Of all the strains of that debilitating mental illness we call political correctness, none is more threatening to our culture and Civilization than the faux phobia generated around the so-called crime of cultural appropriation. I’m an Irishman. How dare I write in the language of the English?
Without what they call cultural appropriation there would be no Madam Butterfly, no Turandot, Le nozze di Figaro. Nor would there even be rock’n roll.
It is bewildering. The latest – at least at the time of writing, and if I wait a few minutes it probably will not the the latest – outbreak of this malady is reported in Canada and commented on here by a writer in the National Post.
I have checked my white privilege, which may be balanced somewhat by the fact I’m a woman and thus a member of a group which on paper is chronically oppressed, which may in turn be offset by my relative age and affluence, which may be softened just a smidge (Note: not smudge) by my blue-collar roots and experience, which is almost certainly erased by my status as a cisgendered female, and can we all agree to just stop this nonsense now?
I refer of course to the latest twitstorm about Hal Niedzviecki, the editor of Write magazine, a quarterly published by The Writers’ Union of Canada.
According to a history written in 2007 on the occasion of TWUC’s 35th anniversary, the union then had 1,639 members, from which I draw the not unreasonable inference that its magazine, a professional-type journal alternately dreary and precious aimed at professional book writers, similarly is not read by millions.
Anyway, in the current edition, otherwise devoted to indigenous writers and writing, Niedzviecki wrote an editorial entitled Winning the Appropriation Prize, in which he began by saying: “I don’t believe in cultural appropriation” and suggested that writers should be able to imagine and write about, well, anything and anyone — “other peoples, other cultures, other identities,” as he put it.
“I’d go so far as to say that there should be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him,” Niedzviecki said.
Naturally, he joined the growing list of people who have committed sins against the modern orthodoxy and who for their troubles have been silenced or bullied and in some cases forced into abject apology.
(This is by no means a complete list, but includes Andrew Potter, the director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of Canada, who in a Maclean’s column observed an extraordinary traffic jam in Montreal caused by a blizzard and wrote that it revealed Quebec as “an almost pathologically alienated and low-trust society” and who subsequently resigned or was voluntold to resign as director; the Toronto artist Amanda PL, a non-indigenous woman whose gallery show was cancelled last month after she was accused of appropriating aboriginal culture by painting in the style of Anishinabe artist Norval Morrisseau; Candis McLean, author of a book that critically examines the 1990 freezing death of an aboriginal youth and whose speaking and signing events were cancelled in the face of protests organized by a University of Regina associate professor named Dr. Michelle Stewart; University of Toronto psychology prof Dr. Jordan Peterson, who had his knuckles rapped by his own university when he vowed not to use genderless pronouns.)
Read Blatchford’s full commentary here.
Take a look at this short horror film which peers into the future which faces us if we do not get a grip on this epidemic soon: