‘CULTURAL APPROPRIATION’

 

 

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Last night, in the rain

51 Comments

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51 responses to “‘CULTURAL APPROPRIATION’

  1. I personally feel the whole cultural appropriation hysteria has got too out of hand recently.

    And Japan is THE appropriator incarnate. And my Japanese friends love this picture of Duncan.

    What say you?

  2. I think he looks amazing.

  3. David

    Most of the outrage from cultural appropriation takes place on the internet, on Twitter, op-ed pieces, on FB. So if you don’t read those sources of discontent and contrarianism, it’s kind of like that old question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? The older I get, the less I care about what people think. Because they think about it for probably a nanosecond. Then it’s onto what to have for lunch.

  4. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic as I also feel that it’s gotten out of hand. Thank you – love the pics!

    • but first also YOUR thoughts on the subject please, or are we all now too afraid to even broach it?

      • No, actually I feel very confused about it to be honest. I used to always think appropriation was dependent upon intent which can sometimes be fuzzy, I admit, but as long as it wasn’t poking fun at or mocking another culture that it was a fair game. I mean cultures are created by many influences….. I liked to think of it as a form of cultural appreciation rather than appropriation. But it’s gotten so weird lately, folks have gotten so defensive and it’s many times mixed up with race issues…… I get confused. I like to hear what others have to say about it because I don’t trust my own thoughts about it anymore.

      • Me neither, and the D and I discuss all this crap often.

        My own stance probably stems from the fact that I find all ‘culture’ bullshit to begin with. Important, necessary, maybe, but just an arbitrary straitjacket.To be so weighed down by ‘your culture’s’ traditions is inherently ludicrous to me.

      • That’s a good point. You are right, one’s culture and adhering to it can most certainly become an unnecessary burden. I’m comforted by the fact that others are as conflicted as I am about it though.

      • I mean blatant ripping off and stealing or mimicking or mocking, disrespecting – no. But I like the cross cultural and always have.

        What are you specifically conflicted about?

  5. David

    My thoughts on cultural appropriation is that if it’s done right– I mean physically pleasing to the eye, like Duncan in the photo you posted– it’s great. Also, in Japan I don’t think it applies. The thing that I love and miss most about Japan is that Japanese people love sharing their culture. I was dressed up in kimono and happi coats by my Japanese friends on many occasions. No one analyzed it… Maybe I’ll draw the line at fundoshi though.
    I’m old enough to remember the movie “10” with that iconic scene of Bo Derek running down the beach with corn-row braids in her hair. I don’t think anyone blathered on about cultural appropriation then, mainly because there weren’t places like Twitter to blather on which to blather.

    • David

      ….there weren’t places like Twitter on which to blather.

    • Mind you -corn rows. Eminem…

      It’s such a mind field.

      But I am going to see my favourite group of all time, Scritti Politti, who MIRACULOUSLY are coming to Tokyo for some reason this weekend, and if they are not white absorbing black (optional quotation marks) to exquisite, glorious effect then I don’t know what is.

      What I can’t bear is the idea that we are all meant to stay within our ethnic enclaves -to me that is utterly racist and confining.

      And what about food? If an Indian woman in New Delhi makes spaghetti, is it ‘cultural appropriation’?

  6. Nancysg

    I am so out of the loop that I didn’t realize that cultural appropriation was a thing, let alone an issue. I obviously live in a mono-cultural environment and am not on the web sites that discuss the issue. I do visit the Middle East on a regular basis, but I don’t have a sense of cultural appropriation being a process there..even with the large ex-pat population. There is some concern about not letting English become the total norm. Maintaining the Arabic language as a living part of the local culture is a concern for some.

  7. jennyredhen

    Whats wrong with wearing a kimono.. When in Rome.. and all that

  8. I’ve read the rest of the comments with interest and done a bit of online research. Yes, I can see how MISappropriation would be an issue. Otherwise . . .

  9. MrsDalloway

    – cultural appropriation
    + out in his dressing gown

    Looking sharp though!

  10. Tara C

    Love the photo, very esthetically pleasing. I think the whole cultural appropriation thing is ridiculously overblown. In this globalized world, I think more culture sharing rather than less is desirable. Of course, this doesn’t apply to attempts to mock or ridicule another culture, but that doesn’t seem to be the intent in most of the cases I’ve heard about, which concern native americans.

  11. I remember a young friend going ballistic about a Taylor Swift music video where she’s singing and dancing in a kind of Out of Africa/safari scenario. Wildest Dreams is the song. The friend said it was tone-deaf of Ms. Swift and offensive to African Americans, making light of colonial oppression.There was a big backlash on social media. I’d seen it and just thought, Oooh, I love those khaki jodhpurs, red lipstick and giraffes. The whole thing was in the context of a movie set, on location, period costumes. It was gorgeous, I thought, although not a huge fan of the music itself.

    Maybe I’m a terrible person . . .

  12. Yui

    Can I say something about cultural appropriation that might sound a bit harsh? I think the problem is that too many white people have a complicated half-apologetic superiority complex towards other races – to the degree that wearing saris or kimonos is somehow supposed to be un-pc now. It seems to be a simplistic extension of the understanding that blackface or wearing native indian headresses is distasteful (which they are, of course, because these cultures have such a terrible, sad history of oppression and no amount of ‘fashion’ will make it ok) whereas, say, the movie whitechicks is good and fun because rich white chicks have never faced the sort of oppression anyone thinks is significant at this point. In any event, I work in fashion and love the idea of sharing our national costumes – they are all so gorgeous. I am even all for people wearing band t-shirts they don’t listen to – who cares? I guess my point is that there’s a difference between a white american wearing a native indian headress and me wearing a sari to an indian friend’s wedding. “Think-pieces” and facebook “activists”.saying otherwise are being silly.

  13. Yui

    a white/anglo american wearing a native indian headdress at a club or party or something was what i meant btw, i’m sure there are circumstances where it would be ok.

    • I am glad you wrote this.

      I also think that living in Japan, which is clueless and oblivious (and that is being kind) when it comes to race and appropriates other cultures ALL the time (‘black’ Japanese hip hop fans with all the trimmings but none of the interiority for example; fake ‘Christian’ weddings with no Christianity in sight – I have two friends -one a drag queen, the other an alcoholic poet – who moonlight as ‘priests’: to actual Christians it is SO insulting); yellow wigs and big fake noses to denote Caucasians, ‘Italian’ chefs who shout ‘buona sera’ when you enter, etc etc – I think my head has been scrambled. Japan is the third richest country in the world and should know better, but because it’s not white nobody criticizes it.

      I have to say that it infuriates me.

      • Wow. My own head just got scrambled. I had no idea.

      • That Japan is a TOTAL SHOCKER when it comes to this ? They even have black face and happy jazz hands in commercials sometimes. The R nB people go ALL the way too : turbans, dreads, huge Afros, hip hop gestures, dandies all English gentleman, they bat not an eyelid, so a man in a kimono is definitely fine ! ( they even have kimono contests here – D took part in one – a race on stage to assemble all the components against the clock and come out looking elegant. D was in the foreigners’ category).

        The fake priest thing is the most shocking, no? The equivalent would be a Japanese Shinto wedding in America, with no one ordained, an ersatz setting, and some random English speaking Japanese person ( or possible other Asian person) acting as a priest and officiating. The weddings I have been to are so postmoderny fake they leave me reeling. Is this not CULTURAL APPROPRIATION at its most distilled?

      • Seriously scrambling my brain here, Neil. Pretty wild. Pretty warped. Yeah, the fake priest thing?! But y’know, the behaviour of real priests can be pretty shocking too, some of them. It can all seem just a huge clusterf**k. And here I thought that our local Roberts Creek neo-hippies with their clip-on Rastafarian dreadlocks were pushing the envelope. So naïve!

      • Madness abounds, oh yes it do

  14. Yui

    We do have tragic blackface – just the other day I had to stop watching an early 90s japanese comedy movie featuring an actress I’ve styled and respected simply because it featured unnecessary blackface. Ignorance is without a doubt a sin.

    As of 2017 i think japan is about the 30th richest country in the world – pls correct me if i’m wrong. I’m sure we’re a huge perpetrator of cultural misappropriation – the big western nose in textbooks is truly gross – but when i consider what western pop culture and high fashion has been continuously churning out just for fun and shock value, here’s what i’m thinking – what exactly is the difference between katy perry’s cool dancers and a japanse pseudo-christian wedding? I think what matters is a context in which we’re not belitteling or making fun of whatever it is that we’re appropriating. A misunderstanding, on the other hand, is a given, no? I for one have no idea what it might feel like, as a native american, to see some random priveliged white kid wearing my national costume. I think what matters is that we try to empathize and at the very least try to understand the implications. Fashion is great fun but aesthetics alone aren’t enough to make certain things politically acceptable. Your partner looks fine and beautiful in a kimono, obviously.

  15. Yui

    just googled “richest countries in the world”. japan is consistently ranked 30th this yr, not that it really matters within this debate

    • I am surprised. How is it measured?

      • Also, are we even really debating? It seems that we agree, essentially.

        I see that it must be very irritating that the entire notion of CA is usually judged or seen through a white lens, but my point about wealth is that Japan is not some colonized poor country, and that its total lack of sensitivity to many cultures makes it just as guilty in all this as the west.

        The ‘problem’ is that I am just not as PC as a lot of the people I know, and the fact that I even put the words CA in inverted commas shows my irony and the fact that despite my hatred of what I personally consider real CA, deep down I think the whole issue has been grossly exaggerated and is totally irrational.

        Taken to its logical conclusion, Madonna’s La Isla Bonita and the flamenco bridge from Deeper and Deeper would be banned as her ‘blood’ is Italian American/ French Canadian not Hispanic, The Beatles would never have been allowed to release Within You Without You from Sergeant Pepper because they were not Indian, virtually all sushi restaurants outside Japan would have to be closed, as would all French, Italian restaurants and ‘boulangeries’ and pretentious ‘patisseries’ run by ‘pure’ Japanese; all opera, orchestras, Chopin piano recitals ( pure Polish CULTURAL APPROPRIATION !), musicals ( no more non-Caucasian Sound Of Music !), no more Afros at music festivals, Japan would have washoku ONLY and everyone would wear kimonos, and in England there would be no more ‘Japanese restaurants’ ( which, admittedly, are shit – Japan genuinely does CA better than anybody)

        in short, the world would be hell.

        Human beings should NOT be defined by one culture: it is the very end of sanity and

        F UC k
        It
        ALL

      • Morning, Neil. This is helpful (and further down the page, you’ll see that in this 2017 list, Japan has improved to 24th — omg, behind Canada?). Looks like those damn oil-rich countries have bumped us down a few notches.

        http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-richest-countries-in-the-world.html

      • but is this entirely relevant anyway?

      • Just read this now. Hell, YEAH. I am totally with you on this. Thanks, dear N. This whole thread has been enlightening.

      • Not right now, as it turns out, but perhaps for future reference . . . ?

      • It’s just, you’d asked. 😉

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