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OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.

By David Vance On January 23rd, 2020

It all started when I noticed the advertising for the latest movie “The Personal History of David Copperfield” about Charles Dickens much-beloved literary creation. I was somewhat surprised that this famous fictional character was to be played by a BAME actor, Dev Patel, and I contrasted the traditional image with the current image, to the ire of some. (See below) Now I am sure Dev Patel is an excellent actor and worthy of major roles but I can’t find any evidence that the fictional creation of Charles Dickens had this sort of ethnicity. Imposing a different ethnicity on a Dickensian character seems a little odd to me.

So what, some people say to me, he’s an imaginary creation anyway, so let’s reimagine him any way we want!

OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.

Which got me thinking! There is a strange logic to saying that just because a writer invents a character that it cannot be possible to change how they are. Hence we have a female Dr Who – with attendant plunging ratings. I suppose it is even logical to say that James Bond could be played by a BAME actor, and that we could even go the whole nine yards and make it Jane Bond! Fictional characters are always just that. Agreed?

Take the “fictional character” Friar Tuck from the English legends of the outlaw Robin Hood. Here we see the “traditional” portrayal of him and then a more recent BBC portrayal.

OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.

Just recently, the BBC was pushing a new version of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Here is its imaging of an 18th century Transylvanian nun. Perhaps not one we expected but I am sure the creative quotient is very high.

OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.

I suppose all is fair in love and art and I look forward to the stunning and brave new Black Panther movie with an all white cast. (I favour actor Laurence Fox as King T’Challa, btw)

However real life is different to fiction. It is simply not valid to warp known historical realities. Yet this is terribly in vogue amongst the arty woke community.

Let me offer you just a few examples, but I do have more.

Consider Margaret of Anjou, an English Queen who was born in 1430. The image on the left shows how history records her. And then, on the right, this is now the BBC presents her.

OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.

Consider Lord Randolph, a senior English ambassador during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st. Take a look at the historical Randolph, then take a look at 2018 movie version.

OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.

By the way, the director of this movie ( a woke white woman called Josie Rourke, is on record stating “I was really clear, I would not direct an all-white period drama”. No one seems to have told her that the reality of period dramas in the UK is that they were pretty much “all white” people doing different things.

It looks like any historical character can now be recast to accommodate a modern desire to provide more employment and raised profile for BAME actors. Whilst the idea of adding greater ethnicity is fine, it cannot be at the expense of reality. Where will it end? A Jamaican Winston Churchill, a Somalian Oliver Cromwell? Boudica played by an Arab?

It’s time we spoke up against this strange cultural appropriation emanating from the woke left. They are disfiguring history as part of their rewriting of it.

93 Responses to “OLIVER CROMWELL, THE SOMALIAN POLITICIAN.”

  1. I can’t wait until Benedict Cumberbatch is cast to play the part of Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King.

    I’m sure the BBC would be the first out of the traps.

  2. However real life is different to fiction. It is simply not valid to warp known historical realities. Yet this is terribly in vogue amongst the arty woke community

    Indeed:

    https://www.artsheaven.com/painting/artists/v/leonardo-da-vinci/the-last-supper/

  3. Fair point David. About two years ago I was at a West End play about Queen Anne in which King William III (aka King Billy) was played by a black actor. Maybe it’s my Aspergers and my age, but I left at the interval.

    As you say, no doubt the idea of colour-blind casting has the best intentions and may be fine in theory, but it imposes an extra burden of suspension of disbelief on the audience, and not all of us are up for it. And that doesn’t make us racists.

  4. The last thing that any of these people are is color blind.

    They think of color first last and always, all of them.

  5. Phantom – a comment that might very well be lodged against some here. A large number of White actors have portrayed minorities, often to acclaim. As for Cromwell, he was played by Richard Harris, an Irishman. Are we to limit the cast of Hamlet to Danes? Romeo and Julie to Italians?

  6. white does not need to be capitalized. That’s a PC thing, capitalizing skin color groups

    ( true )

    Richard Harris could be similar enough in appearance to Cromwell, Leslie Jones, I don’t think so.

    I’ll believe in their color blindness when I see the white Mandela action flick.

  7. white does not need to be capitalized. That’s a PC thing, capitalizing skin color groups

    ( true )

    Richard Harris could be similar enough in appearance to Cromwell, Leslie Jones, I don’t think so.

    I’ll believe in their color blindness when I see the white Mandela action flick.

  8. Morgan Freeman has played the part of God several times.

    My favourite actor.

  9. I want Dr. Ruth to play Hitler.

    Because nothing means anything now.

  10. What a load of whining about nothing. Actors who do not match all the demographics of the character they are playing have a long history.

    For example, when de Vere’s plays were first performed the female roles were played by male actors.

  11. Nice one Few. On several grounds.

  12. You raise interesting questions in this post. I agree with you on historical characters, but David Copperfield is a totally literary character and not an historical character.

  13. Dr. Ruth playing Hitler is as silly as Mikey Rooney playing a Chinese man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But a real actor could very well play Hitler despite being Jewish.

  14. The practice of casting white actors in non-white roles is still prevalent in Hollywood – despite widespread condemnation and protest. Why does it continue? Tom Brook reports.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/story/20151006-when-white-actors-play-other-races

  15. Has Franklin Roosevelt ever been played by an actor with polio. I believe Kenneth Branagh, Bill Murray and Ed Hermann all could walk.

  16. The best Peter Pan ever was Mary Martin.

  17. I particularly liked the movie “Black Panther” with the Kingdom of Wakanda, it’s a fantasy movie with all black actors who are far more technologically advanced than white peoples.

    It was supposed to be set in North East Africa.

  18. Correct me if I am wrong (it has been some time since I read the book) but I don’t believe that Dickens ever mentions what race Copperfield is.

    The James Bond debate highlights nothing more than racism. James Bond is a white Englishman. He has been portrayed by six different people, 3 of whom were not white Englishmen. It caused no fuss or disagreement. So the idea that a 4th person who was not a white Englishmen couldn’t possible portray him highlights that this is all about race and not about being a stickler for canon.

  19. What a load of whining about nothing.

    On the contrary, it’s about truth. These are not casting decisions. They are political decisions, radical political decisions intended to falsely blackwash our history.

    “Britain has always been a nation of immigrants” is a lie that the left has long told. Now it is increasingly portraying this historical, wicked lie through film and TV.

    We were made great by our forebears. Not immigrants, not Africans, not Asians. British men, visibly British men made our country great and in turn civilised an undeserving world.

    That is the truth and we will not be dispossessed of it.

  20. Very good show Mr. Clinton.

    I’m sure that the Copperfield was Han Chinese.

  21. The James Bond debate highlights nothing more than racism. James Bond is a white Englishman. He has been portrayed by six different people, 3 of whom were not white Englishmen. It caused no fuss or disagreement. So the idea that a 4th person who was not a white Englishmen couldn’t possible portray him highlights that this is all about race and not about being a stickler for canon.

    Idris Elba would make a great James Bond.

  22. I don’t believe that Dickens ever mentions what race Copperfield is.

    I think if Copperfield had been black Dickens might just have mentioned it in passing, no?

  23. “I’m sure that the Copperfield was Han Chinese.”

    I’m sure he was a white English guy, not least because David Copperfield was almost certainly based on Charles Dickens himself. However, considering it doesn’t actually say that he was a guy in the book itself it seems to be something really, really petty to get annoyed about.

  24. “I think if Copperfield had been black Dickens might just have mentioned it in passing, no?”

    Almost certainly. But the fact that he doesn’t mention race at all means there is no direct canon set race of David Copperfield.

  25. “Idris Elba would make a great James Bond.”

    It would be good, like a film version of Luther.

  26. Harri –

    Have you at some commie retreat where the only reading material is The Guardian?

  27. I have gone to the dark side Pete (no pun intended)

    No seriously, see my post about Wakanda.

    But Idris Elba is a very good actor, and he would be far better than Lenny Henry.

  28. I want Joe Pesci to play Bond, and I want him to talk like the Goodfellas character all through the movie

    I will watch it ten times over.

    And I want Shaquille O Neal to play in the next remake of ” Little Women ”

    Because nothing matters anymore.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75ifn39Y8V0

  29. The Dickens character of Fagin has been played by Alec Guinness, a non-Jew. Objections?

  30. Well said Fews, I was about to make the same point.

    On the contrary, it’s about truth. These are not casting decisions. They are political decisions, radical political decisions intended to falsely blackwash our history

    Oh come on Pete, you speak like this is some kind of recent phenomenon. Artists have been depicting the Middle Eastern Jewish Christ as a pale skinned, fair haired, light eyed image for centuries. Likewise with the ‘gender fluidity’ of some of the greatest English language theatrical works.

    If this is some kind of insidious culture war it started long before any of our great grandparents were born.

  31. Phantom – do you object to Patel as David Copperfield?

  32. There were always plenty of fair skinned people in the Middle East. Those artistic depictions could have been spot on.

    There are plenty of light skinned folks there now, all through that region.

    Look around.

  33. There were always plenty of fair skinned people in the Middle East

    Yeah, Christ portrayed as very European looking. He must have obviously been Israeli.

  34. There are plenty of people who look like that in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi, all through that region.

    Not a majority but people with that appearance are not uncommon.

  35. We know Jesus was Jewish. He worked in his father’s business. He didn’t leave home until he was nearly 40, and his mother thought he was God.

  36. Yes, two thousand years ago people in that part of the world were very physically similar to Europeans and the European medieval aertists knew this.

    Catch a grip.

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a234/1282186/

  37. Phantom – maybe you missed it, do you object to Patel as Copperfield?

  38. Not particularly.

    Do you object to Shaquille O’Neal playing the lead in the next remake ” Little Women “?

    if so, why?

  39. “if so, why?”

    A number of reasons. Shaquille O’Neal is a terrible actor. Additionally Little Women is about the lives of four women, with the fact that they are women being central to the plot. David Copperfield’s race, as an example, is not essential to the plot.

  40. I wouldn’t object because he is black, not little, and a man. I’d object because he isn’t a good enough actor. I don’t see how such a casting would have any potential artistic merit.
    I think Cate Blanchett however was able to pull off Bob Dylan because she is a great actress.

  41. You are not sufficiently woke.

    Shaquille is a great actor, I still see him on TV all the time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEb3UG-EuII

  42. I suppose woke, like nothing burger and but hurt is the phrase of the month for the right.

  43. If the BBC wish to see more Blacks on TV, they could always air “Crime watch U.K.” seven days a week instead of just the once?

  44. Bill Maher and Barack Obama have mocked and called out wokeness.

    So they’re ” right ” now.

  45. Dammit David, I that myself a bottle of whiskey that Pete Moore was going to be the first to mention this.
    Never mind. Thanks to Pete my whiskey cupboard is pretty well stocked at the moment.

  46. I think that ‘virtue signaller’ should be brought back out of storage Mahons.

  47. More likely just lazy.

  48. Good one Paul.

  49. There is a case for saying any actor should be able to portray any role, after all that is the whole point of acting. You are not playing your own physical self but using your professional skills to capture a personality and a performance of a character . It may sound daft but in pure terms there should be nothing wrong with a black woman playing Churchill and capturing his spirit and character or a white young man playing Winnie Mandela as ,one as they can put across the experiences of those figures without needing to physically match those individuals .

  50. Do let me know when we see a white Mandela in a film.

  51. Is there anything wrong with a black or white person depicting Michael Jackson?

  52. We will wake you up to let you know. Since the point of a Mandela film would almost certainly involve his race it would be unlikely. But white actors have routinely played historical minority figures.

  53. Yes, and there has been a lot of squawking about that.

  54. If the BBC wish to see more Blacks on TV, they could always air “Crime watch U.K.” seven days a week instead of just the once?

    That’s harsh Harri.

  55. Do you think that the objection of some here to black actors playing traditionally white character roles is purely based on concerns over historical or artistic accuracy?

  56. Not entirely. A lot of it is about just not really wanting to see too many backs about the place !

  57. … too many blacks about the place.

  58. Mahons, on January 23rd, 2020 at 8:46 PM Said:

    We will wake you up to let you know. Since the point of a Mandela film would almost certainly involve his race it would be unlikely. But white actors have routinely played historical minority figures.

    OK – example please

    Not to worry about whites being race-replaced on-screen: it’s only fictional characters that are being replaced

    It may sound daft but in pure terms there should be nothing wrong with a black woman playing Churchill…..

    Can it get more idiotic?

    Yes, two thousand years ago people in that part of the world were very physically similar to Europeans

    Indeed, and residuals are still evident:

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/imageserver/image/methode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2Ff2d6cf14-eb80-11e9-b931-c019e957f02a.jpg?crop=2150%2C1209%2C42%2C32&resize=1200

  59. Allan

    You just don’t get the point I was making.

  60. Colm – our main sense is vision, and what we see is of enormous importance to our perception of what we term ‘reality’. A black woman playing Churchill is utterly nonsensical which is why even Hollywood hasn’t yet tried that one out. What could be wrong with a white guy who looks and sounds like Churchill playing Churchill?

  61. Allan

    Why the specific annoyance at my suggestion of a black person playing Churchill but not the other example I have of a white person playing Winnie Mandela ?

  62. Ultimately it largely depends how central race is to the story. If it is the story of a black person, held back for being black etc… then having that black person played by a black person is important. Because race is important to the story. And simililary if a person being white is important to the story then that person should be played by a white person. Beyond that it is in’t important.

    So I think a black Winston Churchill would be acceptable while a white Nelson Mandela would not be. Because Churchill being white is irrelevant to his story, while Mandela being black is central to his.

    Many historical films take lincense with their subject matter. Braveheart is closer to science fiction than it is to historical fiction, for example. So if it is acceptable to change unimportant (and sometimes important) details to make a movie then why is it not acceptable to change race (or any other charactheristic)? Arguably the most successful modern stage show is Hamilton, which specifically uses non-white actors to play white characters.

  63. What’s your favorite Kool Aid flavor?

  64. My point is that acting can also be about projecting an entirely different person. A very good white actor could portray the struggle of a black personality like Mandela or MLK by force of acting and projecting emotion. I see nothing wrong with that. We don’t see actors in radio plays. We can look beyond the visual and judge the performance,

  65. “What’s your favorite Kool Aid flavor?”

    Pretty sure no one outside of America actually drinks Kool-Aid.

    Is there any part of what I said that you disagree with? And if so what do you disagree with?

    “We can look beyond the visual and judge the performance,”

    Sure. I imagine it would depend on a) how it was done and b) how good the performance was.

  66. I want Saoirse Ronan and Jennifer Aniston to play Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in a boxing flick about the great rivalry.

    The Thrilla in Manila scene will be magnificent, all will believe it, except for the close minded bigots of course.

    Boffo box office, a new gender bending milestone for the acting profession.

  67. I guess I am just making an absolutist argument about the whole purpose of having an acting professional. Yes I can see of course how absurd it would appear to see a black female playing Churchill , but theoretically why should it be absurd. It’s not making the claim that Churchill was a black female. It’s seeing if the actor can capture the essence of the man’s personality force of character and achievements. Straight actors play gay characters, British actors have played American characters on US tv so why shouldn’t white or black actors play different race characters ?

  68. Phantom

    You are a Luddite 😉

  69. I am taking your side, with the utmost sincerity!

  70. Your sincerity oozes across my screen…

  71. I want to see newly unemployed Meghan Markle taking up her old acting job. If she focuses her mind to it, she could become Trump in the great Hollywood movie of his life. A new cause she could espouse now free from the shackles of Royal England. Make Acting Great Again 😉

  72. but not the other example I have of a white person playing Winnie Mandela ?

    Colm – that is equally as absurd. Does it have to be stated?

  73. We don’t see actors in radio plays. We can look beyond the visual and judge the performance,

    We do ‘see’ the actors. When Churchill or Hitler or Roosevelt or James Bond is/are played on radio, one sees the image of a white man because these are white men embedded in our minds, just as Nelson Mandela or the Black Panther is a black man. When our minds are sufficiently disconnected from a basis of formative reality, then we are putty, to be formed by whatever forces are doing the forming – and this is exactly the intent

  74. But why is it absurd. You could actually argue that all acting is absurd when portraying real people. Even an old white lookalike actor is only pretending to be Churchill, so why can’t any actor do it ?

  75. Colm

    You have to strive to believe that this is that person. A white Mandela or a black Churchill are really bad ideas.

    And only one actor can play Trump

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8lT1o0sDwI

  76. So why is it not absurd for a white Scotsman or a white Irishman to play James Bond but it is absurd for a black Englishman to do so?

    The comparison to Nelson Mandela is ludicrous. Mandela was a black man camapigning for equal rights for black people. His race is essential to the story. Churchill being white is a detail, but one that is not essential to the story of Churchill. The same with FDR, and James Bond. Hitler’s race is more essential to the story (due to his racial views). So a black guy playing Hitler would be a tad silly.

  77. The most successful portrayal of Trump is Alec Baldwin. Who is of Irish, French, and English ancestry. While Trump is of German and Scottish ancestory. Absurd that he can play him. This is clearly ‘woke’ culture at it again.

  78. English, Scots, Irish, basically the same deal with different accents

    Let everyone pretend to be offended now

  79. I wouldn’t be a white Mandela or a Black Churchill. The character would still be a black Mandela and a white Churchill, just played by people whose skin colour is different. A chance for the audience to suspend the limitations of the visionary surface and ‘see’ deeper into the performance….

    Oh I’m getting very arty farty pseudo claptrap talking aren’t I 😉

  80. “English, Scots, Irish, basically the same deal with different accents”

    Black, white, asian, basically the same deal with different skin tones.

  81. We all have red blood….. well apart from the blue blood Royals of course !

  82. We’ve had a Scottish guy playing a German Nazis for years here…

  83. My blood is blue, but I’m no royal

  84. That’s harsh Harri.

    Harsh, but fair.

    To be balanced, I should have said, BAME’s.

  85. Harri

    It doesn’t suit you to be balanced. It’s an alien concept to you 😉

  86. Hence we have a female Dr Who – with attendant plunging ratings.

    Dr.Who is fiction. Period drama, and historical events are not. If something is of the former, who cares. If the latter, then I think this bastardisation is something that has to be confronted.

  87. All historic events are bastardised when re-enacted for modern dramatic entertainment purposes. They cannot be replicated precisely. Dramas based on real events are still effectively fiction.

  88. TV dramas have long since abandoned any attempt at accuracy in depicting historic events.
    The language is modern or at most phoney historical, the characters we are supposed to admire are good looking, whereas most people then and now are not good looking, the women, even the peasants, wear make-up etc. and look fresh, even when working hard in the fields.

    Historical films once used to be pretty realistic. Anyone ever see the original Romeo & Juliet film from the early 70s?
    I remember as a kid seeing a film about Alfred the Great, where the king was strong and brave, but also coarse and brutal, and the characters, even the leading ladies, were unattractive in looks.

    So I welcome a black Margaret of Anjou and a black Friar Tuck only because they remind us how fake to the point of farcical modern drama is and how little people today know, or care, about history.

    Of course the whole Robin Hood and Friar Tuck story is historically dubious. The characters and story emerged gradually over centuries and were changed on the way. I read that the earliest mention of the fair Maid Marian had her as a very naughty whore (a “trul”) who wasn’t averse to a good bonk with Fr. Tuck.

    “She is a trul of trust,
    To serve a friar at his lust
    A pricker, a prauncer, a tearer of sheets,
    A wagger of ballocks when other men sleeps.”

    Nice.

  89. I think there is certainly anot argument for historical films to strive for the appearance of accuracy, even if there is a bit of artistic license. So a Gary Oldman makes more sense than a Danny Glover as Winston Churchill. But in a fictional film it is certainly less compelling which is why Com doesn’t object to the girls not actually being from Sweden in those films he watches.

  90. Certainly an argument

  91. Sweden hasn’t made decent porn since the seventies 😉

  92. //We’ve had a Scottish guy playing a German Nazis for years here…//

    Line of the day, at least.

    // argument for historical films to strive for the appearance of accuracy, //

    That’s probably the crux of the issue – whether people believe a person with similar appearance should, all other things being equal, be used before someone with obviously different looks.
    That would sort out the various types of racists: those who hate black faces as well as those who prefer to black to white on screen as part of some idiotic cultural war.

    A black Churchill would be a farce. Churchill was the leader of the British people at a time when they were almost 100 pc white, he was also – or positioned himself as – of the people, and often made broad historical allusians to the British nation. He also had a very particular accent and way of speaking.
    A black face doing all that would be between incredible and laughable. The suspension of disbelief would be constantly interrupted through the film.

    Same more or less with a black David Copperfield. Yes, Dickens didn’t specifically mention that his character was white (but WTF?), but if he were, he would have had an even more trouble in Victorian England than he actually had and people would have reacted to him differently, as would his many romantic relationships.

    A black DC would raise all kinds of issues in the plot to everyone except a complete dunderhead.

    Cate Blanchett was brilliant as Dylan in 1966 because Dylan at the time – and this was obviously intended – was going through, or playing with, sexual chaos in that particular phase; with sexual decadence, bisexuality, transvestites, etc appearing all through the aptly named “Blonde on Blonde”.

  93. Wait for ‘Romeo and Mercutio’…

    played by two female Nigerian octogenarian amputees.