Hmm. Honestly I barely noticed Meg Ryan back then, and right now she doesn’t even register in my mind as neither a celebrity nor as someone with artistic talent in her craft. I won’t dispute that my point of view within a fantasy prone culture is in the minority. The majority of my peer age group would absolutely notice her and recognize Ryan as someone prominent.
I guess this is what makes microaggressions in particular so effective — when in the majority, especially with racial dramaturgy. Most of the critiques on race are focused on the dramaturgical analysis of minorities, but we don’t spend enough time analyzing the majority acting white the way you did Ré Harris, or even the way Alec Baldwin observed it.
In other words Meg Ryan’s theatrical performance offstage is as you insightfully shared, a performance in which she presents herself to another based on her values and beliefs, whether they be sincere or cynical. While she performs on stage or in front of the camera in hopes that the audience views her in the way that she wants them to — according to the script, off-camera she is free to go off-script in the way she wants that particular audience to view her — in all her whiteness.
The fact that no one actually disrupted her performance is what makes microaggression a successful performance for her. It gives the appearance of acceptance — that thin lips like hers are significant while thick lips are just laughable — because it went on without disruption.
In no way am I suggesting that you should have disrupted her performance. Because you know — consequences. What you displayed there and at that time was tact — a difficult performance rarely acknowledged and mostly underappreciated. What I am attempting to highlight is how performances like Ryan’s — having no tact whatsoever — which are microaggression-filled can go on without disruption as merely a spectacle — a glaring facile manifestation of impression management.
And like you, I’m not impressed.