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.
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:
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?
Did you enjoy reading this post?
Have some thoughts on the topic?
Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog?
Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader?
Want to get to know me better?
Check me out on TWITTER @SamGoldieKirk.