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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tappy Feet

posted by on December 28 at 13:02 PM

When I wrote the following regrets item for Charles, I was kidding.

Stranger Film Editor Annie Wagner regrets that Charles Mudede, an associate editor at The Stranger, was out of town the morning that Happy Feet screened, because a movie about a tap-dancing penguin with a white body and a partially black face named Mumble, of all things, was ripe for a theory-laden review exploring the history of blackface minstrelsy as popular entertainment and the parallels between this particular penguin and Master Juba, the 19th-century inventor of tap who once danced for Mr. Mudede’s second favorite writer after Vladimir Nabokov, Charles Dickens.

Mostly. But the New York Times is taking this issue seriously, if obliquely:

Maybe a proper credit for [tap dancer Savion] Glover just slipped everybody’s minds, including Mr. Glover’s. Maybe dance, even in a film whose entire plot hinges on dance, is so far from the concerns of most people that Mr. Glover’s credit escaped everyone’s attention. But that omission seems especially worrisome when the dance being slighted is deeply rooted in the black American tradition.

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