Increasingly, social-grievance jihadis are getting themselves worked up over casting decisions in movies, TV shows, plays, and even operas, labeling anything they disapprove of as “whitewashing.”
Granted, the number of beneficiaries of disputes over which celebrities will get which roles is miniscule. But the various contradictory controversies, when considered together, are revealing for what they show about the unprincipled nature of contemporary moral crises.
In the past, acting was less concerned with issues of identity-politics authenticity, or even all that much with authenticity at all. Performing was basically conceived of as Let’s Pretend for grown-ups. Who was putting on the show was less important than how much showbiz professionalism they put into it.
The most admired actor of the mid-20th century, Lord Laurence Olivier, was famous for insisting that what he was doing was just playacting.