I found a flyer yesterday for a sketch show that proudly declared one of their hilarious characters would be the winner of China’s Got Talent. None of these people were Chinese. Oh good, I thought, there is almost no way this isn’t going to be a vaguely racist shambles. Why, sketch groups? Why? I just can’t believe that no one, at any point, went ‘Hey! Maybe let’s not do that! It isn’t 1955 anymore!’
You know when your parents are like, I’m not angry, I’m disappointed? I think my reaction to this idiocy is the same. I’m just disappointed some white people actually think it’s ok to effectively perform in yellow-face — I know there might be loads of this going on in, I dunno, closed communities in the Ozarks, or village fetes somewhere, but those places have the advantages of not being at the largest arts festival in the world. I think I’m also disappointed by the insulting implication that ‘China’s Got Talent’ could be a joke in and of itself. That is, ‘ho ho, isn’t is hilarious to imagine a Britain’s Got Talent show in a third-world country?’ But you know what, sketch group? China has loads of shows like that already. Asian popular culture is bigger than you could imagine. And furthermore, China has a BILLION people. Statistically, it’s quite, quite likely to have talent.
I think there’ll be the argument to this that I should just learn to take a joke (political correctness gone mad and all that b.s.). My counter argument would be ‘grow the fuck up.’ You’re not 7, and pulling your eyes back with tape isn’t the height of comic genius anymore.
Anyways, nuts to them. The festival’s ticking along. I have one more show today and then a day off. Yesterday was a lovely one, and the reactions were interesting. One elderly lady said ‘Do you think things will change through individual actions?’ I said, yes, but that’s only a part of it, a bigger part will be some form of collective will on our part. She replied ‘I think that will happen. Maybe it already is happening.’ She kind of winked at me, which only later I found a bit troubling and sinister, as if she was organising a sleeper cell in a bunker under her allotment.
Another older man kind of took me to task by repeating the usual Conservative defense of Thatcheresque capitalism. After the show, of course, that would be a really weird heckle. I like this response, because at least I know the show is working enough to get people ‘riled.’ I don’t want to preach to the choir, I want to deal with the conflicts that are going to arise. I wasn’t really prepared, so I just said, ‘well, it’s much more complicated than that.’ Good comeback, Broderick. Naomi Klein would be proud.