Yesterday, my Yorkshire-born friend Lynn stumbled on this story in The Week from last month, which both of us had missed. She says: “I had to read it three times and I’m still not sure I get it. Whoever the morons are, they surely can’t be Yorkshire folk.
To be clear, the concept of the three wise monkeys became popular in 17th century Japan, before spreading to the West. It is associated with the Tendai school of Buddhism where monkeys are considered sacred and perceived as helpers for divine figures. They are “vehicles of delight”.
I always think people who censor monkeys for being racist should look at themselves in the mirror. Far be it from me to say “political correctness gone mad”… but I will.
That was yesterday.
Today, Lynn spotted this piece in Computer Active magazine about Facebook’s algorithm getting similarly censorious.
I told her: “Eat your heart out for any publican trying to make a living by running the Cock Inn, Scunthorpe.”
Afterwards, I Googled to see if there actually IS a Cock Inn, Scunthorpe.
Sadly there is not, but Google told me there is a Blythe Black Cock Inn. Arguably worse in Facebook terms, but un-censored by them.
I feel the good people of Plymouth Hoe have cause to be aggrieved about being picked-on by a US algorithm.
Meanwhile, in other perhaps equally dodgy news, I got an email telling me that the admirable Vaudevisuals Press, whose slogan is “Celebrating the Eccentric Performing Arts”, have published a book on Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville.
It covers the period from 1890 when Ike Rose “started living the legendary life of a top vaudeville & burlesque producer” to 1957, when Billy Barty founded his “advocacy group” the Little People of America.
Ike Rose, apparently, was “one of show biz history’s great impresarios, now forgotten but once in a league with names like Barnum and Ziegfeld as men who delivered full value for the price of a ticket.”
He seems to have rivalled Barnum is hype.
The book admits: “each component of the troupe’s name crumbles into dust by light of day.
“‘Rose’ was a pseudonym; the company held no Royal seal of approval; and the word ‘midget’ has passed out of use in polite society.”
The selling line for the book claims: ”Without pandering nor passing judgment, this book documents in detail the performers, producers, the stage routines themselves and the various venues from those straight up and upscale to others shameful and shady. This book probes both the Dark and the Dazzling sides of the American Imagination. Only rare books like this seriously confront our more bizarre past and allow the new generations of show folk to revise, to re-invent, to reform American Theater.”
Rare indeed – apparently only 50 copies of the book are being published.
Tomorrow – well, tonight at 8.00pm in New York; tomorrow 1.00am in London – there is a free online Zoom conversation between author Trav S.D. (Donald Travis Stewart) and Vaudevisuals’ own Jim R.Moore.
As I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since May last year (medical conditions) and am currently sleeping on the floor at night because my back is buggered, the possibility of my listening in on this Zoom call is iffy. But it sounds interesting.