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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: History Is Uncomfortable

So, here is a thing you have to deal with every once in a while: people can be really, startlingly ahead of the curve on some things, and right on the curve in other ways. Oh, but also, sometimes the curve is HORRIBLE. Case in point: Sophie Tucker. Who, courtesy of the NYT, I now kind of love. Oh, and also? She started as a blackface performer. Which, while not unusual for her time, is also pretty horrible considering how ahead of her time she was in pretty much all other ways. And, over at Broadsheet (yay, a million times yay, for Broadsheet) I did a bit of thinking.


  1. Samantha b. wrote:

    I’ve been listening to an album called “Archive of American Popular Music 1895-1927,” ( which, btw, contains 100 songs for $8.99 if you get it on Amazon- kind of a steal) and she’s on there. Quite honestly, her voice kind of blows. She’s no Bessie Smith, that’s fer sure. I think probably it was sheer charisma that made her so successful.

    Ironically, per Wikipedia, it was William Morris that urged her to quit blackface, after she went on one night and was more popular w.o. it.

    Monday, August 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
  2. Roxie wrote:

    Huh. I was actually thinking about how history is uncomfortable today. Only I was watching this new program on the history channel about Greek mythology.

    And holy crow there is so much rape committed to SO MANY women in these stories. By Gods, by humans, being “married” completely against their will.

    A sea god raped Medusa in Athena’s temple and as a punishment Athena turned Medusa into the monster we all know her to be.

    Monday, August 31, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Julia duMais wrote:

    Oh, that was a really interesting read. And now I want to do a whole paper about gender expectations and race and explore what you said in that last paragraph a little more, except I hate putting on my academic hat and you probably did it better than I could anyway. And I also like to hear about more interesting historical ladies (where is my movie about Rose Valland, I ask you, where?). Thank you for writing that!

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink