More from attorney / blogger / friend Don Burton. He rightly takes umbrage with the NYT assertion that Eartha Kitt was the "definitive embodiment of Catwoman" in its review of Halle Berry's interpretation of the Batman character, explaining that Julie Newmar is, of course, the definitive embodiment of Catwoman.
To my mind, the Times was doing one of two things here, both with racist undertones: either it desired to be so cravenly PC that it called Eartha Kitt the best Catwoman ever because it simply wouldn't do to say that Newmar (who's white) played the role better than Kitt (who's black), which is not only shameless pandering but also racist; or it couldn't bring itself to compare Berry to Newmar because white and black actors are simply too fundamentally different for comparisons, which is also racist. The fact is, everyone knows that Julie Newmar was the best Catwoman ever.
(Sports announcers do this all the time. For example, when have you ever heard Steve Young compared to Randall Cunningham? Both were very mobile with strong arms. Or Drew Bledsoe compared to Warren Moon? Both are pocket-passers with rocket arms. How many times have you heard the white receiver called "the possession receiver" even though he's on the field for all four downs, yet Keyshawn Johnson never draws Brian Brennan comparisons. Shameful.)