The King and I is back in the West End, 67 years on from its Broadway debut.
But its portrait of a white woman being both fascinated and repelled by a society depicted as both backward and barbarous is winding up a few PC critics.
The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish whinges The King and I one of the most problematic musicals of the 20th Century American canon. Michael Billington expresses similar sentiments in The Guardian , saying it seems to endorse the idea of the
civilising influence of the west on the barbaric east.
The Independent's Paul Taylor detects a smack of imperial condescension to this story of a widowed, well-bred Victorian governess who... gives a funny foreign despot... a stiff dose of Western values.
Time Out's Andrzej Lukowski, meanwhile, calls the musical kind of racist ... like an elderly relative who you make allowances for on grounds of age.
Director Bartlet Sher responds that the show remains resonant, powerful and extremely well-conceived. He also dismisses suggestions the piece has dated, saying its views on colonialism, gender equality and the conflict between modernity and
tradition make it as timely and powerful as ever.
I wonder if these PC critics would have banned British cave rescuers from helping out in Thailand lest heroically saving children's lives affirms 'white saviour' stereotypes.
Offsite Comment: The King and I : a West End treat
A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that a transport authority had every right to reject an atheist
advertisement, the latest chapter in a saga that's dragged on for more than six years.
In 2012, atheist Justin Vacula and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society attempted to place the following ad on buses in the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS).
Although there should be nothing controversial about the word 'atheists' and two text links to atheist societies, during this period, atheist and religious groups around the world were producing adverts rather more obviously knocking the other
side. And perhaps it was what these other groups were doing that led COLTS refusing the advert claiming it be 'controversial' and so could be rejected.
Justin Vacula appealed the decision with the help of American Atheists, but the COLTS administrators stood by their claims.
This kicked off legal actions that have culminated in the court's affirmation that COLTS' censorship is legal.
Moralists campaigners of Morality in Media (now calling themselves the National Center on Sexual Exploitation) is well
impressed by the US streaming service Roku. The campaigners write:
A popular media streaming company is being called out for helping the public gain secretive access to pornography channels.
Dawn Hawkins of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation says Roku has a backdoor to private, sexually explicit channels while other competitors have stayed away from hardcore pornography.
They are facilitating access to hardcore pornography channels - hundreds of private and hidden channels - and none of the other streaming companies allow this.
Hawkins says the company is not even hiding its affiliation with hardcore porn. In fact, she says, the porn industry advertises the accessibility via Roku.
National Center helps parents protect their children from objectionable content so it has a step-by-step guide to help parents block content. But there is one streaming service without parental controls -- Roku.
Suddenly It's Spring
That's Oxford, 17 March 2018, 11:20
That's Oxford is a local television service for Oxford and the surrounding area.
Suddenly It's Spring was a children's cartoon made in 1944, featuring the doll Raggedy Ann setting out on a mission to ask the Sun to shine on her poorly owner. On her journey she was shown asking other weather elements, Mr Cloud, Mr Breezy and
Mr Zero to assist her.
Ofcom received a complaint that the character of Mr Cloud was depicted as an offensive and outdated racial stereotype of a black person. Mr Cloud was depicted in the cartoon as a black person from the deep south of America with exaggerated
facial features. In addition, he was portrayed as indolent with slow, slurred speech.
Rule 1.3: Children must206be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them206.
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context206Such material may include, but is not limited to, ...humiliation, distress, violation of human
dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race....
The Licensee accepted that the cartoon contained a racial stereotype that was likely to cause offence and apologised for any offence caused.
Ofcom considered whether the characterisation of Mr Cloud in this cartoon was unsuitable for children. In Ofcom's view the exaggerated facial features and indolent nature of the character reinforced an outdated, pejorative and harmful racial
stereotype of a black person which was not suitable for children to view.
Rule 2.3 states that in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that potentially offensive material is justified by the context. Context includes, but is not limited to, editorial content of the programme, warnings given
to listeners, the time of the broadcast and the likely expectation of the audience.
We first considered whether this content was potentially offensive. Given this cartoon included a negative stereotype of a black person, which reinforced racial prejudice, Ofcom was of the view that this material was also highly offensive.
We next considered whether there was sufficient context to justify any potential offence. We acknowledged this cartoon dated from 1944 when there were very different attitudes towards portrayals of race and when race discrimination was
prevalent. We also accepted that with the appropriate level of context such archive material may still be broadcast. However, in our view UK audiences today would find such racial stereotyping highly unacceptable and out of step with generally
accepted standards as it was broadcast in this case. Therefore, the broadcast of this offensive content without a warning or any other context was also a breach of Rule 2.3.
Instagram has apologised for censoring a photo of two men kissing for violating community
The photo - featuring Jordan Bowen and Luca Lucifer - was taken down from photographer Stella Asia Consonni's Instagram.
A spokesperson for the image sharing site regurgitated the usual apology for shoddy censorship saying
This post was removed in error and we are sorry. It has since been reinstated.
The photo was published in i-D magazine as part of a series of photos by Stella exploring modern relationships, which she plans to exhibit later this year. It only reappeared after prominent people in fashion and LGBT+ rights raised awareness
about the removal of the photo.
New theatre audience advisories in Canada are warning about specific plot points that could trigger
emotional trauma for those of a snowflake disposition.
This spring, Western Canada Theatre attached a warning to Children of God, a musical about residential schools, that indicates the production's mature and potentially triggering scenes involving residential schools and sexual abuse.
A subsequent production, Armstrong's War , a play about an Afghan War vet, came with the following advisory:
This hard-hitting yet inspiring drama about bravery and survival contains some potentially triggering content about the horrors of war and mental illness.
And unsurprisingly the trigger warnings have sparked a bit of a debate.
James MacDonald, artistic director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C., is in favour of using trigger warnings where the material justifies it.
I think if we inform the audience beforehand, and they're not blindsided by it, then they don't have a negative reaction to it.
MacDonald said he saw a need for trigger warnings after his company staged a play that featured a scene of a daughter being sexually abused by her father. He said:
Even though we had put a content warning on the play to say that there was adult content and scenes which may disturb people, that particular scene evoked many reactions and responses from the audience, and they felt like they were blindsided
For other theatre professionals, trigger warnings are the very antithesis of what theatre is designed to do: provoke reactions.
Montreal's Imago Theatre specializes in English-language plays written from women's perspectives and often features plays about challenging subject matter, like rape and violence against women. But there isn't a trigger warning anywhere in
sight. Imago's artistic director Micheline Chevrier explains:
I think we have to be careful with trigger warnings. I'm not a fan of wanting to tell somebody exactly everything they're about to experience.
She worries trigger warnings are the first step toward avoidance of difficult material altogether, a slide into self-censorship by playwrights and directors afraid of offending patrons.