You will recall how in the previous post (“Aboriginal Wisdom and Wit”, which I wrote yesterday), I mentioned that the World Wide Web is “an amazing resource of information (and sometimes a dash of misinformation)”. Little did I think that I would so soon be confessing to being the source of some of that misinformation!
It was like this. Someone drew my attention to a couple of YouTube audio clips by one King Billy Cokebottle, in particular one about a goat and another about a mud crab. I listened to them, and found them very funny. King Billy (presumably) is depicted in the header (see picture above), and is obviously aboriginal. A mention of King Billy’s jokes thus fitted in very nicely with the other two web sites about matters aboriginal which I mentioned in the post. It provided the aboriginal “wit” to go with the “wisdom”.
Today I was informed that King Billy is a white Aussie comedian called Louis Beers who impersonates an aborigine. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Billy_Cokebottle . So I hereby apologise for misleading my readers in this way.
For me, this knowledge doesn’t make his stories any less amusing. However, it does raise an interesting issue. Beers has had some of his performances cancelled because people raised objections to his “racist” presentation. I’ve never seen him perform, and I appreciate that you probably haven’t either, but do you think you would find his performance offensive, simply because he did it in “blackface”? (I gather some of his material is quite “blue”, but I’m not talking about that.)
There is a long tradition of blackface performances. Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor both did blackface routines, and The Black and White Minstrel Show, although popular, raised objections on the grounds of racial stereotyping. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the issue.