Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wait, I thought casting didn't matter!

This is confusing.

The casting of a white actor as Martin Luther King in an Ohio university production of Katori Hall's acclaimed play The Mountaintop was "a disservice to not just Dr King but an entire community", the playwright has said.

Hall wrote an essay for the African American cultural website the Root on Monday about Kent State University's production of her play, which dramatizes the night before King was assassinated in 1968.

Hall told the Guardian that director Michael Oatman's decision to double-cast the six-show production with a black actor and a white actor as King went "deeper than just casting a white man in the role of MLK".

"I just really feel as though it echoes this pervasive erasure of the black body and the silencing of a black community – theatrically and also, literally, in the world," she said.

Oatman, who like Hall is black, said in a statement in August promoting the play that he chose a white actor for the production "to explore the issue of racial ownership and authenticity".

So casting a historical character who is black with a white actor is racism? But wait! Don't I recall that merely objecting to the casting of a white character with a black actor was racism?

Yes I do recall that. That post is one of the most-read things I've ever written. Every week it gets hits. Objecting that they cast Johnny Storm with a black actor is nerd racism my friends. Lots of people say so.

And you know, they cast a black guy in the movie to play the white character, then amazingly enough, Stan Lee did NOT write an essay for some white culture website complaining that the switch was "a disservice to not just the Fantastic Four but an entire community!"

You know what happened instead? All us comic fans got told to shut up.

I decided shutting up would be boring, so I went out on a limb and said any movie that casts a white character with a black actor to get PC points is going to suck. Behold, it did suck. The FF movie came out and dropped off the face of the Earth two weeks later. Because, of course, it sucked hard.

Casting does matter. Duh. Casting Martin Luther King with a white actor is stupid. The play will suck. It will suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

I'm waiting for J.F. Sargent to call Katori Hall a racist, in keeping with his thesis that objections to race switching in movies is racism. Got my popcorn right here.

The Phantom.

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