Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poco on ice

Whoopee!!! Neo Post-colonialism has finally arrived in Russia!

Who knows, they might be organising conferences on the New English Literatures next.

UPDATE: Really, I don't know what the whole fuss is about. Pretenders to Aboriginal identity don't seem to be that rare. The notorious case of Mudrooroo springs to mind, who - without having the least bit of Aboriginal heritage - nevertheless managed to found Australian Aboriginal literature with his "first-hand accounts" of indigenous life.

This ethnic charade is, of course, a nice illustration of the entirely hypothetical "theoretical" concept of mise en abyme, but I really don't think that it is entirely koscher to employ neo-colonial acts of symbolic exploitation to justify the claims of deconstruction.

Then, of course, there are all the white guys who pretend to be James Brown. Jason Mraz is a particularly grating example:

"You make my slacks a little tight", my arse!

And then there are tour operators in New Zealand hiring Europeans and Israelis to play at being Maori for the delectation of tourists. Says Terina Puriri, director of The Discovery Heritage Group responsible for these ... events, defensively:
Some of our Maori are too slack to promote themselves. Some of our Maori are too lazy to get out of bed to do that.
Ms Puriri may say that, because Ms Puriri is part Maori herself.

Still, I wonder whether the term "heritage" still applies in such a case (and whether the gullible tourists who bought the heritage ticket will get their cash back for this sad carnival). Or is heritage a moveable feast in this day and age of self-invention? I've come across academics who would claim just that.

In any case, I'd suggest Ms Puriri read Julian Barnes's England, England - which lampoons exactly the kind of fakery that she is engaging in. Or rather, lampooned it already 10 years ago. Which leads me to the question: Did Julian Barnes know that Terina Puriri would be ripping off ageing tourist on their one holiday of a lifetime on a grand scale in 2009/10? Or is life imitating bloody art yet again?


Mademoiselle Catherine said...

Too bad the video has been deleted...

Anyway, I wanted to say that I read "Poo on ice" instead of "Poco on ice". Thank you for the good laugh :)

(and the captcha asks me to type "smscares". How strange)

The Wife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Wife said...

Chère Mademoiselle,

Your comment prompted me to search for a replacement of this controversial routine and, voilà, I managed to find one.

Here's hoping that it'll stay on-line un peu longer.

Merci et à bientôt,

lutz said...

hm. are we, in the end, mainly looking for earnestness, or sth like authenticity beneath or in transcultural acts of self-expression? and beware of everything that is tied into the capitalist system? but then: where does authenticity start or end, and where is the line to commercialisation when it comes to art?

an example from canada. native hip hop. war party, "feelin' reserved"

The Wife said...

Oh I don't know, Lutz. I feel plenty authentic on a day-to-day basis: Authentically exhausted at the end of a long day, authentically exasperated during life-devouring meetings, authentically elated when running through the snow on a crisp winter morning. Certainly authentically angry. Most days.

Might it be that the institutionalised search for authenticity is yet another version of Arnold Gehlen's fallacious notion (which despite being utterly wrong nevertheless seems to underpin academic thinking) that humans are "Mängelwesen" - that is, that we are lacking in instinct (which is why we have culture - as a supplement)?

There was a time when this search for authenticity elsewhere (= as far away as possible) was considered a form of exotism, you know. I'm more and more inclined to see it as just that.

Mademoiselle Catherine said...

Oh! Thank you so much.
By the way, now I've seen it I wih I didn't...