Here in the watch-dog offices of The Curmudgeon, we love to expose misleading and downright criminal advertising. For example, when a soup ad shows a vegetable soup in a bowl that appears to be packed to nearly overflowing, which then turns out to be because they put marbles in the bowl first so the vegetables would be pushed to the top. Makes a pretty, appetizing picture, but unfortunately, a crock. And it’s not a crock of soup. But the “it” it is a crock of also begins with the letter “S.”
So my curiosity was peaked when I learned that Universal Pictures had airbrushed out the two black actors who appeared in the movie out of the posters which were used in Europe, whereas the American posters clearly have the black actors in them (albeit way in the back). At first, I was surprised at Europe and wondered why they would find this necessary. But it was Universal Studios who made the decision.
The movie is Couples Retreat, which doesn’t look all that good to me anyway, and the black actors are Faizon Love and Kali Hawk. They have remained mum on the subject as far as I can tell, but they’re actors. They have to work in that tinsel town. They ain’t rocking any boats, not if they know what’s good for their careers, and who wants to hear them bitch anyway? Not me.
It’s odd and unfortunate but what is to be done about it? Nothing, and here’s why: Universal owns this property and it is their right to market it any way they want. For some reason, they have decided that the movie will do better in Europe without the African American actors on it. Movie studios spend millions and millions figuring out this marketing stuff and you can bet they know what they are doing. The studio claims that the revised advertisement aimed “to simplify the poster to actors who are most recognizable in international markets.” (Huffington Post, Nov. 16, 2009) Mmm…otay. I can just hear them: “Hey, those marbles are showing, get them out of the bowl.
So, it says more about the attitude of Europe toward blacks than it does about Universal’s view of them, unless the story about the “recognizable” actors is true, and perhaps it is, except I don’t recognize all of the actors in the poster. Do you?
Maybe the reason is much more complicated, and not as simple as merely saying it’s racist. I just don’t know and I don’t have time to devote hours to developing an understanding of the onion-like layers of race issues among people of the world. People go to war over crap like this.
And maybe that’s the problem.
We don’t have time to reason, but plenty of time for killing.