Sunday 29 March 2009

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert reviews: homophobia bad, racist misogyny invisible

Okay! The London reviews for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert — The Musical are now in and the suspense is killing me like a pair of six-inch stilettoes stabbed into my cranium. Has anyone noticed the misogyny? Does anyone care that east asians are dissed in a way that would have the blogosphere yelling "homophobia" had it been gays who were the hate figures? Are frocks and Abba the new bread and circuses? Will the producers fuck for spangles?

Beginning with one reaction to the original Oz stage production, The Age euphemises the "genitally precocious mail-order bride".

Michael Billington on the London production in The Guardian dismisses the "synthetic spectacle" and misses the point: "... it is gaudy, garish and loud and seems to be as much about costumes as content."

Nicholas de Jong gushes over "this bitter-sweet, big-hit musical, that stands up for brave sexual outsiders" in the Evening Standard. Yeah. Right on, sistah! "... Priscilla offers a joyful antidote to a world of hatred and violence." Not if you're an East Asian woman, it doesn't.

Michael Coveney in The Independent says simply, "It sort of stinks."

Benedict Nightingale waxes blah in The Times

Charles Spencer in The Telegraph writes, "It makes Mamma Mia! seem like something by Chekhov." He says this approvingly. Given my recent experience with the National Theatre's Burnt By The Sun, I reckon he may have a point.


Mr. Divine said...

use the dictionary and Wikipedia. This one has even made me read theatre reviews which I don't normally do. Yes they do miss the racism.

The Age being an Australian newspaper praises the production to the hilt. It's something that Australians usually do with their own crap especially if they're exporting it no matter how ordinary it is. I have this feeling that if they criticised it, it would like like poo pooing the Gay Mardi Gras. Lovely cossies but is there an interesting story.

The problem one has is that in many stories there is a villain or a few. Now these villains have to be someone. And everyone can be seen as representing some group or another. Even if you made the person into say a white Russian mail order bride you would still have a typecast that could be identified as racist.

I sympathise with you because as a scouser we get dissproportionatly protrayed as thieves on the tele. I think all stereo types need a good kicking, but I'm not sure what to replace the villains with.

The louder the noise the better .. break through the hard cement and spit out the battered ping pong balls.

PS I'm reading Paul Theroux's Elephanta Suite (pub 2007) at the moment... from the library. Make good discussion.

Madam Miaow said...

"I sympathise with you because as a scouser we get dissproportionatly protrayed as thieves on the tele."

And once you've warmed up your audience with such scurrilous definitions, you can get away with what the Sun did to Liverpool after Hillsborough. Except for once they took on more than they could chew. This is one reason why it's good to keep a sharp eye open and nip this dehumanising rubbish in the bud.

Characters with no social power do not make the best arch villains. If uppity mail-order brides were the worst that gays had to contend with, there'd be no problem. The film and show are cowardly because they won't look at the political dimension and explore who their oppressors are, how it came about, and how best to combat it. Scapegoating foreign women for your problems is dim-witted and dull.

I've never read Theroux. At the mo I'm reading Jonathan Spence's The Gate of Heavenly Peace, on the Chinese revolution up to 1980.

Mr. Divine said...

Well the thing about stories is that they 'have' to have an ending .. where good overcomes evil (the villains). Maybe it is very difficult for a film to portray the oppression of society, especially in a place as male orientated as outback Australia. Got any ideas?

I'll try to get hold of your book. Any Theroux is real good.

ModernityBlog said...

in answer to your technical question, the Buffalo 1 TB are good value and fast.

Seagate's overpriced.

I'd avoid LeCia and Iomega.

Madam Miaow said...

Cheers, Mod. Much appreciated. Know anything about Western Digital or Freecom? Freecom's advantage seems to be that you can get them serviced and repaired here but I can't make out whether they have as high a failure rate as some of the others. Everyone says stay away from Maxtor.

ModernityBlog said...

Hi MM,

I'd only recommend stuff that I have tried.

Iomega, there's something about them that I don't like, and LaCie kit ends up at Morgan computers too often to impress me.

If you are going to entrust a device with your precious data then you need some degree of confidence in it. So buying cheap rubbish is a false economy.

Then it depends on the size, etc if your data is less than 32 GB I'd use some quality USB sticks instead, as the less moving around with hard drives the better. USB are very handy for building a boot Linux and keeping your data secure, etc.

WD do fairly good in reviews, but are a bit pricey for the standard size, which is why I suggested buffalo, they are fast, good value and seemingly trouble free. I've got 3, about 4 Seagates of various vintages (gone off them).

Freecom I wouldn't touch, reviews are not too good and you hear various stories.

Argos do the Buffalo, 675/7852, just remember to ask for the free 2 GB drives as well, it is NOT included in the package, they have to give it to you as a separate item.

Overall, I suppose it depends really on how much data you are carrying and under what circumstances.

If it is mostly around the house, the externals should do the job.

If travelling, best use USB sticks and web based storage.

I hope that helps.

Jobs in Ireland said...

I've seen the video about 4 times, just have to get to the show.

Unknown said...

I loved the film - just watched it on Instant Watch last night; however, the misogyny was clear. A woman dressed as a man smartly, aggressively put down with specific reference to her womanhood. The Asian woman also. Seems men do WOMAN better than women can, according to the film. Unfortunate that the invitation to tolerance wasn't across the board.