The Great "Bright" Way- Page 4

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GavestonPS
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The Great “Bright” Way#76
Posted: 6/29/20 at 1:42am

HogansHero said: "I'm afraid you just don't want to understand, and your every post seems to enlarge that chasm. Anyway, thanks for the compliments and I'll continue to hope you'll understand some day."

My, oh, my! Isn't it hard to breathe up there? The air must be so thin...

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The Great “Bright” Way#77
Posted: 6/29/20 at 2:15am

I didn't want to comment because I don't have "clout" on this message board but I see people keep asking if anyone has actually been offended by the phrase. I will preface this by saying this is only my opinion: I've never liked the phrase "The Great White Way." I'm neither white nor black, I'm Mexican-American. I grew up on the West Coast with Disney cartoons (Little Mermaid came out when I was 5) and the Tony Awards and found a love for Broadway outside of my family. I don't have any fun story about how some family member introduced me to theater or some cast album, etc. I love theater and Broadway and first heard the expression The Great White Way in my early teens. It was much, much later that I learned that it was referring to the lightbulbs. And it was something I had to seek out, it wasn't common knowledge for me.

I can't say that I was ever "offended" by the term but I have always been uncomfortable with it. Before I even knew where the term derived from I figured it came back from a time before when Broadway as a place was in its infancy. But the expression often felt exclusionary to me even if on some intellectual level in the back of my teenage mind I knew it didn't have to with race. As someone who celebrated In the Heights because hey "that's brown people on stage singing music that reflects contemporary music" and dragged my family to see the tour, the Great White Way, for me, has unintentionally been tied to a medium (that I love!) that often tells one groups story, not light bulbs. I welcome a change of the expression to "The Great Bright Way" but also understand why others would be against changing it. Just my two cents.

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HogansHero
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The Great “Bright” Way#78
Posted: 6/29/20 at 10:12am

@boylikethat thanks for posting that. It's worth more than two cents to me. The Great “Bright” Way

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The Great “Bright” Way#79
Posted: 6/29/20 at 9:10pm

I think we all agree boylikethat has every right to dislike an expression and to avoid using it. And maybe he wants to communicate his dislike to Broadway marketers, who might be happy to discard any expression that turns off a potential customer. This, too, is fine with me; I have no special attachment to old catch phrases, as a rule.

But those of us who are trying to deal with subtleties more nuanced than "virtue-signaling" might ask this question: which is the greater kindness to boylikethat? Is it:

a. scrub a language spoken by hundreds of millions of people so that an offended few are "rescued" from words never intended to hurt them; or

b. let boylikethat deal with his own aversion, now that he knows the expression wasn't coined with any racial meaning, much less racist intent?

I will say again that respect for others doesn't usually consist in treating them like psychological invalids. I don't like the word "homosexual"--for all the usual reasons--but nobody owes me the comfort of rescuing me from hearing it.

Confidential to boylikethat: it might surprise you to know that when I was a kid, you and almost all Latinos were considered "white" where I lived. I grew up outside Miami during a time of intense Cuban migration and there were occasional frictions, but nobody suggested Cubans weren't white (unless they were visually of African ancestry). In a former Confederate state, the races were "white" and "colored" (the latter meaning all or partially African American); in an emergency, there was a third category--"Asian" or "Oriental"--but such people were rare in South Florida in the 1960s.

The point is these terms change over time and from place to place, so you and I both would be wise not to get too attached or too averse.

Updated On: 6/29/20 at 09:10 PM
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boylikethat
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The Great “Bright” Way#80
Posted: 6/29/20 at 11:30pm

May I add a third option Gaveston? Can we combine your option B while simultaneously acknowledging my and possibly many others feelings (like Whoopi) towards the term? Because your option A and B by themselves are dismissive of people's feelings. I'm not saying that we everyone should acquiesce to every perceived slight of language or that we should remove black and white from all our speech and expressions. Just asking for understanding of why people might be uncomfortable with certain expressions. At the end of the day we are both agree with the two sides of the same coin in regards to this particular expression, that you're fine with discarding the expression if needs be and I'm saying keep it if that's what the people want, I have no deep animus to it being kept.

As far as being surprised that Latinos were once considered white I'm not. I've studied American history and know that was/is a thing. But not in my neck of the woods of the Pacific Northwest and in my real life application/experience. Mexicans ain't considered white here. It doesn't help that our current President began his run by declaring Mexicans rapists and murderers and insisting on a wall. Times do change and sometimes it's one step forward and two steps back.

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The Great “Bright” Way#81
Posted: 6/29/20 at 11:40pm

"so that an offended few are 'rescued' from words never intended to hurt them"

I have given up on you, tbh, but for the benefit of others, who gets to decide what offends and how many are offended? This sort of usurption is exactly what is at the heart of what we are being asked to learn and understand. 

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The Great “Bright” Way#82
Posted: 6/29/20 at 11:55pm

PatrickDC said: "Do people still use the term "Great White Way" that often?"

I don't... think so? That's my only issue with changing it. Is it meaningful if most people don't use the original phrase? Now we're all just saying a weird new thing. Don't say either. 

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The Great “Bright” Way#83
Posted: 6/30/20 at 12:50am

HogansHero said: ""so that an offended few are 'rescued'from words never intended to hurt them"

I have given up on you, tbh, but for the benefit of others, who gets to decide what offends and how many are offended? This sort of usurpation is exactly what is at the heart of what we are being asked to learn and understand.
"

That's okay. Your posts ON THIS SUBJECT are too shallow and trite to allow for response, much less a differing opinion. We get it: you've chosen sainthood over reasoned thought and engagement with different opinions.

Why is ANYBODY making a decision on what boylikethat admits was a misunderstanding on his part? He has educated himself now. Why doesn't that end the matter? Why this petty power play over who is the boss of language?

Why are we still discussing a phrase NONE of us cares about instead of discussing how to stop police departments from killing men and women of color? THAT's something that must be changed. Right NOW! But calling Broadway the "Great Bright Way" isn't going to change anything that matters.

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The Great “Bright” Way#84
Posted: 6/30/20 at 12:54am

boylikethat said: "May I add a third option Gaveston? Can we combine your option B while simultaneously acknowledging my and possibly many others feelings (like Whoopi) towards the term? Because your option A and B by themselves are dismissive of people's feelings. I'm not saying that we everyone should acquiesce to every perceived slight of language or that we should remove black and white from all our speech and expressions. Just asking for understanding of why people might be uncomfortable with certain expressions. At the end of the day we are both agree with the two sides of the same coin in regards to this particular expression, that you're fine with discarding the expression if needs be and I'm saying keep it if that's what the people want, I have no deep animus to it being kept.

As far as being surprised that Latinos were once considered whiteI'm not. I've studied American history and know that was/is a thing. But not in my neck of the woods of the Pacific Northwest and in my real life application/experience. Mexicans ain't considered white here. It doesn't help that our current President began his run by declaring Mexicans rapists and murderers and insisting on a wall. Times do change and sometimes it's one step forward and two steps back.
"

Thank you for your very smart and articulate posts. And, no, I DO NOT MEAN "smart for a Chicano"--I know lots of highly educated Latinos--I mean smart for a new poster I hadn't encountered before.

I have to run, but I'll think about your post and respond tomorrow. As you know, I shy a bit when the subject of "considering the feelings of others" arises. Yeah, I do it in real life sometimes; but I remember a time when that very argument was used as an excuse for keeping BIPOC down and quiet.

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The Great “Bright” Way#85
Posted: 6/30/20 at 2:29am

VintageSnarker said: "PatrickDC said: "Do people still use the term "Great White Way" that often?"

I don't... think so? That's my only issue with changing it. Is it meaningful if most people don't use the original phrase? Now we're all just saying a weird new thing. Don't say either.
"

I'm not a New Yorker, just a frequent tourist (until the pandemic). But I still can't find an answer to PatrickDC's question. It's not like there's a big sign on 44th Street or Times Square with blinding white lights reading "The Great White Way." Does Broadway promote itself as The Great White Way? Is it on marketing materials, in commercials, on websites? 

It may have just been a non-racist term someone coined long ago, but the only reason to continue using it is as a marketing tool, to lure tourists to the glamour of New York City. Flashy lights. Excitement. Fun. Entertainment. But if the marketing tool is rarely used today and offends some people who do hear the term, what good is it? Most people aren't going to bother studying up on old, obscure Broadway terminology. It bothers someone like boylikethat, a young, non-white person who obviously loves musical theater. As a marketing tool, it's either a non-factor (big theater fans aren't going to boycott Broadway shows if the term is retired) or a turn-off.

I agree with VintageSnarker that The Great Bright Way sounds dumb. And then it will require explanation about why the term is slightly different, offending a different set of people. Who needs the trouble?

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The Great “Bright” Way#86
Posted: 6/30/20 at 6:47am

You don't need White or Bright[ that's just pandering], simply

The Great Broad-Way.

Lettering and neon would be enough to make it burn Bright[ly].

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The Great “Bright” Way#87
Posted: 6/30/20 at 1:59pm

bear88 said: "I agree with VintageSnarker that The Great Bright Way sounds dumb. And then it will require explanation about why the term is slightly different, offending a different set of people. Who needs the trouble?"

This debate is about a phrase that's rarely used. I think there's a possibility that many people aren't aware of its origin because it's fallen out of use. Also, the use of extensive lighting nearly EVERYWHERE has pretty much killed the novelty of what the lights of Broadway used to be. Las Vegas eclipsed (see what I did there?) Broadway's reputation for extensive use of lights a very long time ago.

To the majority, it's just "Broadway" (which has also become a bit of a misnomer, as the theater district has expanded well beyond just Broadway).

IMO, "The Great Bright Way" may sound dumb because the alliteration is missing (the two consecutive 'W' words). But again, with so many bigger, more important fish to fry, why struggle with this? You would have to make an effort to revive the use of a rarely employed descriptor just so you could make the change...

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The Great “Bright” Way#88
Posted: 6/30/20 at 2:50pm

If you Google "Great White Way," you'll find that, within the last week, the nickname has been used in at least 20 different articles, all unrelated to this change. It might not be used everyday conversation, but it is being used regularly in the press.

I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would be so vehemently opposed to this. It's not meant to fix systemic racism, rather, it's a simple gesture to show that Broadway supports inclusion. Boylikethat just posted on this thread that, as a person of color, the expression often felt "exclusionary" to him, even though he knew it didn't have to do with race. It hurts no one to actively promote this new nickname, and, if it helps even just one person think about Broadway in a different, more inclusive way, even on a subconscious level, then it will have served its purpose. 

When I heard Whoopi suggest it, I thought it was a no-brainer that made perfect sense, so I'm somewhat surprised to see any negativity toward it. The U.S. is in the midst of a dystopian nightmare, and THIS is a big deal? I can't wrap my head around it, but, fortunately, I have the "ignore" function on this board to quiet those ugly voices.

Updated On: 6/30/20 at 02:50 PM
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The Great “Bright” Way#89
Posted: 6/30/20 at 2:56pm

The Great “Bright” Way

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The Great “Bright” Way#90
Posted: 6/30/20 at 3:39pm

By the way, GavestonPS, this post from last night is the reason that you're among the people I've blocked:

"Thank you for your very smart and articulate posts. And, no, I DO NOT MEAN "smart for a Chicano"--I know lots of highly educated Latinos--I mean smart for a new poster I hadn't encountered before."

Seriously? Who do you think you are? Did you really think this was a compliment? This racist, elitist statement showed me that you're completely out of touch and have nothing of worth to offer to this board. Shameful.

Updated On: 6/30/20 at 03:39 PM
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The Great “Bright” Way#91
Posted: 6/30/20 at 4:01pm

I probably became aware of the phrase "The Great White Way" when I was a boy in the 1950's.  I can with some certainty say that until just this moment, I have never written or spoken those words.  I haven't equated the phrase to anything that might be construed as racialy offensive.  "The Great White Way" has simply meant, for me, the lights of Broadway.

But, if some consider "The Great White Way" to be offensive, then it is offensive for me, as well.

Change it.

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The Great “Bright” Way#92
Posted: 6/30/20 at 6:00pm

CT2NYC said: "If you Google "Great White Way," you'll find that, within the last week,the nickname has been used in at least 20 different articles, all unrelated to this change.It might not be used everyday conversation, but it is being used regularly in thepress.

I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would be so vehemently opposed to this.
"

Is it from ironic and punny theater related articles? Because that's one of the few times I do see it being used. Like... would you look at the casting for The Music Man revival? Guess it really is the great White way. I don't see why it needs to be changed instead of dropped entirely. I'd guess that the phrase "Great White Way" is used slightly less than Big Apple (since that is part of marketing/tourism) and I'd roll my eyes at anyone who used either phrase unironically.

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The Great “Bright” Way#93
Posted: 6/30/20 at 7:30pm
In terms of picturesque names for the professional theater, we can always go back to The Fabulous Invalid.

...I suppose The Old Whore is out, though.
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The Great “Bright” Way#94
Posted: 6/30/20 at 11:04pm

boylikethat said: "...At the end of the day we are both agree with the two sides of the same coin in regards to this particular expression, that you're fine with discarding the expression if needs be and I'm saying keep it if that's what the people want, I have no deep animus to it being kept.

"

I don't believe I ever said "The Great White Way" out loud in any context. I would have found it too corny. It seems to survive in old song lyrics (see DAMES AT SEA's "Broadway Baby"The Great “Bright” Way or from marketing writers trying to vary their copy. But if it really bothered Whoopie Goldberg, she's had a  platform to say so for 13 years; I suspect it was more an attempt to trigger a conversation, which is fine.

But I promised you a response today and though I'm sure I'd avoid the phrase if you were a guest in my home, I don't see the issue in terms of making the phrase a public taboo.

You misunderstood the origin of the phrase--quite understandably. You learned better--good for you! Now I think it's on you to get over your past emotional responses to a non-racist expression. Yes, I realize there's a lot of racism built into our culture; so let's don't waste time on cultural flotsam and jetsam that were never oppressive in the first place!

Choose your allies wisely, BOYLIKETHAT, but just as with friends, those who are most concerned with protecting you from "hurt feelings" are probably not true friends/allies at all.

(BTW, I was careful in discussing racial categories to specify the time and place. I am well aware that the history of the West and Southwest are quite different. Since I moved to California in 1985, I have both studied and taught Chicano theater, which doesn't make me an insider nor an expert, but Luiz Valdez is among my favorite living playwrights and I am aware of events like the "Zoot Suit riots", "Sleepy Lagoon murders", etc. and so forth.)

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The Great “Bright” Way#95
Posted: 6/30/20 at 11:10pm
Ironically, the only times I’ve seen or heard this phrase used in recent memory are to derisively describe Broadway’s lack of diversity.
"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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The Great “Bright” Way#96
Posted: 6/30/20 at 11:16pm

Exactly. It's used, to the extent I recall it popping up, as a snarky remark about Broadway being controlled by white people, or having near all-white casts with a token POC. "Oh,sure. What can you expect from The Great White Way"? Et cetera.

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The Great “Bright” Way#97
Posted: 6/30/20 at 11:26pm

Kad said: "Ironically, the only times I’ve seen or heard this phrase used in recent memory are to derisively describe Broadway’s lack of diversity."

So maybe it will disappear (or change to a negative meaning) organically, to which nobody here will object.

In the meantime, I expect everyone everywhere to stop using the adjective "sucks". Because, really, when you think about it: who does the sucking? Women and gay men. So the word offends me as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and I expect everyone to erase it from his or her vocabulary.

Could somebody let me know when this has been accomplished?

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The Great “Bright” Way#98
Posted: 6/30/20 at 11:31pm

CT2NYC said: "By the way, GavestonPS, this post from last night is the reason that you're among the people I've blocked:

"Thank you for your very smart and articulate posts. And, no, I DO NOT MEAN "smart for a Chicano"--I know lots of highly educated Latinos--I mean smart for a new poster I hadn't encountered before."

Seriously? Whodo you think you are? Did you really think this was a compliment? This racist, elitist statement showed me that you're completely out of touch and have nothing of worth to offer to this board. Shameful.
"

THIS F*CKING BOARD! JESUS CHRIST!

THIS ASSHOLE CALLS ME A RACIST (just because I question the damage done by a racially neutral phrase) and that's allowed to stand. But whatever my response, that was too touchy for the delicate sensibilities here.

ETA and whatever happened to the quaint custom of PMing us to tell us why our posts are deleted? That was short-lived!

Updated On: 6/30/20 at 11:31 PM
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The Great “Bright” Way#99
Posted: 6/30/20 at 11:44pm

CT2NYC said: "If you Google "Great White Way," you'll find that, within the last week,the nickname has been used in at least 20 different articles, all unrelated to this change.It might not be used everyday conversation, but it is being used regularly in the press."

I did that. Results here. (I also selected the "News" tab to insure I would get articles, rather than a potpourri of links to pages from greatwhiteway.com). I didn't get the same results you posted about. 3 /10 hits that were returned on the first page were about Whoopi, Joy Behar and The View. I thought it was interesting that all the remaining hits used the term Great White Way followed by the phrase "will remain dark.." (almost identically, word for word). The images included in the results were all b/w photos of Broadway from it's earliest days.

I also did the same thing using "Broadway" as the search criterion (selecting "News" tab, also). Results here. I got a much more diverse set of hits, only one of which also used the term "dark". Instead they wrote, "shuttered", "cancelled", "shutdown" (remaining returned hits had nothing to do with Broadway's shutdown).

CT2NYC said: "I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would be so vehemently opposed to this."

I don't know if you were including me as being "vehemently opposed", but I will say this: I will never refer to Broadway as "The Great Bright Way".

But that's not vehement opposition. I've never referred to Broadway as "The Great White Way", either. (Well, except for 6 shows a week, in regional theater, while I was singin' in the rain... but I was only contracted for 6 months and I promise I've never used the phrase again, after that.)

Updated On: 7/1/20 at 11:44 PM
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The Great “Bright” Way#100
Posted: 7/1/20 at 12:02am

John Adams said: "CT2NYC said: "If you Google "Great White Way," you'll find that, within the last week,the nickname has been used in at least 20 different articles, all unrelated to this change.It might not be used everyday conversation, but it is being used regularly in the press."

I did that. Results here. (I also selected the "News" tab to insure I would get articles, rather than a potpourri of links to pages from greatwhiteway.com). I didn't get the same results you posted about. 3 /10 hits that were returned on the first page were about Whoopi, Joy Behar and The View. I thought it was interesting that all the remaining hits used the term Great White Way followed by the phrase "will remain dark.." (almost identically, word for word).

I also did the same thing using "Broadway" as the search criterion (selecting "News" tab, also). Results here. I got a much more diverse set of hits, only one of which also used the term "dark". Instead they wrote, "shuttered", "cancelled", "shutdown" (remaining returned hits had nothing to do with Broadway's shutdown).

CT2NYC said: "I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would be so vehemently opposed to this."

I don't know if you were including me as being "vehemently opposed", but I will say this: I will never refer to Broadway as "The Great Bright Way".

But that's not vehement opposition. I've never referred to Broadway as "The Great White Way", either. (Well, except for 6 shows a week, in regional theater, while I was singin' in the rain... but I was only contracted for 6 months and I promise I've never used the phrase again, after that.)
"

7 on page one + 4 on page two + 7 on page three + 2 on page four = 20. 

I was talking about GavestonPS when I said "vehemently opposed."

Updated On: 7/1/20 at 12:02 AM