The Jackson Jive
I don’t think it’s as simple as some are making out.
Those offended (especially the Americans and Brits) should bear in mind that “blackface” has no history in Australia, and the racial connotations, including that those participating are parodying stereotypical blacks, simply don’t exist here. And certainly it appears that the partipants meant no offence. (Note: most of them are not actually white.)
Meanwhile, those annoyed claiming that people are being over-sensititive and that apologising is “political correctness gone mad” should remember that now we’re a global village. Even without the presence of Harry Connick Jr, this was bound to be seen internationally, and by people who would be offended by it.
So why are people offended? As Wikipedia notes:
Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrelsy played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide.
…and as Harry Connick Jr quite eloquently pointed out:
…I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart…
Society changes. Just because it was okay to show the same act in the 80s (and even in the titles of the 1999 finale) doesn’t mean it’s okay anymore.
When was it that smoking was banned in restaurants? About 2001? Today smoking in a restaurant (or even in a pub) seems totally outlandish. We’ve moved on.
I like nostalgia. But some of what was on Hey Hey in the past should have stayed in the past.
The Hey Hey mix
Beyond the current furore, I was pondering what makes Hey Hey tick. I’ve decided that it’s like a big dinner party conversation. They basically get a whole bunch of people in a room and wait for the humour to happen, guided through the show by the various segments. You’ve got the host, the assistant, the various puppets, you’ve got the voiceover man, the caption person, the cartoon-drawer, the sound-effects guy, the interjecting bandmembers and roving comic, all coming up with one-liners.