Interesting. Dunno really

And she is still ruffling feathers from beyond the grave. Henry VIII’s second wife is the subject of a new Channel 5 series; she is to be played by the black British actor Jodie Turner-Smith. Predictably, racists are losing their heads over it. (I’d wager many of the same people who think a black woman shouldn’t play a white historical figure have zero issues with Jesus being routinely portrayed as a white guy.)

Do we generally regard Jews as white guys? There has certainly been discrimination against them but that’s not quite the same thing. Louis Farrakhan ain’t gonna accept that they’re black now, is he?

Sure, historical reality would have a Middle East resident of the time as tinted. But then any working or peasant class bloke near anywhere of the time would be tinted too.

37 thoughts on “Interesting. Dunno really”

  1. It would be interesting to see the Guardian’s reaction to a film that proposed (for example) a white actor to play an historical black figure. Something tells me it would be slightly different……..

  2. ” Predictably, racists are losing their heads over it.”

    Being erased from the history of your own homeland is something to worry about. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said: “To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.”.

    “…have zero issues with Jesus being routinely portrayed as a white guy.”

    The last two portrayals of Jesus I can think of were Jim Caviezel and Robert Powell, neither of whom are the blonde-haired, blue-eyed types of the lefts fevered imagination.

  3. Jim, there was some dark muttering when Ben Kingsley played Gandhi in the 1982 film. Today there would be screams of outraged pain, matched only by those following a Trump victory.

    I hope this actress will white up in order to play Anne Boleyn because in the interests of verisimilitude it’s mainly white people who get beheaded nowadays.

  4. this all started with the Tudors when Henry wasn’t ginger, but everyone forgave it because Nathalie Dormer.

  5. By the Guardian’s arguments, a white Othello is perfectly fine.

    Remember the MST3K mantra. It’s all just pretend.

  6. I was never sure where this “blonde blue eyed ” trope came from. Max von Sydow in The Greatest Story Ever Told, I guess, which suggests a limited exposure to films, let alone art.

    I bet Salome didn’t look like Rita Hayworth either.

    Funnily enough, though, I was discussing this kind of subject with a pal the other day. My contention was that in texts such as Shakespeare, because they are so removed from our reality, it actually doesn’t matter who plays what, same applies to opera. Even his historical dramas were based on Ye Kiddes Booke of Histories and are fair game for character manipulation. Certain characters ( especially female villainesses such as Lady Macbeth, Queen Margaret in Henry VI, the Goth Queen in Titus Andronicus) should be “different” because they are “other” in the drama. But double or indeed triple standards are never far away with the left and try having a non-black Othello and see where that gets you these days.

  7. Viewers must possess a willing suspension of disbelief. A black Anne Boleyn beggars belief.

    I take it Chanel 5 doesn’t require an audience.

  8. For this to be coherent casting, the Duke of Norfolk and all his relatives will have to be played by black actors as well. That should be a challenge for the casting director.

  9. Your best bet at what Jesus looked like is to collect a couple of hundred Palestinian Christians of the right sex and age, and do one of those computer-averaging thingies with their photos.

  10. Got it !

    Either Anne is a result of Thomas’ (or Elizabeths’) liaison with a slave (OK that will take a bit of explaining)
    or
    she’s adopted and the Boleyns are doing a Madonna or Amy Comey Barrett.

  11. They could remake ‘Zulu’ with the heroic black defenders of Rorke’s Drift defeating the wicked white barbarians.

  12. A black Anne Boleyn.

    Surrounded by her crack hoes in waiting no doubt, losing her head because she has eyes for Henry’s court motherfucker.

  13. Is this going to be another of those oh-so-woke productions that will fail utterly with the public ? Said failure will then be blamed on racism. c.f. ghostbusters

  14. Possibly a funky modern script could line up the shockingness of Kingy going for a Non-blue-blood with a non european looking person. It’s asking alot though of your disbelief already somewhat suspended in any drama. Possible but requires a very good script, good acting and a real looker.- Possibly the only thing that slightly detracted from excellent Wolf Hall is Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn (very very good actor in my book, but more suited visually to Jane Eyre or to my surprise lisbet salander (recomended0- i was only sure it was her when i read the credits at the end- she had Sulky (not sultry) Scandy-Noir down to a T)
    It’s Ch5 so presumably they want to attract as many ad friendly eyeballs as possible. Maybe they simply think jodie has got all the above and will steal the show (i haven’t seen her act so don’t know)or possibly the casting furore is the starter culture of an intended viral outbreak. Tune into the controversy thing.

  15. “Do we generally regard Jews as white guys? ”

    that’s already been done by the race baiting creator of the 1619 project.

  16. Bravefart
    Seems like a TV series to be enjoyed while reading a good book and with the sound muted the TV is switched off.

    There FIFY.

  17. We have no idea what Christ looked like because he was the son of god, dropped into Mary’s womb, so could have had no genes from either of them. He might have looked like Bruce Lee for all we know.

    I think the biggest problem with this is, well, why? Other than “look, we have a black woman”. Hamilton has various non-white people playing black people, but it’s supposed to mirror how the colonials were the people rising up, how Hamilton came from poverty. It’s supposed to be metaphorical, in the same way that the Christ story is.

  18. He might have looked like Bruce Lee for all we know.

    ‘I don’t care if he’s Muhammed “I’m hard” Bruce Lee !’

  19. BoM4

    With Hamilton it’s not a case of re-writing history 1984 style. It’s a case of shoving it in your face simply because they can.

  20. @philip

    “Ancient Israel (then called Galilee)”: that must have been hard to find out – nobody could write in 4,500 BC.

  21. Otto- the earliest known image of jesus was a man on a cross- with the head of a donkey with the tag line something like – publius worships his god. I think his mate was taking the piss.

    i was always struck by Robert Graves description in jesus the king, from memory who described him as asiatic with a small forked ginger beard and a hooked nose. (yeah fiction but why not?)

    the natural beard the long hair and the flowing white robe with naked chest was basically the greek philosopher look which was given to Jesus by Gok Wan to make him more appealing to gentiles.

  22. Since Jesus of Nazareth/Jesus the Christ never existed, portraying Him as white is as good as any other depiction. He is what you believe.

  23. Gamecock- not that a good argument can’t be made contrariwise, just it’s still reasonable to conclude that 12 odd guys and some women followed a guy round palestine with that name circa 30ad who then got deaded by the authorities. That historical guy may not, definitely doesn’t match up to the man,the god, the legend that subsequently was attributed to him post mortem but yeah i think he existed.

  24. Jeez, Hallowed Be’s doing it now. “Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn (very very good actor in my book, ”
    She’s not an actor she’s an actress. Bad enough the prickess who wrote the quoted piece. Despite being an ungendered language, in the main, it does have a feminine form of some words. Mostly taken from the French. If you don’t use them, you aren’t speaking the language. I very much doubt the French or Spanish are considering changing all their words to placate the terminally woke.(wokess?)

  25. The BBC cast a black actor to play the Duke of York in their Henry V a few years back (starring Tom Hiddleston, who was terrible) and then slipped him into the Band of Brothers monologue, presumably to put the black guy front and centre.

    Except that York doesn’t appear in that speech, and to shoe-horn him in there they had to mess around with the text, and in the process screw up the metre, because when Shakespeare wrote it in iambic pentameter he presumably didn’t know what he was doing, unlike a BBC script editor.

    Pitiful.

  26. Oh yeah, and in the preceding episode in the same series, Henry IV, the Duke of York was a white actor. So much for continuity.

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