If You Don’t Believe in Cultural Appropriation, You’re Wrong: A Satire

14 thoughts on “If You Don’t Believe in Cultural Appropriation, You’re Wrong: A Satire”

  1. Westerners do have a habit of bastardizing everything they get their hands on, but your point here is well taken. White shamans and aerial yoga practitioners are the more moronic examples, but when it comes to art, imitation is the closest thing to flattery we colonial jerks have. We do often give the word “fusion” a bad name, though.

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  2. Michelle all this is true, but I do think the actual & serious sins of the West are diluted by this weird current fetish where even artists (let alone burrito makers) are being told what they should & shouldn’t do.

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  3. I do get the more serious point and was being a tad tongue-in-cheek. As I’m in the middle of finishing a novel with characters who are not all grumpy white women, I’ve had to ignore a lot of this latest craze in favor of actually writing what I want to write.

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  4. As I read this with a smile I wondered whether the original post included the “A Satire” addition. (My guess is it didn’t)
    I live in California but have spent enough time in Mexico to know that what is sold as a burrito here only vaguely resembles those south of the border. (Though ironically in areas like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas where there are lots of gringo tourists, they now make them California-style.)
    The Oregon women probably should have just called them ‘wraps.’ That way they could tell the Latinos that they’re gyros and the Greeks that they’re burritos.

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  5. This was very clever Tim, you made a lot of good points. My main takeaway (pardon the pun) is that if we get too carried away with ‘cultural appropriation’ we can never enjoy or learn anything by anyone else but ourselves. What a bubble we’d be in! It makes me wonder though what the criteria might be for genuinely wrong cultural appropriation – and if there can be any. I.e. is everything really up for grabs or is there a clear line we shouldn’t cross?

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  6. I’m Polish, so I’m wildly in favor of cultural appropriation. Otherwise, I’d have nothing to affirm my identity but binge drinking, pierogies, and antisemitism. And two of those things I am not okay with.

    (Satire mode endeth here.)

    It’s a truth that leaves some people aghast: culture is cultural appropriation. That said, I think we can be sensitive to the concerns of indigenous groups and seriously oppressed minorities without all this nonsense where wild-eyed people on the Internet appoint themselves to the Committee for the Protection of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

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  7. I bet there is a western-themed cafeteria on Japanese colleges serving bad western food. I mean give me a break. Sushi on a pizza, lasagna made from squid, octopus tacos. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be coming to a campus near you.

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  8. The most interesting appropriated American food I’ve ever had was in South Korea, at a rest stop along the highway system they modeled after our own. It was called “pizzahotdoggi,” which led me to assume it would represent the best parts of both a pizza and a hot dog. In reality, it was a calzone-like dough pocket filled with soy sauce and crumbly bits of mystery meat. I could have mocked it; instead, it taught me a little something about how Koreans see American food. Also, it was terrible.

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  9. I saw the light when I read that Eric Clapton said the best rock guitar he ever heard on an R&B song was on Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude.” So here you have a Brit praising a white southerner (Duane Allman) sitting in with a black R&B singer playing a song by some white Brits with roots in British folk and American black blues. I realized then that there is so much cultural appropriation (which the unevolved still quaintly refer to as “collaboration”) among musicians that it’s best not to listen to music at all.

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  10. Clarification, Tim: There is one reason to listen to music — to measure its offensiveness. Here is a particularly offensive item — bunch of white guys from Georgia called “The Allman Bros.” playing what they unabashedly identify as “an old field song.” (The video is terrible but the hurtful audio is clear enough.) Just think of how much better the world would be if this whole music scene had never emerged!

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