder why people are not upset about the fact that “all witches are bold.” I bet females who have undergone chemotherapy might find that statement hurtful, if they wanted to. The movie teaches us that witches wear wigs to cover their bold heads, which in turn gives them sores and makes them go crazy. Seems like a terribly cruel thing to say with the cancer population in mind.

Moreover, the character that Ann plays has an accent that definitely is not American. Who wants to raise hell on that account?

Last year, Scarlett Johansson came under scrutiny because she played a transgender in “Rub & Tug.” Once criticism was thrown her way, Scarlet replied with:

“You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job…”

Scarlett Johansson

If you know anything about today’s world, you know that words like these are not received well. In the end, Scarlett had to apologize.

Does it mean that a Jewish person cannot play a Catholic?

Actors often prepare for their roles by doing all sorts of research. However, in today’s day and age, that preparation includes a whole other can of worms.

We already put warnings on literal pieces and movies. So as not upset our audience, we warn them that our art might trigger them or that slavery is a thing of the past and no one should be treated that way.

White people cannot play black folks. Straight cannot turn into gay or trans. Of course, trans and gay can play straight, but that is besides the point.

Like Ann Hathaway, I do not enjoy hurting people and I do not condone cruelty, but I wonder where this will stop. What does creative license mean anymore? Urban Dictionary defines that as: “(U)se or making of interesting ideas.”

Research is something many writers complain about. It can be very time-consuming to write something factually strong. I do not incorporate research all that much into my writing. A natural flow is what I prefer. Next time I want to write something about aliens, I will ask them first how they would wish to be portrayed. Please let me know if any of you have contact information to their representative. Oh, no, they will probably be mad after that post because I just lumped all aliens into one sack… Umm… if I disappear… do not go looking for me because I will no longer be here to be found.

  • Have you seen “The Witches?” What did you think?
  • How do you feel about art being PC?
  • Where should we draw the limits?

Stay golden,

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32 thoughts on “NROP: The Death of Art.

Add yours

  1. I haven’t seen the remake of “The Witches”. In part because I refuse to pay for yet another streaming service (I’m not sure if I’m making a point or being frugal anymore) and in part because I loved the original with Angelica Houston – although I do recall being concurrently terrified.

    I think that thinking about art as something that has ever been free is probably a mistake. That being said, I think people are swinging to hard in their desperation to be “good”. Intention is all. So the attack on the current version of the movie seems over-the-top to me.

    Perhaps in addition to everyone striving to be kinder and more polite, we should re-embrace logic.

    I think using smoking in a way that glamorizes it in current movies is a mistake although I think having people smoke in films from other time periods for historical accuracy makes sense and outcry over it is silly. We were who we were – even if it makes me jones a bit for a drag.

    Drawing the line is easy. You stand your ground. You just have to be willing to take on the mob mentality that was given wings with social media. I think it can be done. You just have to think of people in large groups as hungry and intractable toddlers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think those streaming services have enough money to not care about you refraining from subscribing. But I’m with you – I choose to rebel.

      And with one you summed it all up perfectly – “intention.”

      Ah, logic… my love… Why do they hate you so much?

      I agree that smoking should not be glamorized, but since there are still people out there that smoke, it should be only fair for reality to be reflected in the movies at times. And, absolutely, making it appear like we’ve always been well-behaved is just crazy.

      I love your hungry baby comparison.

      I will stand my ground!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who has done a fair amount of stage acting I know how satisfying it is to get a positive response from the audience. On stage that response is immediate, but film actors don’t get the luxury of an immediate response. I can see how tempting it would be to look to the Twitter world for affirmation, even though it’s not an accurate representation of real life. I don’t have Twitter, and I wouldn’t have it if I was a world famous actor either. Haterz gonna hate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what I would do… I think I would be too curious about people’s opinions. I’d probably hire someone to just handle all of it. I’d just look at a quarterly report of aggregate data or something.
      It boggles my mind that celebrities have the time (and want to) to waste their time on all sorts of social media. In the past, movie posters promoted movies, now, it’s live Instagram videos of actors. I wonder if they are aware of the fact that they are working for free that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked the intro of this post!
    Also, That song will be stuck in my head forever 😉

    Obviously, we should stay away from blackface or any other racial issues, but other than, if a good actor is capable of it, they should take the role. And I think all actors prepare a lot before they play a difficult part.
    Movies should about transporting people to another world or just to relax, for crying out loud.
    Are people really that bored these days…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t the song fun? AH, to be a child again…

      People really are VERY sensitive these days. And for all the wrong reasons. And, like we’ve discussed before – somehow, WE are not entitled to be offended.

      Like

  4. Hah! Great post! Haven’t seen that movie but whoah…! Over here, professions that used to have ”man” at the end, like policeman, have been updated in the local language to ”police person” and an ice cream classic called Eskimo, after decades of existence in generations of kids’ memories, had to change the name to something generic. The local paper even found an inuit to explain why the word was so negative. Honestly, everyone just thought it fitting because ice cream is cold, sincerely no offence meant. Now they are debating over renaming a chocolate called geisha. Meanwhile, the gov’t swapped all (ALL!!!!!!!!!) road signs with human figures into more generic, non-gender signs. So the sign that previously showed a father walking on a pavement with his daughter now shows two non-gender people walking together, one taller and one smaller. All this cost gazillions which we could have used instead for hospitals, nurses, covid vaccination research, teachers… anything really except throwing away a whole country-load of perfectly good signs (not good for the environment either.) Where will this end indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The professions have been updated here a while back police officer, flight attendant instead of steward(ess), etc.

      That’s intriguing. Are you able to share with me an example of such a sign? A link or an image. I don’t even know how to envision a non-gender sillouette on a road sign.

      You are absolutely correct – we spend so much money on things like that and then say we’re out when something urgent comes along. I guess we all have different priorities. If someone gets sick and dies, they will not cause issues. Meanwhile, other people will kick and scream until they get their signs right.

      Terrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for the link.
          I have to say that I’m more used to the unisex signs. I mean, I never really saw a “man” on the sign. It was either someone with a skirt or without.

          The one with a mother walking with a kid now looks like two kids running. Doesn’t make sense.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I totally agree. There are many females that feel the same as you. They are still accused of being sexist, mysogenistic, etc. What happened to having your own opinion? Apparently, that is not allowed now. Oh, so you’re saying that women should be free to do whatever they want as long as they don’t support men/”sexist” things?

          Liked by 1 person

  5. -Have you seen “The Witches?”
    Yup.

    -What did you think?
    Meh. It wasn’t that great a movie.

    -How do you feel about art being PC?
    I like my art like my comedy–unsanitized, thank you.

    -Where should we draw the limits?
    If we have freedom of speech and expression, that includes hate speech and expression. The thing is that while we should allow folks to do and say what they please, that doesn’t mean they won’t suffer any backlash. it seems that our society has backpedaled to the witch hunt days–if you go looking, you’ll go finding. There’s support for anything and everything, if only you dig deep enough, and are willing to ignore the bits that don’t fit the narrative. I’m pretty convinced that the loudest among us who are calling for a sanitized society are probably the worst offenders behind closed doors. I find all of it really tiresome.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. A while back I read a book I think you might like… “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe. A recipe book of magic. Which follows a family – the women of the family, throughout time and through Salem, Mass. (under 400 pages)

    There is way to much apologizing for things that should as far as entertainment is concerned … if you don’t like it stop watching, reading or looking and move on. I remember going to the movies to watch “Blazing Saddles” – not your ordinary western. A Mother with three children not aware of Mel Brook’s humor took her children to see it the day we went… after the first scene she left with her children.

    Just like our country… you come here for freedom so stop trying to change the rules or make everyone see your way, just because you couldn’t practice it where you came from. If you don’t like it here either than let me show you the door…

    Our own history is so convoluted and the current text books sugar coat so much that our children and their children can’t understand why there is any fuss at all. I enjoyed reading your post. It is unfortunate that so many people have pigeon holed opinions that destroy creativity.

    Oh by the way… I read somewhere that the broom in the iconic Which Riding a Broom is facing the wrong way… might have been from the book I offered you to read, so it might be fiction or maybe not? The bristles are supposed to be up not behind… that was so they could be set bristles ablaze so the person riding could see where they were going. Makes sense to me. But then the Wiccan religion has been demonized, when it is truly a loving nature based faith.

    *I’ve added some new segments…* Cheers, Jules

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a lengthy comment, Jules. I wholeheartedly agree. Here in the US, we have always been all about “me.” However, recently, that has been pushed to the extreme and beyond. If something doesn’t suit us, we raise hell. All while we say that bullying is evil. All while we say that those who didn’t vote with us are not to be forgiven. Interesting. I know the people whom it suits won’t admit it, but… THIS IS INSANE! Wake up!!!

      (I will catch up on your segments in a moment.)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What do you mean there is an error in the teapot lyrics?? Maybe the version you learnt is the wrong one or maybe my kindergarten teacher got very it from the YouTube… Oh wait we didn’t have YouTube then so how come those are the words i know hmm

    At the height of acting career I played the Moses, I have also been a fish and the sun… So would it be wrong for me to act as the sun because I am not a descendant of the solar species?? Would fish find it offensive if I played a fish?

    The other day I was looking at outrage directed at a UK series a fictional retelling of Queen Anne Boleyn and they had taken the creative liberty of casting a black actress as the queen… You can imagine the ensuing drama.

    Much as I understand PC we’ve end up walking on egg shells figuring out how correct we are and what new things I can’t say or do…
    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thi video says: “When I get the steam up,” while all the rest (and author’s Wikipedia page) says: “When I get all steamed up.” It just makes more sense than the first one.

      Did you know this one, too?

      You cracked me up with your Moses, sun, and fish. Yes, I believe you’ve been VERY offensive. We have to figure out some sort of punishment for you…

      Ha! Well, if it’s not OK to cast a white person as black, then… If anyone has an issue with my writing, they can just stop reading 🙂

      Absolutely. The idea of PC is to be nice and respectful. I’m all about it. But this has gone waaaaay beyond the initial goal.

      Like

      1. That does make more sense but drawing out the alternative syllables is harder if you are five year old who doesn’t know English 🤣 And what is sense…

        PC starts off making sense but then at this rate we might need to start a whole new language
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I have not seen this movie but this post has me rolling my eyes. I’m just tired of hearing or reading about people criticizing others. I think they must have too much time on their hands. Imagine if all that time and energy spend pointing fingers and posting nasty things about others was spent doing something productive.

    Liked by 1 person

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