A new Julianne Moore movie set in West Virginia is looking for kid extras! But bad news for the normals: according to the casting notice: "'Regular-looking' children should not attend this open call." Explains the casting director: "Some of these 'holler' people — because they are insular and clannish, and they don't leave their area — there is literally inbreeding, and the people there often have a different kind of look. That's what we're trying to get." Hmmmm. Is this what it feels like to be actually offended? It's so new to me! But it's the same sensation I had when I read Vanessa Grigoriadis call Britney Spears an "inbred swamp thing" in that Rolling Stone piece. It isn't that I disagreed: I knew what she meant. I am not going to lie to you: I have been known to describe a certain ex-boyfriend's appearance as "Jew-y." In fact, I have been known to employ a wide variety of ethnic stereotypes — ahem — in a joking manner. But inbred...well that is different. How is it different?

Well, quite simply, the "inbred swamp thing" thing was a comment on Britney's dehumanization before our eyes, her media-aided devolution into a somehow more primal, lesser species, someone whose prolonged descent despite her material wealth could only be chalked up to defective genes, whose very bodily functions we suddenly found it perfectly natural to watch in progress, like on the Discovery Channel.

I'd maintain some ethnic stereotypes enable us to heed and joke about and respect one another's differences, which is sort of the essence of humanism. But "inbred" is different: it merely evokes lesser, worse, animalistic, Mr. Rochester's wife in Jane Eyre, although, wait, maybe now I am contradicting myself because she was some blueblood. Anyway, I don't know. It just creeped me out. Maybe I'm oversensitive. Ha.


Film's Casting Call Wants That 'Inbred' Look [Pittsburgh Tribune]