May 29, 2017

What if?

What if we appropriated things from other cultures but didn't make any money off them? What if we went to Mexico to learn how to make tacos and came home and made awesome tacos and sat around eating those tacos and drinking really good tequila with some friends and had a great night? Would that be okay?

What if I saw a beautiful Indian girl with a piercing in her nose and thought it added to her beauty and I wanted to add to my beauty, too, so then I paid a guy to pierce my nose because I couldn't handle stabbing that needle into my own flesh? Would that be okay?

What if I went to a blues bar in Chicago and saw an old black man play a haunting blues song and I knew exactly what he was feeling because, man, does love hurt sometimes, so I went home and strummed some of those chords and hummed the melody? Would that be okay?

What if I wrote a story from the perspective of someone who wasn't me because I wanted to try to understand what it was like to be someone else? And what if I shared that story in my blog online and people read it and identified with something in it? Would that be okay?

What if everybody stole things they found interesting or useful or beautiful from other cultures but nobody made any money from those things? Would that be okay?

Because if it's just the money that is the issue, capitalism is the real problem. So maybe try to deal with that instead of criminalizing people for recognizing the value in other cultures and wanting to make those things part of their own.

I don't want to go back to a world where cultures are isolated from each other, because isolation creates fear creates violence creates death.

Colonization is a problematic issue. I believe that we should study our own history and the history of other cultures and learn from the past and try to be kinder to each other. But I believe that we should move forward, too. You can only blame your abusers for so long before you need to take responsibility for your own life. Life isn't fair, and for you to expect it to be is naive and will only result in disappointment.

We live in a capitalist society. Unless you can think of a way to change that, maybe you should accept that people are going to try to make money in whatever way they can, because that is how we survive. Do what you can to promote education and compassion instead of pointing fingers and placing blame. If cultural authenticity is important to you, don't support the products of someone who doesn't have the corresponding cultural background, but don't actively try to destroy another human being for, for example, being attracted to indigenous art and incorporating some of those ideas into her own artwork. How do restrictions and limitation and censorship make the world better?

There is something so inherently wrong with the notion that making someone feel ashamed of their actions is the best way to change their behaviour. If you're trying to toilet train your son, is spanking him and yelling at him going to stop him from peeing his pants, or will a kind word and encouragement be more effective? Both will probably work, but what kind of individual are you creating in the process?

Now my ideas are getting muddled, but they're all tied up together, aren't they? I don't have a solution, obviously, but I know that the world will be better when we stop being so angry at each other.

I thought I was done with this topic for the moment, but now maybe I wonder if the people who are so indignant on the internet about perceived injustices maybe feel powerless in their own lives for some reason. Maybe attacking others gives them a feeling of righteousness to make up for a lack of confidence. Pointing out the flaws of others is often an indication of dissatisfaction with oneself. Bullying is a way of building yourself up.

So maybe what we need to do instead of complaining about the actions and attitudes of others is work on our own actions and attitudes. Start accepting ourselves and ignoring the mores of society and just do what makes us feel good and smart and beautiful, fuck what anyone else thinks. This is the kind of riot I heartily espouse, so I guess I will finish the way I always finish, by reminding you to riot on, but kindly, please, if you could.