Friday, October 9, 2009

Hey hey, who dunnit?

Here's what I want to know: who was it who watched the Jackson Jive act on old Hey Hey footage from decades ago, when the participants were all young medical students, and decided that it would be a good, funny and appropriate thing to do to invite them back? Who thought that was a good idea? Surely this can be tracked down to a single name. But I bet we never hear it.

Unless it was Daryl Somers himself, of course. He certainly appears to be living in the past in every other way.

For the record I think (a) that when it comes to humour, context is everything, especially with parody and satire, but (b) that blackface, whose origins lie in open mockery (and badly-concealed fear and loathing) of African-Americans, is not appropriate, at all, in any context, ever. (And I did enjoy Germaine Greer's comments on Q&A last night comparing the Hey Hey fallout with women's tolerance of men in drag. I've always taken it for granted, especially after seeing Priscilla, that theatrical drag -- as distinct from private or non-performative cross-dressing, which is about something else -- is grounded in ferocious hatred of and contempt for women, but that is true of so many other things, like The Footy Show, that one has to acknowledge it as a norm.)

Part of the context for the Jackson Jive fiasco, of course, was that one of the judges was a guest from the American South. So whoever set the whole thing up either was too ignorant and dim to realise, or did it deliberately. I'm not sure which is worse.


ThirdCat said...

That's exactly what I was saying to the mister last night (he doesn't have a twitter account and never looks at facebook so I had to explain the whole thing to him, he was, shall we say, disbelieving). But, yeah...who did think to put it on there in the first place?

(doorbitch chmerpe which is disappointingly meaningless to me)

iODyne said...

I watched QandA last night, to hang on every word of Dr.Professor St.Germaine of Greer, and was well-rewarded, especially her comments on the marriage/ownership of woman when called on to comment re the Belinda & John Della Fiasco. Go Germs!

Hey Hey It's Yesterday, has fortunately now been relegated to Not Again Anytime Soon. I am stunned by the happenstance of walking into a room where it was on, and seeing just that portion of the show, having missed the first one completely (of course).
Helen Coonan LLB., admitted publicly to viewing the show. Cast your ballot accordingly, is all I can say.
The strident panel on The View dealt with it today, so thoroughly and swiftly that I think it was scripted and they knew Ch 9 was their affiliate.
Spare a thought for the patients of those 5 medical professionals this week.

Doorbitch: Fangr
my Favourite Doorbitch: St Sterses - brother of St.Trinian, and the patron saint of bloggers.

Elisabeth said...

I don't own a TV so I miss out on these things but I hear about them on blogs and through newspapers, after which we discuss them at dinner, those of my adult children who manage to see the offending article elsewhere.
The verdict is that it was a 'stupid' thing to do, ill-considered, naive and potentially inflammatory.
But the response? These things seem to take on some sort of momentum and not having seen the skit myself it's hard to judge, but all the time I'm reminded of David Marr thoughts in relation to the recent furore over the Henson photographs of children. Do they constitute pornography or art?
Of course here it's a different scenario - racism, tasteless comedy or trash?
'When panic arrives, facts don’t count. Complexity disappears. All slopes are slippery. The only scenario is the worst-case scenario. Nothing is too small to worry about. And everyone has a high old time except the victims.'

librarygirl said...

No-one at Channel nine would be smart enough to set up anything.
Dim and ignorant.
(didn't watch any of it, last watched it in about 1985 and didn't like it even then).

fxh said...

I rarely watch much Q&A (and less Jenny Brockie) but Ms FX was watching so I joined in. I was impressed by all of them except for the T-shirted twerp on the end. Germs was impressive and resisted the urge to do the schtick.

I've always seen most if not all drag by footy players and gays and anyone else as deeply hostile to women but I've been alone and been called homophobic for saying so even if it was in my own shy retiring way.

So Go Germs.

seepi said...

I read that one of the dancing doctors had asked one of the producers if the act would be ok, and they had no problems with it.

They should have got someone under 60 to be part of the show, even if behind the scenes and they might have avoided this fiasco.

A lot of people don't see the offence in the 'blackface' thing though. Our recent past history has picked on asians, not black people (as far as ridicule anyway) But even Hey Hey it's Saturday would never let a group of people dance around pulling their eyes into slits and going 'chinky chinky', so why is this any different?

Anonymous said...

As Ms Cat said, it's all a matter of context - if they could have found a way to make it actually funny, there might not have been such a shitstorm (I kind of went off Ben Elton a couple of decades ago when I realised that despite the fact that he was using a lot of tits and bum jokes to make a postmodern point about tits and bum jokes, he was still using tits and bum jokes).

I'm intrigued to read other people here seeing gay drag as hostile to women - first came across that view in an interview with a cartoonist (of all people) several years ago, and it was quite some food for thought, but have never come across it reiterated till now.

B Smith

Tatyana Larina said...

I saw a quote related to the show where an American person described this as 'extinct humor'.

It'll be good to to reach a point when performative cross-dressing of all kinds will also be viewed as extinct. (I find Dame Edna equally bizarre.)

frog said...

Looking over the commentary and responses on non-commercial radio or in newspapers, a large proportion of supporters or the non-committed seem to be of the view that if it's not our ethnic minority, it's OK. Sometimes, it's hard not to despair.

Kim said...

When you talk about Germaine Greer do you mean the woman who thought it was wise to appear on the execrable show Big Brother then mewled like a baby when she didn't get her way? Or do you mean the other Germaine, the one who appears in that insufferable grumpy old women/men series and whinges about practically everything under the sun?

As to theatrical drag, I've choreographed gay Asian tribute shows to various gay icon divas, like Cher, on several occasions. I guess this makes me a self hatin' woman and a traitor to the cause. LOL.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I think you've answered your own question there, Kim.

Anthony said...

I suspect one slight difference between black face minstrelsy and drag is that African Americans themselves have a tradition of performing as blackface minstrels. This might be interpreted as African Americans "appropriating" minstrelsy (loosely akin, say, to the Wogs Out of Work phenomenon) but more remarkably it represents the very weird situation that African Americans could not appear on stage to entertain a White audience without "blacking up".

But maybe there is always a(n unconscious) distinction between, say, someone getting up on stage and telling blatantly misogynist jokes and someone getting up on stage and doing drag - because in the latter case there's an unspoken ambivalence whereby they actually want to be the person they are making fun of.