Dr. Kominz made a comment last Saturday during the kabuki symposium about how the word “kabuki” is used all the time to refer to all kinds of things that are not kabuki.
He was talking about applying the word “kabuki” to performances that are slightly or vaguely Japanese-inspired, that use some kind of face makeup vaguely resembling kumadori, or that otherwise involve some kind of attempt at implying a kabuki influence or connection. That certainly does take place.
But, what immediately came to mind for me was the constant misuse of the word “kabuki” in news and news commentary to refer to actions or events that the commentator chooses to characterize as absurd political theatre. Absurd in whatever ways; over-the-top, excessively dramatic, unnecessarily complicated.. I guess.
I’m not even going to get into why this annoys me so. I tried, and deleted it, as I couldn’t really manage to put it into words clearly and it started just developing into a long rant.
Carla Blank, on the other hand, puts it strongly, clearly, and succinctly in her short opinion piece for Counterpunch magazine, entitled “When Kabuki is Not Kabuki“.
That is all.