Enquiring Minds Want To Know: Who Can Parody Who?
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Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn)
Presumably to celebrate the arrival of the NBA in the Brooklyn, New York assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) dressed up for a Halloween-style Purim party as an NBA player, complete with Afro wig and dark makeup. "“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended," he responded to the deluge of criticism.
The New York Daily News reported in a follow-up:
"In hindsight, I should have picked something else. It never crossed my mind for a split second that I was doing something wrong. It was as innocent as something can be," said Hikind, who drew heavy condemnation for wearing an Afro-style wig and having a makeup artist darken his skin for his basketball-player getup.
"People in the community were dressed up as Arabs. What was that about?" asked Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who's known for his impassioned critiques of anything he thinks smacks of the slightest anti-Semitism, according to our Reuven Blau, who was on scene for the presser outside the longtime lawmaker's home.
Among the things Assemblyman Hikind has been strenuously offended by in the past is The Passion of the Christ, against which he led a protest outside of Fox headquarters (what Fox had to do with that self-financed movie is not immediately apparent).

The New York Times editorial board members were among those upset with Assemblyman Hikind (for the NBA costume, not for protesting the Mel Gibson movie, although that likely goes without saying).

To avoid such unpleasantness in the future, perhaps the New York Times editorial board should publish a cross-tabulated list broken down into three categories:

A. Which demographic groups are A-Okay for anybody to parody

B. Which demographic groups can never be parodied by anybody, and

C. By far the longest section: which groups can be parodied by some people but not by others. This can be very finely calibrated. For example, Assemblyman Hikind is a Democrat and Jewish (good), but an Orthodox Jew opposed to gay marriage (bad). In contrast, Saturday Night Live put Fred Armisen in blackface for years to do President Obama, with virtually no protests. Was this because Armisen is a little bit Japanese? Or was it because SNL could never think of anything funny to say about Obama?
I would find the NYT's Who-Whom list fascinating reading.
Or is the entire point that if you need such a list, you aren't the Right Sort of Person?
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