‘George Clooney Is Lonely, Can’t Sleep’
So said a newspaper headline today, being read by the man in front of me on the bus. My immediate thought was, ‘hey, me too, half the world’s lonely and can’t sleep, why is this news?’
He’s a superstar celebrity. How did that happen? Of course, he is the right fit. A weird thing. I was in Hong Kong. They have giant electronic billboards there. While I was there, the adverts featured predominantly these European looking models. I was thinking, why is this idea of beauty happening in Hong Kong, when the HK population is for the most part Chinese not European?
I spin back to my stay in Pakistan. I noticed these skin whitening creams on sale. Alright. So there is some form of pressure to emulate the dominant power, and that takes in the concept of beauty. As a hypothesis then, beauty, aesthetics is linked to power. If so, how does that work in literature? Does a best-selling book need a white hero at its core? Would Sex in the City work if it were set in Leicester and not New York? Does a black writer have to bring in white characters, or make their black characters blend in a little, deracinate them, to accommodate? Are agents and publishers sitting there with their metaphorical skin bleaching creams, waiting for black writers to show?
I wonder about the American soap, The Big Bang Theory. The Indian character - isn’t he such a comforting stereotype for a (presumably USA) white audience? Is that what black writers will be invited to write for UK TV? The bus pulls up. It’s my stop.