Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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Lost on the road to appropriation

There are certain buzz words and phrases that make me uncomfortable.

Cultural appropriation is one of them. This article illustrates my point perfectly.

As it happens, some Kanji script is on my list of possible future tattoos. Just one phrase, whose meaning I understand, that epitomizes how I try to live.Tacky to some people, but meaningful to me, and to my Japanese friends who understand where some of my ideas about things that matter to me come from.

Is that cultural appropriation, that I wish to acknowledge the source of something that matters to me? As someone who likes tattoos and body modification, the concept of wearing my heart as a sleeve is my way of being who I am, just like the reference to a song by a black musician on one of my arms.

Laughing at people with meaningless tattoos who may well have been ripped off by unscrupulous tattooists is chav baiting, snobbery by any other name, the kind of sniffy superiority that looks down on all it disdains and dismisses it for artificial reasons draped in polysyllabic explanations that are little more than an assertion of the right to sneer.

Next time you meet an Englishman sneering at his neighbour for having a Japanese tattoo, ask him how he feels about the cultural appropriation of King Arthur or St George. If he gives you the babble of bollocks that means ‘My cultural appropriation is not really appropriation at all’ don’t be surprised. As some long haired Palestinian pilgrim pointed out two thousand years ago, before his ideas were appropriated by all and sundry, it’s best to try and get the fucking huge plank of timber out of your own eye before worrying about the speck of dust in someone else’s.

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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