Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Global backlash



Last night's Newsnight featured a discussion about what Emily Maitlis called a "global backlash" to that Australian cartoon of Serena Williams. Here was Emily's introduction to the feature, during which she prejudged the question about to be discussed:
'If the self-appointed censors get their way on our Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed'. That was the message from Australian newspaper the Herald Sun which hit back at those criticising its cartoonist, Mark Knight, for his portrayal of the embroiled tennis champion Serena Williams, after his picture met with a global backlash and accusations of racism. When does a cartoonist stray too far? Is this caricature full of racist tropes? Angry black woman - check. Animalised features - check. Exaggerated lips and physique - check. And if you're still not convinced, her mixed-race opponent, Naomi Osaka, had her dip-dyed hair turned full blonde, essentially making her white. The paper says the attack on them is a "politically-correct barrage". Compare to this cartoon in the Evening Standard of Labour's Diane Abbott. Unpleasant, if you're her, but racist? Well, you'd be hard pushed to say so. Now this, from the same cartoonist, of Theresa May. Also unflattering, this time accused of misogyny. And don't forget Kalen Ockerman's East End mural that Jeremy Corbyn at first defended, and then didn't. The artist said it was an attack on Capitalists, not on Jews. And then there's Islam. This was in the Daily Mail, in 2015. Make of that what you will. Joining me now is Tim Benson, editor of Britain's Best Political Cartoons - a book series - and Leyla Reynolds is the Art Director of gal-dem - a magazine run only by women and non-binary people of colour.
It was an odd discussion that followed with Emily Maitlis at times helpfully putting words in the jargon-spouting Leyla's mouth.  


Meanwhile (and will the BBC report this?) it's being reported that the cartoonist at the centre of the storm has deactivated his Twitter account after suffering death threats aimed at both him and his family. Welcome to PC World indeed.

17 comments:

  1. Who the hell is Leyla Reynolds and why is she/he/it on my TV? Well not mine exactly as I don't watch Newshite.

    ReplyDelete
  2. At the back of most BBC output there is a constant theme, "There should be a law against it". We have plenty of laws yet still 'things happen' and the BBC's line is always that somehow more restrictions are the answer,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They had a discussion on Newsnight a few days ago about free speech boundaries. It was clear the pressure was on to censor more.

      Delete
  3. It’s worse here. “Our” ABC would have you believe there is a major split in public opinion, but letters and blogs indicate that 90% of Australians see Williams as s massive spoiled brat.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This cartoon of Serena Williams was nowhere near as offensive as some that the BBC have shown deriding Donald Trump - particularly that of Piers Morgan br**n-n**ing him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They loved the naked Trump statues left at various locations in the USA by Democratic supporters during the campaign. Wonder how they'd feel about naked Serena statues?

      Delete
  5. The constant drip-drip propaganda...

    Parents will know how this works...you have a recalcitrant child...You don't necessarily announce "Tonight we're have greens with our meal" or "Tonight we're going to discuss your career options." Instead, you hide the greens under cabbage or put them in a bake...and for the career options thing, you buy the teenager something that might just spark their interest in something or you arrange for someone they like to raise the subject.

    This is how the BBC do it. They don't have to come out and say "Free speech sucks, let's put a stop to people voicing opposition to PC values." Nope, they just open up discussions in various areas that shift the centre of gravity of a topic.

    You could equally have a discussion on "Why does the BBC not treat Serena Williams like any other very talented sportsperson but rather elevate her to some sort of sainted status living in a criticism-free zone?"

    We've seen the same from the BBC with Mo Farah. Remember this incident - which has been completely airbrushed out of the narrative:

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/celebritynews/mo-farah-in-punch-up-with-man-who-blocked-his-path-on-training-run-and-refused-to-budge-8873443.html

    (This all took place on a public path, remember.)

    When I google on that story with "BBC" added I get loads of results - from the Standard, Telegraph, Mail even the Guardian. But nothing from the BBC!

    Why is the BBC applying racial criteria to sports stars and
    stirring up racial tension?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops... should have read that through...

      I meant you "hide the greens under a toasted cheese topping"! Hiding them under cabbage won't do any good! lol

      Delete
  6. Caricature and newspaper cartoons are inherently cruel. That is the nature of the medium. I have mixed feelings about this particular cartoon. The joke itself - “Can’t you just let her win?” - is funny and very apt to the situation. The accusation that Serena has been depicted as muscular and masculine is plain silly. Have these people actually looked at her? Where it fails is that the face doesn’t really look like Serena Williams. So in that sense it’s not really a caricature, rather it is a fairy generic grotesque depiction of a black person. However, having said that, even if it had been a more successful representation, any caricature of a black person will be regarded by the Emily Maitlis’s of this world as racist. In other words black people can only be represented, even in the exaggerated world of satire and caricature in a flattering and positive light. I can’t think of anything more racist.

    What is so disappointing is that all of this is a deflection engineered by Serena Williams, no doubt encouraged by her idiot coach Mouratoglou and all the sycophants around her, from her appallingg behaviour. Why aren’t all theses outraged SJW’s complaining about a sports star worth 170 million dollars telling an umpire who was merely doing his job that he would never umpire one of her matches again in his life? It makes a mockery of the whole dubious concept of white privilege.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did Serena even believe what she was saying? To my eye she had the look of someone half-smiling, not the look of someone really angry. I think she was trying it on, like a child telling you that the dog ate the biscuits off the worktop, the same dog that can hardly climb into its basket.

      Delete
    2. Serena looked to be losing the match badly when this row erupted. I know she has made some spectacular come-backs, but even so, there was probably an element of gamesmanship involved - now euphemistically known as 'professionalism'.

      Delete
    3. There is a familiar pattern. When she starts badly and is being sent all over the court by her opponent she seems to switch into a super aggressive mode, Jeckll and Hyde like. I’m speculating, but that could have been what the communication with Mouratoglou was all about. It the aggression is restricted to the ball and the strings of her racket that’s good and makes for exciting tennis. If her opponents feel intimidated that’s all part of the game and it’s up to them to deal with it. But sometimes it goes beyond that. She was disqualified from the US Open in 2009 for physically threatening a line judge. But I don’t even blame her for that. Sometimes people lose it. It happens. She did at least apologise afterwards on that occasion. As for the half-smile it was strangely reminiscent of a young John McEnroe when he worked himself up into a rage. It’s what people do.

      What I do object to most strongly is what came afterwards, all the ridiculous suggestions of sexism, racism etc. Even if you disregard the whole PC box ticking aspect, so many people are so in awe of “Queen” Serena that she can do no wrong. She probably believes that herself. But the real villains in this saga are the MSM in the way the whole thing has been blown out of all proportion - the BBC, as ever in the forefront pushing their PC agenda. The loser is not tennis as Sue Barker absurdly suggested, but Naomi Osaka whose glory has been completely taken away by this whole ridiculous fiasco.

      Delete
  7. I thought Emily Maitlis was an intelligent woman. Yet here she is spilling a badly written (not even English but recited parrot-like in American speak) list of false allegations, as if they were fact, in order to shore up a flimsy basis for outrage.

    Those at the BBC who write or speak such rubbish must be either thick or liars. Yesterday we had a BBC presenter labelling a Japanese woman a black woman, when she is in fact Japanese and Haitian. Everywhere else she's been referred to as Japanese.
    Now it's Maitlis's silly list. There's nothing racist about depicting an angry woman as angry. Is it sexist - which happened to be an issue in the case - or did that slip your mind, Emily, when there's a juicy racism row to concoct? The features are distorted by anger and cartoon form, the bawling mouth and lips prominent, eyebrows creased and eyes narrowed. What's weird is to see this as non human - animalised. To declare that as a fact, as if it was an obvious or proven fact, is false. It is possibly someone's opinion. I have no idea who or how they explain it. Let's hear it.

    Her physique has not been exaggerated. She has notably strongly muscled arms and legs, as can be seen in the match itself or countless photographs online. The overall figure has been foregrounded and is large compared with the two in the background, I presume because that's the whole point.

    The final Maitlis false allegation is that Osaka was turned white. Osaka's hair is not depicted as full blonde. It is both yellow and black in the cartoon. Also, her face has a beige wash while the face of the umpire has a pink wash. That shows up Maitlis and shows the mischief making of the BBC in promoting such allegations as if they were fact.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Big mistake to think Emily intelligent I'm afraid. This is the lady who thought 2,017 - 70 = 1,937. She's just an autocutie really.
      Just as BP's strategy is not run by it's petrol pump attendants, the BBC is not run by the beautiful, but empty people who talk at us. It's the writers, producers and editors behind the scenes who create the propaganda.

      Delete
    2. I don't know about Newsnight. Is it still being run by teenagers, as Paxman once said? I wouldn't be surprised, considering that drivel written for Maitlis.

      Delete
  8. Terry's mention of McEnroe reminds me of this sketch from Not the 9 O'clock News: youtu.be/fd90m3xKfl8. The British despise poor losers, especially when they resort to racket-breaking temper tantrums, & the sketch was very well received at the time - how sad it is that the Beeb is now so mired in political correctness that it is inconceivable that they would screen a similar sketch aimed at the obnoxious Serena!

    To take up a point Terry made earlier in the thread the BBC is, in fact, guilty of both racism and sexism: white males, fair game - black females,untouchable. I wonder if it occurs to the BBC that, by apparently condoning Williams' behaviour, they are in fact offering young black people an appalling rôle model which, if imitated in the workplace, would do their career prospects a power of no good. In a similar way, the Beeb has taken to using black actors to inform us that 'programme X will be on at free-firty.' - normalising street patois does the people concerned no favours on the jobs market - instead of dumbing down Greg Dyke-style, the BBC should try raising up Lord Reith-style.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What the BBC is doing, oddly enough, is creating a cartoon world of black and white in which everyone and everything is reduced to that. That is more of a distortion than the cartoon of Williams.

    ReplyDelete