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An ideological train crash

Mentally disabled actors are victims of modern 'blacking-up', says campaigner | Society | The Observer.

Nicola Clark, mother of an actress with Asperger's, thinks its "offensive" that healthy actors should play the parts of the mentally ill. When did Britons become so prone to take offence? Ah yes, that would be when they worked out that the left was prepared to frame laws to prevent their "offence." Laws that privilege them vis-a-vis the dwindling "communities" of the independent-minded, the contented and the brave. Mrs Clark's daughter comments;

It is not just mentally disabled actors who lose out when non-disabled people are employed to act them. Audiences think they are getting an authentic portrayal of a mentally disabled person, but they're not. It's not like putting on a different accent or learning what it was like to be raised in a different era. You can't understand what it is like to have a mental disability unless you've really lived with it. When non-disabled people try to portray us, they tend to fall back on stereotypes that have done our community so much harm in the past.

That, dear girl, is called acting. It is an art that requires, above all, empathy; the ability to put yourself, in imagination, inside another personality. Acting is not about the audience "learning what it was like to be raised in a different era" or indeed, necessarily, about learning anything. Acting is an art and, like all art, is about the human condition. You don't have to be authentically fey to play Tinkerbell or to have experienced Auschwitz to portray a victim of the Shoah. As someone suffering with an illness of which a key symptom is "limited empathy", you can be forgiven. Your mother however, by your own logic can't understand your point and is, therefore, merely on the make.

Al_pacino3 That it is now considered offensive for a white actor to "black up" is ridiculous. Acting is about portraying artistic truths about humanity. Only the simple minded, or the craftily malicious exploiting the simple minded, could confuse that with banal truths about the actor. Olivier's Othello was a triumph;  a triumph these idiots would have prevented. Having killed those opportunities for artistic expression they are now determined to ensure there is no repetition of my favourite performance in the history of cinema; Al Pacino as blind ex-serviceman Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. Not to mention Dustin Hoffman's performance in Rain Man.

As always, when you have accepted one piece of leftist pseudo-logic (perhaps out of kindly, if sickeningly condescending, concern for some group or other's hurt feelings) they stuff more down your gentle, kindly throats. Wake up people! They will not stop until your every thought is bound like Gulliver in Lilliput. Stir now, before myriad threads of insubstantial logic allow them to restrain your every action.

There is no idiocy the Guardian would not advance if only slotted into their banal template of "X-ism giving offence to the X community." It gets worse.

In another sign that Clark has launched her campaign at a turning point, Channel 4 will next week launch Cast Offs, a comedy drama about the making of a Survivor-type reality TV programme featuring physically disabled characters. Created by Jack Thorne, who has written for Shameless and Skins, Tony Roche, who has written for The Thick Of It, and Alex Bulmer, the programme features thalidomide victims, dwarfism and the face-disfiguring cherubism, a rare genetic disorder.

Well done, the British left. You have revived the freak show. I am sure the participants will feel the same gratitude their predecessors had for those kindly Victorian entrepreneurs. At least, when turning their misfortunes to profit, they didn't ghettoise them as a separate "community".


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You don't seem to get the point of a blog. Why didn't you post this as a comment? I shall do so on your behalf. I can't say I recognise your description of Russia. I haven't noticed a lot of the sucking up you describe. I see you have bought into the New Labour concept big time. Well bully for you. You are certainly big on jumping to conclusions about people on zero data if they don't immediately respond as requested to ideological buzz words. The Britain I know doesn't need your "nashi" attitudes, thanks. I am touring the world trying to understand how other cultures function. You seem to be looking for a new tribe. Good luck with that. I am sure I am ignorant of much, but I am trying to learn. Wilful ignorance is likely to persist a lot longer.


[I received the following anonymous email, obviously intended as a comment on this post. I thought you should see it , Tom]

You're totally wrong about this -
The Last Ditch: An ideological train crash

You just sound like someone protesting that there's 'No racism in Britain - and oh... if they don't like it - they should sod off!'

There is racism in Britain and there's much prejudice in Britain against many groups of people who are not white middle class and male (with super egos and bucketfuls of arrogance) but we're changing, thank God!

No wonder you chose Russia to live - where they suck up to foreigners and pretend to agree with you (and most don't even listen to what you're saying, don't understand or/and don't care.... but pretend to just because you have foreign cash. Russia, a country with awful human rights track record and many other things I'd rather forget.

I was born there but came to live in Britain in 1990 and my country is getting better.

Perhaps, more people with YOUR views will soon move out of our great country and more just and fair people move in (it seems to be happening - YES, we're taking over! The foreigners live, breed and influence this great country to be even better!)

Enjoy living your ignorant life!
Far away from home...
Britain rules!!!!!

David B. Wildgoose

As the father of a son with Asperger's Syndrome this ridiculous woman makes me really rather angry. (Breathes deeply).

To begin with, Asperger's is a communication disorder. Communication requires understanding on both sides, so the communication difficulties are also caused by the "neurotypical" side as well.

Anybody whose Asperger's is so mild they are able to work as an actor/actress is not disabled they are merely differently abled.

She does us all a disservice, including my son, when she insists people with Asperger's need special protections rather than simple understanding.

Idiotic witch.


What is with this word "Community". It is soo misused, like a sort of reflexive righton-ism. Will she be demanding only actors with actual cancer or a heart condition play parts involving these illnesses?

And vampires... where will they find people who really authentically understand the Vampire experience?


i've spelt his name wrong, its kim peek, not peake.


rainman though was based upon kim peake, who is no where near as attractive as dustin hoffman so i think there is a valid pont being made of 'authentic portrayal'. here is a wiki link to kim peake.


Ahem, I did mention Rain Man. Thank you for the kind comment.

Mara MacSeoinin

Well said, that man.
I recall Al Pacino's performance well; extraordinary. I am surprised that you didn't mention Dustin Hoffman in 'Rainman' - a sublime piece of acting that, had not Hoffman been who he is with the extraordinary talents he possesses, would have failed to make a dent on public consciousness.
Surely the true genius lies in an actor being able to put on a character like a garment. The woman mentioned above speaks of stereotyping, but what would she have us do - hide disabled people from view lest somebody portray them with less of a degree of the absolute authenticity to which she believes she is privy? Has not a greater comprehension of those suffering from mental and/or physical afflictions been created by the brave efforts of these actors, who often suffer greatly in the process of acting out their characters' illnesses (think Vivien Leigh in Streetcar)? I suspect her militant stance is fed just as much by 'reality' television as the logical positivism that Labour has injected into every area of life. They have denied us the ability to determine what is 'real', 'valid', 'just' and the like.

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