October 8, 2009

Red Faces

Yes, it was an old and amateur send-up.

Twenty years old.

Being re-done on the twentieth anniversary of the show that aired the identical skit performed by the very same amateurs twenty years ago.

It wasn't new.

Go bloody fucking figure.

Apparently we're all American's now and must inhale, not only the cola, but also the DNA of their every sensibility.

What I want to know, really want to know: why has no one chucked a hissy fit over the doctor - the one being Michael Jackson - painting his face white?

Hey Hey's Jackson Five: Why we did it


  1. Bloody ridiculous.The sanctimonious reaction from some American journos is something to behold.

    "IT WASN'T NEW" Too right, Caz... And nothing racist in it at all, as the Indian doctor was at pains to point out!

  2. I don't know what is the funniest bit of this whole episode. Is it the fact that the guy who portrays Michael Jackson is a plastic surgeon in real life? Or that everybody, including those who complained, automatically assumed that beneath the face paint all of these guys are white? (which of course they are not). Daryl Somers grovelling off the cuff apology is pretty damn hilarious. But for my money it has to be the way Somers repeatedly referred to the
    performers as "boys" when he introduced them.



  3. "We've spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that, we really take it to heart,'' Connick jnr said on the show shortly after the skit aired."

    The 'we' being Americans, not Australians, and 'black people' being an entire race of people, rather than the Jackson Five, the latter having been the subject of the skit.

    The bow drawn by Connick jnr, and everyone else, is an awful long one.

    "Historically, blackface has been strongly associated with racism. ''It's about white people performing very stereotypical and crude images of black people,'' said Benjamin Miller, lecturer in Australian studies at the University of NSW, and the author of a PhD on blackface in Australian and American culture. ''Black people are presented as buffoons, unintelligent, in a grotesque manner, usually disabled and often the butt of the joke. The whole impetus of it was to demean."

    And again, he's talking about a not very good send-up of the Jackson Five, inclusive of the late Michael Jackson, extrapolating a specific to every black person in the world - the untalented and non-singing alike.

    I don't recall the Jackson Five ever having been portrayed as disabled buffoons, and Michael was often the butt of jokes, but never because he was a black man.

    And this, from an online commenter:

    "As a college-educated, African-American professional who confronts racism daily from cradle to grave, for no other reason than the colour of my skin; it is clear to me now more than ever, that racism against black people will never disappear but continue to be tolerated under various guises."

    It's perplexing to think that some dude on the other side of the world projects such wide-reaching and determinist meaning onto a two minute skit from a little show in Australia. There can't possibly be any correlation between his despair and Hey Hey, but let's not take away his moment of indulgence, that too might be racist.

    Now if someone could help me out in deciding what I should think every time I walk down Chapel Street and am confronted with hundreds of white people with yellow and orange sprayed bodies, or when I see black women grabbing at skin bleaching and hair straightening products as if their lives depend upon it, I'd be very appreciative.