Thursday, March 9, 2017

Watching Roots...and More Accent Stuff

I've been watching the remake of Roots this week.  I go on IMDb a lot to see which actor is from where and what other projects they've been in.  I love IMDb.  

Anyway, yesterday I finally decided to look beyond the actors. I looked at the directors and saw two out of the four episodes are directed by Australians—Phillip Noyce and Bruce Beresford.  

I haven't watched the the Beresford episode yet, but I did watch the Noyce one.  I thought it was very good. 

I just checked the third episode to make sure I didn't miss an Aussie.  I saw that the director for that is Thomas Carter.  Thomas Carter also made a movie about Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who seems to have a lack of understanding about the African slave trade.

It was the day I started watching Roots that Carson made his bizarre comment.  I think I had very recently finished watching the horrific ship scene when I read what he said. 

Carson said, ...a land of dreams and opportunities. There were other immigrants who came here on the bottom of slave ships. Worked even longer, even harder, for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity.

Trump supporters have put much energy into pointing out the hypocrisy of the left. Videos have emerged with Obama also referring to kidnapped Africans as immigrants.  

Like Carson, Obama probably used an inappropriate word. But from the footage, I've seen, the context and usage is different.  

Obama said,  It wasn't always easy for new immigrants. It certainly wasn't easy for those of African heritage who did not come here voluntarily. And yet in their own way were immigrants themselves.

At least Obama mentions the bit about not coming voluntarily.  Though that too is sugarcoating things. 

In Australia, VOTING is not a voluntary action.  Kidnapping people from their land and families; then chaining them painfully to the bottom of the ship is another thing all together.  

Maybe Carson would have scored better if he mentioned the chains at the bottom of the ship.  With the way he says it, it simply sounds like the slaves weren't prosperous enough to buy first class tickets.  

The other thing bothersome is Carson beginning his talk about kidnapped Africans with the whole dreams and opportunities thing.  WHITE people kidnapped and abused black people in order to help make their white dreams come true.  I don't think being a slave was in the hopes and dreams of Africans.  

The other thing I'll say for Obama is I think it helps that he says, and yet in their own way...  This shows that he recognizes that the African-American story is very different from other American stories.  


Today I saw other news that was timely for my Roots viewing.

Samuel L. Jackson has complained about British black actors being used to portray African-American characters.  

Donald Trump is so busy complaining about our clothes and toys being made in China, he seems to have failed to notice that a lot of the people we see on our screens were made in the UK, Australia, and Canada.  

In Roots, two of the main black characters are played by men from England.  

A few of the slave owners are from Ireland/England.  

But still...they casted a fair amount of white and black Americans as well.  

I don't share Jackson's grievances, but I'm not an actor hoping for more work.  Maybe it would be different if I was.  I'm not sure how many American actors feel cheated out of jobs because foreigners are taking them.

The only time I'm personally a bit bothered is...

A) As I mentioned in my last post, I become attached to the fake accent and have trouble accepting the real one.  

B) When there are way too many people in one project faking an accent.  The one project that sticks in my mind, in that regard, is that creepy show Camp.  It was filmed in Australia with all Australian actors pretending to be American.   And even in interviews, the actors pretended to be American. There was something not right about that.  

I also wish, that when appropriate, more actors were allowed to keep their Australian or British accent.

I give Kudos to the new show Speechless for letting Minnie Driver play a British-American.  

I like that in House, Jesse Spencer plays an Australian doctor.

I know there are probably other examples, but, in my opinion, not enough.  

Oh! I just remembered another one.  In This is Us, Janet Montgomery, a British actress, plays a British actress.  And what's even more unusual, American actor Denis O'Hare plays a character with a British accent.   Or at least I think he does.  I'm not sure if I'm remembering things correctly.  It's been many weeks since we've watched the show.

Anyway...back to Roots.

It's great.  I highly recommend it...especially to people who confuse voluntary immigration with violent kidnappings.