by James Killough
It hasn’t been a good year or so for my ideal younger man, Ashton Kutcher. This breaks my heart because I do wish him all the best, in a concerned, fatherly way. First came his split with Demi, then his stint on Two and a Half Men, a show he is being credited with killing, although I see that more as a kindly act of euthanasia; I agree with Charlie Sheen: TAAHM kinda sucks. Now he has managed to outrage some members of the Indian community by appearing in “brown face” in an ad for PopChips, and he has been roasted alive on Twitter, a social media platform he in no small part helped to build.
This poses something of a conundrum for performers in general and the people who create material for them: at what point does satire become offensive and racist? Are actors, comedians specifically, only allowed to appear as their race or, in the case of repeat-offender Sacha Baron Cohen, as something other than their real sexuality?