A system riddled with rot

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

Back in my ignorant youth before I knew anything about the poison of the political party system (perhaps not so poisonous then?), I was one of seven young ladies who decided to go a to masquerade dance as Snow White and that Seven Dwarves.

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Would we today be accused of discrimination against Little People?  Quite possibly, but of course that accusers would have to go through that Walt Disney corporation.

Years later one of the musical events in which I took part was the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado.  We were all in Japanese costumes and were made up to look Oriental.  Should we have been attacked for poking fun at Japanese people?  That would have included the hundreds of people involved in The Mikado since the late 1800s.

There might never have been a Japanese soprano singing that role of Madame Butterfly in Puccini’s opera of that name.  Over and over it has been a Caucasian woman make up to look Oriental.

Mind you, in that opera there is a racist (and opportunist) Pinkertn, an officer in the United States navy.

How about Verdi’s o[pera Othello? Othello is a nobleman in the service of once-powerful Venice and is married to the beautiful Desdemona.  What with one thing or another a fellow named Iago, who is supposed to be Othello’s trusted ensign, manages to poison Othello’s mind against Desdemona.

In a jealous fury he smothers her with a pillow.

Did I mention Othello was a Moor?  Unless the late great Paul Robeson played that role it has always been sung by a white guy, wearing dark makeup.

When Time magazine in the United States published photos of the prime minister of Canada from an event years ago where he was in costume to portray a storybook person and wearing dark makeup, Canada’s national broadcaster did not live up to its reputation for good investigative journalism.

There were questions which should automatically have been asked.

Why did a magazine in a country infamous for ill-treating dark skinned people think they could be holier than thou all of a sudden?

Who sold the picture to the Times?

How come it appeared just at that start of an election campaign?

Such things are usually planned, just like the release of a book before an election campaign.

The Americans really enjoyed the hullabaloo and no wonder.  We constantly comment on the buffoonery of their current president.

I think this is the silliest tempest in a teacup  I have seen for that long time.  It is many years since I was at a masquerade dance.  I went as a gypsy.  I shouldn’t have done that, people might have thought I was mocking gypsies.  Well, there was quite an array of “characters” at that dance made up to look like all kinds of people, all colours.

Should have charged the lot of us.  I have a picture of myself with costumed friends, but I don’t think Time magazine would be interested.

I would not belong to a political party.  It is at a system riddled with rot and getting worse.  It often seems to bring out the worst in people.

Am I supposed to apologize for dressing up and wearing makeup in musical events or masquerades?

Well, I won’t.  And no one will notice, because I am not particularly important, consequently I can’t be destroyed.

Besides, it has already been tried.

Christine Pike


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