Episode 498 - Your culture is MINE now!

Sep 28, 2020

This week we're talking about cultural appropriation, cultural adaption and adoption, also stereotypes and all sorts of related stuff. It was inspired by a newspost from Tantz discussing the recent live action Mulan movie by Disney. Cultural appropriation is when you take an aspect that is sacred or important to one culture and own it yourself: decontextualising it, stripping it off it's meaning, making a cartoon version of it, commodifying it, commercialising or cheapening it in some other way.

Topics and Show Notes

But not all borrowing from cultures is “appropriation”. Cultures mix and share things all the time quite freely and a lot of things that were once appropriated have long been mixed into a made a part of the adopting culture so they're as much of that culture now as anything else… Things like Yoga, which was a part of scared religious practices, was long ago appropriated and turned into an exercise fad. It's part of western culture now.

There's a power relationship involved: a community in a more dominant cultural position doesn't generally mind others “appropriating” aspects of their culture because their culture is everywhere. A community in a less dominant role usually does mind a lot because that's usually the only cultural identity they have, so stealing and misrepresenting it becomes an attack on their existence.
It's also extremely important to remember that you shouldn't really speak for another culture about appropriation. We can inform people that their cultural borrowing could possibly be an issue but it's not our place to criticise someone for appropriation and appoint ourselves as guardians and protectors of another group for two reasons: 1. That's paternalistic an dis-empowering to the people you're speaking for, 2. It might not be a case of appropriation at all, only they can speak for themselves whether it is or not.

The musical feature this week that Gunwallace has given us is theme to the Good Words with Sako, the Beautiful Heart of a Steggo Girl - A quiet, thoughtful, toe-tapper. This is a jazzy little techno number, bouncing away with a cool repeating theme. It’s gentle, intelligent, and elegant in its simplicity. Very Gorillaz.

Topics and shownotes


Tantz's newspost on cultural appropriation and Mulan - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/sep/25/cultural-significance/

Featured comic:
The Impossible Family - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/sep/22/featured-comic-the-impossible-family/

Featured Music:
Good Words with Sako, the Beautiful Heart of a Steggo Girl - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Good_Words_With_Sako__The_Beautiful_Heart_of_a_Steggo_Girl/, by KaijuKid, rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Ozoneocean at 8:38PM, Sept. 29, 2020

Ganges of New York is limited to the history of New York specifically... The Scottish police thing is global, from Australia to Pakistan to Hongkong, Singapore. I imagine it's related to the Commonwealth. The check pattern is the Sillitoe tartan, it's more used in Australia than other places though, but it IS used in the USA in Chicago and Pitsburg

bravo1102 at 7:18AM, Sept. 29, 2020

And cover up those "alien" German roots of Hanover and Saxe-Gotha that came in with the George's.

bravo1102 at 7:16AM, Sept. 29, 2020

The checkerboard is also Scottish from North Britain and Canada where the law enforcement was composed of Scots. The kilt was appropriated in the 18th Century after the Jacobian revolts and after Culloden tartans were outlawed except in the Scottish highland regiments. The British royalty was Scottish at one point under the Stuarts. That lineage is still celebrated to cement the Act of Union of 1707.

bravo1102 at 7:11AM, Sept. 29, 2020

Police once upon a time were primarily Irish and Scottish/Irish (Scots forced to live in Ireland) elements became part of law enforcement culture. It's actually in the movie Untouchables with the Irish cop against the Italians. It was a real conflict. See also the book Gangs of New York.

KaijuKid at 5:49AM, Sept. 29, 2020

Didn't expect the kind gesture for Sako but I'm very appreciative for it, thank you all very much. It's rather fitting, the story features an old fashioned jazz-oriented night club and I'm rather fond of jazz fusions, so it feels pretty spot-on. Thank you all again so much for that, particularly Gunwallace, made a dreary start to a day a lot brighter.

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