Friday, February 02, 2007

Cultural Misappropriation?

There's something that's been bugging me on and off for a long time, so I thought that I would ask people here what they thought about it. The thing is that, in some online communities, I have come across people who felt that anyone attempting to worship gods of another culture is appropriation, eclectic (used in a derogatory fashion), or "all paths lead into one" fluffy-ism. While I feel that a person who wants to fully participate in their own culture and strengthen it against modern commercialism, bad stereotypes, etc. (y'know, problems Irish culture faces), I find myself hugely, largely in disagreement about some of their accusations of "cultural misappropriation". Obviously, certain things always have and always will be cultural misappropriations, but I don't think that most of us who worship the gods of another culture are just a bunch of cultural thieves. Seriously, are we anything like, say, people who pay for the services of fake shamans, for example? I think not.

Personally, I worship Gaelic gods. I'm part Irish in my blood, but let's face it, I'm not even Irish-American, just plain ol' American. There are some things I want to do, like read more Irish history and lore and learn more Gaeilge, but I've got college to contend with... along with a mandated one year in a language they teach there, so yeah, I'm taking Japanese. That's just how it is. And if I went to Ireland (I do want to, BTW), my first stop wouldn't be to go do something uber-folksie Irish... no, I'd go see a metal show, get plastered, get to know some of the locals, and traipse around the island, repeating in that order. So ha!

I guess that, in the end, I go for a mixture of modern American culture, regional peculiarities, my American metal music subculture, and some Irish cultural influences, though not many. I don't "compartmentalize" though... for me, it all fits together quite nicely.

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