The Fairy Princess has had a busy month and a half personally. She was off doing the SPARKLE Concerts for The Actor’s Fund,
(Photo by Andrew Werner Photography) and truthfully, that requires a bit of time and travel.
She must congratulate the wonderful Scott Nevins, from Bravo’s The People’s Couch, for once again, producing two smashing shows on two different coasts, all to raise funds for people in need.
so YES, she knew about what was going on with AbFab, she put it on the back burner to handle some personal stuff, at least in terms of the blog. She apologizes for the delay, she was asked back in November to blog on this issue, and she meant to, she just ran out of time.
Sometimes following TFP on The Twittah (@Equill) is a better way to gauge what she is thinking about current events.
Now, TFP is an AbFab Addict – she spent much of her formative years swanning about like a desicated British lady ‘of a certain age’ who was either drunk or stoned or both, that’s right – these two.
Edina and Pats – played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. These two have had so much influence on pop culture, nightclub culture, and the international perception of aging fabulously and entirely flawed, that it’s hard to quantify.
In the history of television, both in the UK and parts abroad, never has drunken debauchery looked so very appealing and so radically unafraid of watching panicked women aging – look, if you could wind up like Edina and Pats, a wrinkle or two really was nothing to worry about.
Aging is Fabulous, absolutely.
In their ridiculousness and inability to accept aging, we, the audience, came to accept what was so grand about being the last to give any f**ks at all about what people thought.
They insulted everyone, and made themselves the butt of just about every scenario – but there was a magnificence about it, that made it work.
Because now, they have – or rather Jennifer Saunders who created and starred in the show – has made a huge misstep.
She has taken the fabulous of AbFab and given it a racist turn. The two ladies that could accept just about anything have now crossed the line and have decided to accept yellowface.
Now, there is a comedienne from Scotland, and she’s half of a team known as The Krankies.
Now that ‘little boy’ aka “Wee Jimmy” (‘Wee‘ is how Scottish Folk imply small or young – doesn’t mean a bladder problem) is actually a woman, and that woman is named Janette Tough.
Janette has been chosen to play, in the new AbFab movie – a Japanese Designer named, wait for it, Huki Muki. Not just a ‘designer’, specifically the character is ‘a Japanese designer’. Named Huki Muki.
Which no, does not mean anything in Japanese.
Huki Effin Muki!
Now, apparently, Ms. Tough is appearing as a caricature character based on an actual Japanese writer and artist, Yayoi Kusama….
to be fair, Ms. Kusama’s look seems to have inspired other film depictions…
however, Leeloo in The Fifth Element was not supposed to be Asian or of Asian descent, she was supposed to be one of the Supreme Beings of the Universe.
Again, the character of Huki Muki is specifically described as “a Japanese designer”
Here is Huki Muki swanning about with Eddie and Pats:
Awash in polka dots, a bob hairstyle stolen stolen from Andy Wharhol’s reject pile, and Anna Wintour’s “absolutely not’ pile of dark sunglasses.
Some have compared this to British pantomime and that is absolutely ridiculous, this has nothing to do with pantomime, or ‘panto’ – first of all – it’s not live and playing to children.This film is largely going to play for Gay Men and the women that love being friends with them.
And old drunks.
Let’s be real.
ABFab is not based on a fairy tale.
You got it, baby, you got it!
The only similarity between this film and panto is that they have a female character dressed as a man aka- Drag.
“Panto” has drag.
What ‘Drag” means is, from the Shakespeare, “DRessed as A Girl”.
(Not to be confused with people who are in any way transitioning)
This Actress is dressing to play a Japanese man. Technically, should we return to the ‘Shakespearean meaning’- it’s not drag, per se, as the actress will not be Dressed as a Girl.
A Japanese person. Drag is entirely the wrong term to use. She is a woman playing a man, but she is crossing ethnic boundaries.
There are elements of racism in ‘panto“, particularly in Aladdin, but again, to try and justify this as an ‘ode’ to classic British form is a misstep. Although it is jumping into the racism with both feet, toes pointed.
Then there was the outrageous suggestion that white people playing Asian are just ‘acting’!
TFP knows that Asians are so gorgeous that everyone wants to be us, and well, who wouldn’t? We are stunning.
However it always looks ridiculous and everyone forgets to pay attention to the ‘acting’ per se, because we are all wondering how an “Actor’ of any merit could bask in the light of their own ethnic blindness and delusion as to their abilities. Fifty years ago people excused it by saying there were no Asian actors available, which is how we wound up with this list –
which looks absolutely dreadful from today’s perspective.
Japanese people are an ethnic group, from an actual and real country, which means, this is NOT Drag in any way shape or form, it’s dressing to specifically portray a person of another ethnicity. Dressing to portray a person of Asian ancestry.
We all know how TFP feels about that, but it bears repeating.
THIS is what happens when Caucasians dress up as Asians, generally in The Mikado (Although NOT in the English National Opera production of The Mikado, which is beautiful)
Though Huki Muki is better dressed than the above pictured folk, if Ms. Trough is using an accent and in any way altering her eyes, or using caricatured gestures to portray a person of Asian heritage – it’s YELLOW FACE.
YELLOW FACE is makeup and gestures that mock Asian peoples and heritage. TFP does not know why everyone across the UK and USA realizes that Blackface is horribly offensive, but when it comes to Asians, they think we should all suck it up because they (the Caucasians) find it funny.
It’s not funny.
Here is Yellowface:
There is actually no difference, and if anyone argues that there is, or that Yellowface is done because of artistic merit or tradition, they need a talking to. Without the talking.
TFP gets the AbFab humor, she absolutely does. Everything is grand and ridiculous – that is all fine. If the character were just playing a designer named Huki Muki, TFP would have to shrug and assume it’s just a takeoff on over the top well dressed fashion designers of which we have numerous examples:
America’s Christopher March
If AbFab is about mocking the PR and Fashion Worlds – which it has always been – then why did they have to make Huki Muki a Japanese Designer specifically?
One can surmise that there are going to be some jokes about ethnicity and stature, as they have cast a Scottish sketch comedienne of shorter height to play the role.
TFP wants to know, Ms. Saunders – if you were casting a Japanese Fashion Designer, why didn’t you cast someone Asian? What is in the writing, or in the setup that does not allow for an Asian person to play an Asian person?
Let TFP clue the viewing public in- Asians are not allowed to be in on the joke, because we ARE the joke. It is clear as the mirror Pats snorts Coke off of.
In your next film, Ms. Saunders, are East and South Asians all going to play Scottish people? And by the by – if you ARE going to cast a Scottish person as an Asian person, how about…say…KATIE LEUNG!
Scottish AND Asian! Wow, one stop shopping!
Katie Leung was voted THE MOST STYLISH PERSON IN SCOTLAND!!!!!
If the designer did not have to specifically be played by a Scottish person portraying a Japanese person, you could have just cast an Actress who happens to be of Asian descent (obviously authenticity is not your issue at all Ms. Saunders) – for example, you could have gone with Bai Ling –
Or if you wanted an Designer who is outrageous and Asian, you could have gone with Bobby Trendy!
Or let’s say what everyone is thinking – Ms. Saunders, you could have called on the one who is calling you out in public, Ms. Margaret Cho, who by the way, is KILLING it on FASHION POLICE here in the States. She is a comedic actress, a writer, a standup and she talks about fashion!
Maybe that would have been too much competition, eh Ms. Saunders?
The truth is, you probably did not look, Ms. Saunders.
You just thought it would be cool to make fun of Japanese people, so you called up your Mate in Scotland and said,
“Darling, Darling, Darling, could you lose your r’s and l’s and wear tape on your eyes and mock those darling little people who run about in the fashion world? No, the Asians darling, not the PA’s, for f*ckssake, who cares about PA’s!?”
And then, as Eddie, you leaned over to Pats and yelled “She thought I meant the PA’s! Do you care about PA’s Patsy?” and Pats said back
then you all had a good laugh and a bottle of champs and went off about your day – did you ever find that doorknob?
TFP thinks Naomi Campbell knows where it is…and that you should perhaps duck?
Naomi Campbell is of Asian descent too….TFP is sure she would take your call…
For employing YELLOWFACE in order to fill your film with racism instead of it’s usual good hearted debauchery – TFP fines Ms. Jennifer Saunders 100 whacks of the wand.
You could have said some really funny things about the Fashion Industry and acknowledged that Asian designers make a real and valid contribution to world fashion, but instead, you chose mockery.
Darling, darling, darling – yellowface is not absolutely anything but appalling.
Thanks to Margaret Cho for speaking up and speaking out.