Best Of The Web
“It is 1992. A young actor named Will Smith, already a famous rapper and sitcom star, is nervous about his first big film role, as a gay con artist in Six Degrees of Separation. It’s a part that requires him to kiss a man, so he calls his friend Denzel Washington, who tells him: “If you don’t feel comfortable about it, don’t do it.” (That’s Washington’s recollection. Less charitable reports have him telling Smith squarely: “Don’t you be kissing no man.”) In the finished film, there is no kiss – at least not in full view of the camera – and Smith later says he regrets not giving his all for fear that it would harm his career.
How times change. Now a successful heterosexual actor can swear off gay roles for an entirely different and apparently noble reason. Last weekend, Darren Criss took home a Golden Globe for his performance as the gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace. When he bagged an Emmy for the same part last year, he announced it would be his last gay role. Far from being homophobic, this was his attempt to open up opportunities for colleagues. Having played several LGBT characters, he was keen “to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role”.
His decision comes at a time when there is a groundswell of opinion proposing that such parts should be given only to actors who identify as LGBT. Some voices in the debate, understandably agitated by the news that Jack Whitehall has been cast as a camp gay man in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, have even used the term “gayface” to describe straight actors going gay for pay, echoing the “blackface” of Laurence Olivier in Othello or Alec Guinness in A Passage to India.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Have world leaders really got the will to bring peace to Yemen? We hear much about Yemen’s crisis, but far less about the hypocrisy of states fuelling the very conflict they condemn."
"No poll so far in our database has tested Trump against the relatively unknown Weld... Indeed, Weld seems like one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign. "
"An initiative by the mayor of Tiberias for the municipality to help provide public transportation on the Sabbath has caused the issue of the social status quo to the forefront of public discussion."
"Like “30 Rock,” “Kimmy Schmidt” obviously slanted leftward, but most always exhibited a similar eagerness to skewer politics more generally than just the GOP."
"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."
"... platforms now have a stranglehold over publishers who, individually and even as a group, have little-to-no bargaining power when it comes to algorithmic changes, ad rates, and much else."
"[There's] a subgenre known as National Socialist black metal, which espouses neo-Nazi views and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as aiming to recruit youth to white-supremacist causes."
"“The Ideas That Made America” by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is an anomaly in the genre. Its brevity is a point of pride, yet it aspires to do a little of everything."
"My wish is to die in my own bed, cared for by people I love—clean, comfortable and relatively free from pain. I hope to have time to say my goodbyes and give my final blessings."
"A diet for fast weight loss is a pipe dream. Many of us want to lose weight without making permanent changes, because we view thinness instead of health as a success."
"Opportunity casts a long shadow over all subsequent Mars rovers, setting a gold standard of JPL engineering. Customized versions of its mobility software are used on the rovers Curiosity and upcoming Mars 2020."
"Biblical scholarship has deepened our understanding of the Torah and at the same time challenges us to consider the implications of our declaring the Torah to be emet. What is emet and what does it mean to say that the Torah is emet?"