12-29-2009, 11:05 AM
Dedicated follower of the black line
I really appreciate everyone's comments on this. The reason I brought it up was because my immediate reaction to this OD was so strongly negative that when I didn't see anyone else saying anything, I thought I might be off-base. I'd love to hear from more people in other places. How is this seen in Australia? Japan? China?
12-29-2009, 11:22 AM
Speaking as a black Canadian, I'd like to echo jcoates on the subject.
12-29-2009, 12:47 PM
I can't share the same sentiments(speaking as a brown face) as others on the subject. For me the definition of racism is lot liberal, that is something like if someone attacks me because of the race or holds a prejudice against me during an interview because of my race , thats is racism. here, in the board i have seen some caroline fans complaining that her UR calls are due to racism, which i completely disagree.
Originally Posted by Wicked
i may feel this way because i have never been on the receiving end of any racist behavior, while i was abroad or in my country because i was born long after british had left India; may be my grandparents may have a different view on the subjects.
Interesting i found it funny when europeans acting as indian in western movies would just rub their face against charcoal to look more indian (honestly we laugh).
Just one question, Did the movie " tropic thunder" create any racism debate, or was the explanation given in the story good enough.
12-29-2009, 12:52 PM
I just thought the Aboriginal dance was really bad - performance and choreography - it seemed really sloppy and had a ton of cross cuts - not much dancing -
12-29-2009, 01:22 PM
Well, I was just reading more about D/S's lifts, if swinging by the belt can be called a proper lift. Apparently this recurs six times? [color=red]*[/color][color=red]*[/color][color=red]*[/color] D/S! ?
Maksim's free leg sometimes doesn't leave the ice. He has his weight on his right edge and there's a lean, but his left foot is also on the ice (I'll look again, maybe it's vice versa, which would make more sense - that when his left foot carries weight, his right foot is also on the ice to help support it).
There are some elements that to me would be properly performed with Maxim skating on one edge with a free leg extended, and instead he's doing two footed skating. A LOT of it. Also, in a carry he and Oksana do while he is in a besti squat, it appears to me as if her skate/leg is pushing into his waist, and not on his thighs (which would add more direct pressure on his injury, I guess).
I was kind of surprised at how wobbly her skating was. She struggled to change positions in one maneuver, she landed kind of heavily on her skate coming off one lift, etc. Is this program VERY new?
12-29-2009, 02:31 PM
I think the difference between your perception and mine is that in the US and Canada, blacks are definite minority groups that have always been subject to the will of the majority. Blacks in the States (I'm not as sure of Canadian history on this matter) have had to pull up from a base of no political power whatsoever from a time when they were considered literal property and commondities rather than persons to our current status today. Along the way there were significant struggles to claim every bit of social status and political equality that exists today. While our size, political and cultural influence are growing and many past issues have been addressed, if not resolves there is still a great deal more to be tackled before any sort of declaration can be made that these problems are behind us. In fact, complacency even for a generation, can lead to a recurrence of many problems thought to have been defeated. BTW, I hesitate to link to it for fear of violating forum rules, but I would suggest that if you are interested in learning more about the topic, you look up the article on blackface on Wikipedia. It gives an excellent summary of the issues and history involved as well as a number of visual examples.
Originally Posted by life684
My understanding of Indian history and culture (please correct me if I am wrong) is that while that are many diverse ethnic and religious groups in the nation, there is a strong national Indian identity. While under British rule, the situation was not dissimilar to than in any of their other colonies in that the power rested with a minority group. Still, if I recall, the British model was to make use of existing political structures withing a country under colonization in order to draw sufficient support for their presence and to allow for stability given their own relatively small numbers. I think this is a significant difference between the experiences of India and the US. It is far easier to laugh off potentially offensive portrayals when your are in the majority or have the majority of the power. If you are still in a position of relative vulnerability, then you are likely to have a different impression. Of course this is why laws exist in the US and elsewhere to shield various minorities or protected classes against forms of discrimination, because social progress is not always permanent of its own accord and sometimes you need rules, written or not to enforce and forward strides a society makes.
Regarding Tropic Thunder, you bring up a very interesting case. I was frankly shocked when I first heard of how Robert Downey Jr.'s character was to be played. Of course at that point there was very little known about the movie at all, so there were few details available.. However, I later learned two important facts. First it was mockumentary/movie within a movie which always are send ups of particular subculture or profession and reveal their flaws from the inside. Second, the intent was necessarily not a "straight" blackface performance where donning the makeup was the end goal just so Downey could have the part. The point was to make very strong satirical and social commentary about acting as a profession (the point of the whole movie actually) and the lengths to which its various participants will go to play a part or create a film by giving an insider's point of view into a farcical film making process gone wrong.
In America at least, it has become something of a joke to hear about actors "suffering" for their craft while also being paid $10-20 million a film. Still they will gain or lose significant amounts of fat or muscle, wear expensive prosthetics, etc. in order to portray a character and hopefully win acting awards for their sacrifice. However, for reasons I have already stated, donning makeup to change one's racial appearance for a performance, is highly taboo. That most offensive of taboos along with the whole method acting process was deliberately inserted into film in order to demonstrate how absurd the overly serious process of acting and artistic endeavor can all become if taken too literally.
In that way, an element of humor was intentionally inserted giving the audience the "power of the majority" and making the actor the butt of the joke. This produced a reaction somewhat similar to the one you mentioned above where portrayals of Indians by foreigners are found to be humorous. The difference is that many of those portrayals, like the movie within a movie in Tropic Thunder are meant to be serious. However, the overall film revealed how badly wrong things can go when this is blindly attempted as a serious endeavor in the name of one's craft with no awareness of the perception of others. Because that I was not offended by the movie as a whole and quite enjoyed seeing it.
12-29-2009, 04:21 PM
Wicked Yankee Girl
BTW, Tarasova has a huge problem with the use of belts. There is a translation of her commentary in the comments section on this blog:
And there have been many other people who were not happy with D/S's OD, particularly the blackface, and the fact that the music is South Indian and not Australian. Google blackface and Domnina to find them.
jcoates, thank you very much for a complete and thoughtful explanation of why blackface is offensive.
BTW, I have read the take of 2 Australians, one an ice dance judge, and the other who was involved with the Australian team that presented an Australian Aborigine OD in 2008 (consulting with Australian dancers to be sure they were respecting the culture), and they were both very unhappy with this D/S OD, particularly the tone, costuming, and the inauthenticity of the music.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 12-29-2009 at 04:26 PM.
12-29-2009, 04:31 PM
Thanks. I read that translation last night. It will be interesting to see if changes are made to their FD.
BTW, now that we know a bit of what she is saying, she sounds just a lovably cantankerous as Mr. Button.
ETA: BTW one of the reasons this is such a big issue for me beyond matters of race and culture is that such a controversy would be very bad for skating in general and ice dance in particular. Two controversy free Olympics in a row would be huge for Ice dance after the problems in the 90's and 2002. There are so many good teams now an with wonderful programs. Fair judging (fingers crossed) and diverse placements could re-legitimize the discipline. It would be a shame if they were overshadowed by a cultural controversy.
If Speedy really is invested in reclaiming some of the western audiences the sport has lost over the years, then someone, either in the Russian federation or the ISU should really communicate the sensitive nature of this problem to D/S. They may well be completely unaware of what a mess they are about to step into. I think they could skim past the issues with the music and choreography if they just lost the dark makeup (at least with a general viewing audience). Tribal marking would likely be ok for most, but the brownface will definitely push buttons.
Judging by the reactions on other site and forums, there definitely seems to be a divide in understanding of this issue across national borders. IT would be a real shame if this controversy continued.
Last edited by jcoates; 12-29-2009 at 05:31 PM.
12-29-2009, 05:30 PM
They better do some changes because this FD is so bad that it ruined my evening, when I watched it for the first time. This dance should have not been placed ahead of Bobrova / Soloviev or Rubleva / Shefer. I am sorry, Oksana and Maxim used to skate well, but this is a farce. Their skating is slow, laboured, pulling and dragging each other across the ice. Ice dance is supposed to have close holds to be of high quality, have yuou sen any of those? I have not. No unison in their free leg lines, the first rotational lift is ugly (Oksana's bent knees are in a unattractive position), the muusic inspire you to go to church and pray for some sins, and all I am wondering how much more this joke is going to last.
Originally Posted by jcoates
I understand that Maxim is hurt, but it will be a shame if this dance will be marked higher than Pec / Bou, Fai / Sca or the Kerrs, and I am talking about the content alone, not even the execution. If they will win it will be political only and i think a new scandal is in the making if they manage to come out on top with this.
Last edited by herios; 12-29-2009 at 07:47 PM.
12-29-2009, 06:14 PM
I finally watched the OD and FD and was struck absolutely speechless. I was appalled. I thought these were two of the worst dances I've ever seen from a "top" team, on all elements: content, construction, and execution of the dances. Won't even go into the costuming/makeup for the OD. I had problems with D/S winning Worlds last year (IMHO, they didn't belong on the podium), but this is going backwards from that point. It's clear that they are in poor physical shape--Maxim has an excuse but Oksana also? What has she been doing for most of 2009? I don't think even if Maxim's knees were to miraculously heal overnight, that they could train heavily and pull these off successfully at Olympics. And Maxim's knee(s) are in such bad shape that I don't see how heavy training is even possible. They need to back off now, withdraw and retire from competitive skating to maintain any shred of dignity. Shame on the Russian Federation for feeling so desperate for a podium chance that they allow this to be foisted on the skating world. And for inflating their scores in the Nationals to the point their own home audience was left head scratching.
Originally Posted by Wicked
I showed these dances to some Chinese skating fans and their reaction was similar. Though it is true that due to cultural differences, unlike me, they don't pick up on the offensiveness of the brownface and the overall patronizing caricaturing of the OD. On a more unified note, the consensus was that the only way these dances/performances could be anywhere near a Euro or Olympic podium (or even top 10) was with corrupt judging and/or payoffs by the Russian Fed.
Last edited by bigsisjiejie; 12-29-2009 at 06:34 PM.
12-29-2009, 06:19 PM
god, the Canadians never stop, do they? Every year, it's something. Now it's Black Face.
12-29-2009, 06:33 PM
I find Europeans to be among the most insensitive and tone-deaf people in the world. Chip-on-shoulder, elitists, colonialists. Most of them just "don't get it" and the post above shows this.
Originally Posted by oxade21
12-29-2009, 06:48 PM
Was this OD really supposed to represent the native population of Australia? The white body-paint effect suggests that, but it looks so inaccurate in design to me. The music has no Australian aborigine sound to it; where is the didgeridoo? The OD this season is supposed to be a folk dance/country dance, not a cultural hodge-podge.
I like Oksana and Maksim, and I believe they deserve better. I want them to get the respect they deserve at the Olympics, and I do not think this programme will accomplish that.
12-29-2009, 07:12 PM
Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program
I want Tat to commentate on NBC. subtitle it. She has to be better than our bunch of clowns.
Originally Posted by jcoates
12-29-2009, 07:14 PM
But it's the RUSSIANS who are skating (quite badly) with plants growing out of their skates to music that has nothing whatsoever to do with Australian aboriginal culture, not the Canadians.
Originally Posted by oxade21
Disregarding the blackface (which is completely offensive) their OD is awful and their FD is even worse. They were once fine ice dancers, but that is not the case this year. Given that Shabalin's knees are as good as they are going to get, they would do best to retire now and spare themselves further embarrassment.
If, as has been suggested, the RFSF has somehow "arranged" an Olympic medal for them, there will be unfortunate repercussions.