Thinking about Jimmy Crow

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Postby Trev » 16 Aug 2007, 20:17

Intriguing thought... Are there actually any Punch performers who are Black or Asian?
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Postby johnstoate » 16 Aug 2007, 20:21

By the same token, (And it is a serious query) is there a Black or Asian tradition Punch equivalent??
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Postby Tony James » 16 Aug 2007, 22:18

Miraiker

Now come along. You know just as everyone else does that I didn't suggest that my Punch show or anyone else's for that matter is trying to attract an audience expecting the sort of adult material performed by the comedians I mentioned.

But the analogy remains correct. Their audiences go to see them knowing the type of material that will be used.

Likewise, a lot of the people attending the type of events I mentioned are hoping and/or expecting a performance of a Punch show which they imagine would be found unacceptable by the politically correct brigade.

This lot are very unlikely to attend these sorts of events as they represent many of the aspects of life they find they are at odds with - eg.

hunting, shooting, fishing, meat eating and the waving of national flags, singing of patriotic songs and the perpetuating of 'unacceptable' customs such as Christmas and Easter.

And worst of all - having a mind of your own and thinking for yourself.

I recall Oliver Cromwell banned most of the fun events like theatre and Christmas and Easter festivities and look where it got him - with his head stuck on top of a pike.

I sometimes wonder quite what my audiences are expecting because for sure when they've seen my show and I have no doubt yours as well, they will realise there's nothing to get excited about. It's just harmless knockabout fun.

But try telling that to the PC Brigade.

And to think, we fought a war to defeat similar barmpots in Germany who wanted to control how people thought.

Some people never learn.
Last edited by Tony James on 16 Aug 2007, 22:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby CharlesTaylor » 16 Aug 2007, 22:18

Thank you John,

The image of a noose is a constant reminder of the cruel hangings of negores and the treatment or intimidation to keep minnority people “in their place.” It’s an evil that continues still. For some one of authority to ignore it’s signifance is to condone the racist behavior. That is why there still remains this serious undertone of mistrust and fear. Hate mongoring hurts everyone including those that behave in such nasty ways. Hate begets hate and so it continues.

I think Chris reminded me that it is funny to see a clown slip on a banana peel, but if a real - old lady slipped and fell, that wouldn’t be amusing. With the environment in the U.S. with many of us trying to heal these ancient wounds it isn’t easy when events break out that cause people to take defiant sides that lead to more mistrust and misaprehensions. Anything less than respectful treatment of a black character in Punch would cause unrest in the audience, regardless of color. And because of the nature of Punch, I am hard pressed to want to experiment.

John, you bring up an interesting point about a ‘colored’ assistant performing a traditional African story line show. In fact, Elaine, my better half, did a workshop last fall for our Orange County Puppetry Guild with finger puppets of colored skin telling a traditional African Story line, Mufaso’s Daughters. The purpose was to expose our members to a sense of broader puppetry concepts. We have a very small number of African-American members. Unfortunately, none were present to give feed back on the fact that Elaine was doing a show from Africa. Although I saw nothing that was objectionable. The material was handled properly in the retelling of the story. The puppets were black because it was part of the story. Now I could only see one possible objection and that would be a white person doing a traditional African story. But retelling stories can or should be done by anyone.

Interestingly, I recently heard that Walt Disney Studios may be rereleasing Song of the South, the collection of stories of Uncle Remus. This has never been available on video tape or C.D.s. Again, perhaps it was considered politically incorrect. I find the main character, Uncle Remus a wonderful character the viewer is bound to love. Very much as George Robeson in Show Boat. Dignity, kindness and goodness is personified in these characters by the actors.

John your remark, “We are expected to respect, (if not revere) minorities, unless, of course, that minority is indigenous, white, Punch men! (and women)”, does indicate a frustration that non colored people have with the constantly changing dynamics, peridymes , the flux of social rules. I also see it as another adage, “You don’t know unless you’ve walked in the other man’s shoes.” While we are in our comfort zone and all seems right with the world, it realy isn’t. It’s an illusion, a delusion.

That makes me think that the value of a live Punch performance may keep it topical but sensitive enough to the audience that you are not chased out of town or have potatoes or rocks thrown at you. This was a common occurrence that happened to Punch men during the nineteenth century in America. Punch was very popular before and after the civil war.

I’ve read in Paul McPharlins book that many British Punch men came here to perform on the streets to send money home to their families. Talk about invading immigrants! Please L.O.L. That was meant to be humorous. That was a period when black face Minstrel shows were popular. That vogue went out of style but does rarely pop up now and again. I’ve even seen a black person doing black face in recent years.

I’m guessing that where ever Punch is performed, to keep him alive and relevant the professor needs to understand his/her audience to keep them entertained. Audiences differ from age, social awareness, tastes, and what they find humorous.

My wife and I became addicted to the Ian McShane series of Deadwood. Although it was shocking and not for everyone, I was fascinated with the sense of reality created. It was certainly not sugar coated. Ian McShane’s character was so bad we loved to hate him. By the end of the series we understood and appreciated why characters like his were necessary in order to develop our “Wild West”. Nothing I’ve seen could have been bloodier or more shocking. It was also very entertaining besides seeming educational to understand what it was really like in the 1870’s for mining towns in North Dakota. It was NOT for everyone's taste!

I had the same realization after seeing Martin Scorcecies’ Gangs of New York. I understood why my ancestors left the East Coast after living there since the 1630’s and went west where there were NO neighbors. Life was hard for my great grandparents on the prairies but better than what the big cities could offer them if they weren’t wealthy. Everything they owned was in a camel back trunk: a lamp, a bible, a rifle, a bullet maker, family degerotypes, early photographs and a very few other personal items. Only what they could fit in the covered wagon could they take. The boards of the wagon were used to create a roof of the sod house where my grandmother was born.

There were NO entertainment's for them. Life was a struggle. Surviving is what allowed their children and grandchildren to prosper. I don’t believe there ever was an opportunity to see Punch. That was only in the big cities on the East Coast. It dwindled to precious few by the time the twentieth century came.

For many of our poor, not just minnorites, in our society, still struggle to stay alive. There is little time for art, puppet shows or pursuit of elevated aspirations. Many parents, both work two or three jobs. The children come to school hungry from no breakfast. Some people have locks on their refrigerators because there is no lock on their front door to the living quarters. Children stay up late with not enough sleep. Frustration is high with few low paying jobs, much crime and the danger of children being murdered on the street by street gangs and drive by shootings. Television is in every house but parents don’t seem to have much discussion with their children in order to modify the intake. According to television shows, if you aren’t taking medication for “E.D.” or having multiple partners in bed your life is in the dull drums. What message will our children take with them as they grow up. Dang, I feel I’m missing out most of the time from what I view on T.V.

The answer is . . . Now in present day I can luxuriate on this hot tub of a web site on the computer pursuing joyful communications, dialogues and disagreements to my hearts content. I can perform Punch and Judy or other puppet shows with or without my daughters and hopefully spread joy to people of all walks of life. Little by little I’m learning more and more.

Thanks to all the contributors for your one liners, your humour, your thoughtful dissertations. What a great bunch of people! It makes me proud to be part of the human race.
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Postby CharlesTaylor » 16 Aug 2007, 22:31

In reviewing my last epistle, third paragraph from the bottom, I noticed the letters tcp replaced the word medication (med i ca tion ) I tried to correct it through edit twice but it wouldn't take. Is the word medication blocked for some reason?


There you see it did it again, tcp for ( med i ca tion )! What's going on?

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Postby Nick Jackson » 16 Aug 2007, 23:34

Tony James wrote:I recall Oliver Cromwell banned most of the fun events like theatre and Christmas and Easter festivities and look where it got him - with his head stuck on top of a pike.

Yes, but not until three years after his death from fever. Cromwell was one of the few national leaders to have been publically posthumously executed.
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Postby johnstoate » 16 Aug 2007, 23:38

I dunno, Charles, but keep up the good work. The US. immigrants in my family never got any further west than Atlantic city and Philadelphia, (Where they enrich the soil) but I now appreciate a little better the so-called 'land of the free' - Maybe you should join the others who flock here, they all seem to appreciate what we take for granted so much that even our government bend over backwards to accommodate them! - Shame they can't allow more of your perspective in, then we might not be discussing the subjects we are in such guarded terms. Better to BE free than THINK you are!! - By way of explanation, try to fly YOUR National flag upside down, and see what happens. Over here, you get castigated for pointing out the mistake. A measure, (I think) of how low we are sunk! :( Nick, I can think of a few others who are even more deserving of execution, postumous or otherwise!!
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Postby Tony James » 17 Aug 2007, 00:24

Nick Jackson wrote:
Tony James wrote:I recall Oliver Cromwell banned most of the fun events like theatre and Christmas and Easter festivities and look where it got him - with his head stuck on top of a pike.

Yes, but not until three years after his death from fever. Cromwell was one of the few national leaders to have been publically posthumously executed.



It might happen again with some of this lot!!
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Postby Miraiker » 17 Aug 2007, 08:52

Well Tony I take your point. There is a big difference between being offensive and being non PC.

A man from the East Essex area, who used to do P & J some years ago, told us all the marvellous places he worked and the wonderful bookings he got. We knew his show to be downright deliberately offensive.
When we mentioned this to a friend, Lenny Blease and said
"He reckons he's worked here and here and here......"
Lenny replied "Yes he has - Once!"
He was never invited back anywhere and no longer performs at all.

I actually think that the whole PC for the sake of it thing has already peaked and common sense is taking over again.

Just a few years ago when a local councillor in Essex tried to ban P & J from Council ground, there was much debate, much media interest which resulted in the removal of the councillor for making the Council a laughing stock.

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Postby Tony James » 17 Aug 2007, 09:40

I hope you're right about PC peaking. The problem with PC is the type of person who promotes it, often with the zeal of a religious bigot.

For certain most normal thinking people are sick and tired of it and they tend to buckle it all together with other petty restrictions which usually quote either health & safety or the need for public liability insurance which then proves unobtainable.

So another aspect of life bites the dust - donkeys in Lllandudno, balloon animals in Tesco, flower beds in Devizes, Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool, the name Fat Buddha Chinese restaurant in Durham and those are just the last few days.
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Postby Chris » 17 Aug 2007, 09:56

Some people do like to promote gloom don't they? In Tony's world PC clowns are rampant, we anticipate imminent unemployment due to the vicious Licensing Act and the donkeys are no more in Llandudno.

I prefer a view where most people seem to laugh at the more ridiculous aspects of PC, and that of the lady yesterday who mentioned to me how delighted she was that there were still donkeys for her little girl to ride on in Llandudno.

Mind you, I do wish this global warming could produce a little more warming and a little less wetting.
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Postby Nick Jackson » 17 Aug 2007, 10:33

Chinese Whispers again.

There are still donkeys at Llandudno. They only hit the news because insurers would no longer cover children for racing them at the annual donkey derby on Bodafon Fields.

Liverpool's Mathew (one 't') Street Festival is somewhat smaller this year because of all the construction work at the Pier Head.
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Postby Miraiker » 17 Aug 2007, 11:14

I've seen balloon modelling and face painting in a Tesco store this summer.
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Postby Tony James » 17 Aug 2007, 11:33

if you wish to check out the veracity of the instances I quoted along with a thousand more examples of bureaucratic mindlessness take a look at

http://nannyknowsbest.blogspot.com/

and you'll find them all there, some illustrated including the Llandudno Donkey Saga and the very recent Tesco ban on balloon models.

Ah well - off to work.
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Postby Chris » 17 Aug 2007, 11:57

No thanks Tony, I don't look for gloom.
As far as the Llandudno donkeys go , my information came from a lady yesterday. She used to live here and was back with her children on holiday. We were doing an "I remember bit.." and I was bemoaning Colwyn Bay's loss of Mechanical Eleohant, little train, and the donkeys. She too remembered these. She then added - but at least the donkeys are still at Llandudno. I replied that I didn't think so. She replied that they were there yesterday (ie Wednesday).
As I say, I prefer her version to whatever your negative propaganda blog says.
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