Bitching About US
I kinda get it but I kinda don’t. On the one hand, I can and do feel sympathy for folks who suffer from spasmodic dysphonia. This last is a condition that affects the voice, causing people, well, to be brutally honest, it causes people to sound like Lupita Nyong’o sounded as “Red” in Jordan Peele’s excellent US. I actually figured that her voice had been mechanically altered for that, but nope, it was all Lupita. See, spasmodic dysphonia can result from trauma, the kind of trauma that Nyong’o’s character suffers in the movie. She did her research on the subject. She learned about spasmodic dysphonia. Her performance was in every way authentic. That doesn’t stop a handful of people who have the condition from complaining about it, though, claiming they have been “exploited.”
Geeze. You really can’t do anything these days without offending *some*body.
I’d understand the outrage if Nyong’o’s performance had been done in mockery. But it wasn’t. Yes, Jordan Peele wanted his villainess to speak in a raspy, creepy-sounding voice. That’s why people are bitching. “He’s saying we sound creepy! He’s calling us creepy!” No, Peele simply stated that he wanted his character to sound a certain way. It was Lupita Nyong’o who went out and studied spasmodic dysphonia. Rather than just doing a “creepy” voice, she wanted her character to sound like someone who really suffers from this condition sounds in real life. That’s not exploitation, it’s authenticity. It’s *real.* “Real” isn’t disrespectful, simply honest. If you are offended by Nyong’o’s performance, what you are really offended by is reality.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
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