I saw Spike Lee’s newest film, “Bamboozled,” over the weekend, and I think it’s a masterpiece of filmmaking.
It’s about a black TV executive who puts a minstrel show, complete with blackface, on his network to show that white people only feel comfortable with blacks as buffoons.
Spike busts on tv shows that only show black people as jive-talking hipsters, white guys who use street slang to show how “down” they are, and a successful black man who loathes himself for his skin color. It was painful to watch, but I strongly recommend it, particularly to all the white folks out there who think they aren’t racist.
I got dragged to that, by a grandchild who just had to see it, and it was better than I expected. I did hate a lot of the language though. Seemed very hard to listen to, even if that was the point.
Spike Lee showed signs of being an intelligent, talented fillmaker once upon a time, but he hasn’t made anything worth watching since “Do the Right THing.” I haven’t seen “Bamboozled” (and don’t intend to), so I can’t comment on whether it’s any good. But I CAN Say categorically that it’s based on sevral dishonest and STUPID notions.
ARE there television shows that make black people look stupid? There sure are… problem is, it AIN’T white people who watch these shows. Don’t take my word for it, look at the Nielsen ratings. The ratings among white viewers and black viewers couldn’t be any more different. “Monday Night Football” is the ONLY program in the top 20 among both black and white Americans.
So, are ANY of the stupid WB network comedies in white America’s top 10? Nope. Not even in the top 75. But ALL those stupid, offensive comedies are in the top 20 of BLACK viewers.
In other words, the whole “minstrel show” analogy is idiotic! At the turn of the century, WHITE audiences went to minstrel shows to laugh at black people acting like fools. Today, it’s BLACK audiences who tune in to watch other black people acting like fools.
White people have NO stomach for that kind of comedy any more. Indeed, on the popular white sitcoms of the past ten years (“Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” etc.) there have been NO black characters, largely because writers and producers are TERRIFIED of casting black actors in demeaning roles. That’s why you see dignified blck lawyers on “The Practice,” dignified black doctors on “E.R.,” dignified black cops on “Law and Order,” but NEVER a dimwitted black guy on a white-oriented sitcom.
If black Americans don’t like the way they’re portrayed on TV sitcoms, they have only themselves to blame. THEY’RE the ones watching the WB!
Slight hijack, but I thought “Get On The Bus” was pretty good. And “Clockers” had its moments…