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February 29, 2008

Buy complete chance, I happened to catch last weekends SNL episode that started off with the Obama/Clinton debate sketch. I though it was funny, and I actually laughed at an SNL skit for the first time in a very, very long time. I really laughed at the bit of a mini-orgasm the ‘moderator’ displayed after one of Obama’s answers.

side note: The surprise appearance by Steve Martin during the opening monologue was a huge boost for the show as well (At least for me it was. I’ve always loved Martin’s old stand up and SNL stuff from way back).

In any case, while watching the skit I keep getting a nagging feeling that it was going to cause some problems. Specifically I thought someone was going to cry “Blackface!” since a black actor didn’t play the part of Obama. Sure enough, the complaints rolled in.

Did ‘SNL’ Go Beyond the Pale With Fauxbama?

Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune put the question bluntly: “Call me crazy, but shouldn’t ‘Saturday Night Live’s’ fictional Sen. Barack Obama be played by an African-American?” Ryan went on to conclude: “I find ‘SNL’s’ choice inexplicable. Obama’s candidacy gives us solid proof of the progress that African-Americans have made in this country. I guess ‘SNL’ still has further to go on that front.”

Okay. You’re crazy.

Hannah Pool, a writer for the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain, suggested the whole setup had “minstrel” overtones.

“Casting a black actor wouldn’t have guaranteed the quality of the sketch, but it would have made the whole thing a lot less shoddy,” Pool wrote. “Let’s get one thing straight. The moment anyone starts reaching for ‘blackface,’ they are on extremely dodgy territory. Anyone who thinks it’s either necessary or, for that matter, remotely funny to black-up needs to have the gauge on their moral compass reset.”

I’m thinking these people need to do a bit of research on Blackface and what it truly was; Ignorant, disrespectful and racist. This SNL skit was none of those things. If they want an example of modern day Blackface, they should be reminded of the photoshoped images of Senator Lieberman and Michael Steele produced during the last election cycle.

This looks like it may turn into a real issue in the near future. What happens if/when Obama becomes president? Is he going to become ‘untouchable’ by anyone? Are people going to be labeled racist if they question/disagree/confront Obama? George Bush is heavily (and freely) parodied around the country. Would even a fraction of that kind of parody be tolerated with Obama?

If you missed the skit, the Washington Post article linked above and the Michelle Malkin post linked below both have a clip of a portion of the skit. Watch it. It’s funny.

ht: Michelle Malkin

From → Politics

One Comment
  1. I don’t have an issue with the casting, just the impression: it was pretty crappy.

    Some funny jokes, though. But the cast seems really bad. Maybe the Obama guy will grow into the impression like others have.

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