The World Is Laughing

People have gone nuts because a kid in Utah wore a Chinese dress to the prom. But people who are actually in China are stunned by the idiocy of the reaction:

When the furor reached Asia, though, many seemed to be scratching their heads. Far from being critical of Ms. Daum, who is not Chinese, many people in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan proclaimed her choice of the traditional high-necked dress as a victory for Chinese culture. “I am very proud to have our culture recognized by people in other countries,” said someone

What’s especially hilarious is that some little fool wrote this:

My culture is NOT” your prom dress, he wrote, adding profanity for effect.

In reality, his “culture” has nothing to do with China. His is a culture of cheap outrage over issues of consumption.

29 thoughts on “The World Is Laughing”

  1. “Cultural appropriation” is one of those concept that have a core of truth but have been so bastardized they almost don’t mean anything anymore.
    That girl wore the dress because she liked it, she didn’t go yellowface in a mockery of chinese people, so, what’s the fuss?
    ‘“I am very proud to have our culture recognized by people in other countries,” said someone’ This person gets it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Part of the unease created by fluidity is a reflex for people to hold onto anything they can. Nothing is less fluid than genetics and so people grab onto that and externalize it by fetishizing cultural expressions of their genetic origin.

    At some unconscious level, a white girl in a Chinese dress seems like an assault on genetics (the last holdout against fluidity) and so of course it provokes totally disproportionate angry responses.

    It’s easy to mock someone like the twitter outrage guy (and I do too) but his is just another response to the fluidity sweeping over everything.


    1. “Nothing is less fluid than genetics”
      Yet, some people go as far as saying that there is no such thing as biological sex (or that there are more than two sexes).
      Curious how sex (not even gender, but sex) can be fluid but race (and somewhat culture) cannot.


      1. “as saying that there is no such thing as biological sex (or that there are more than two sexes)”

        There’s no contradiction between saying biological sex exists and that there are more than two sexes.
        It might be a tad more accurate to say that there are two primary (in terms of numbers) sexes (male and female) and an overwhelming majority of all people belong to one of the two, which is easily discernible through anatomy and there is a very small number of people that are not unambiguously male or female.

        A (bad analogy) might be hemophiliacs, they exist but no one would say their existence proves that blood clotting is a social construct…


      2. Yeah, this is the contradiction that the poor buggers still haven’t addressed. I’m observing their mental contortions with great fascination.


  3. Yes, cultural appropriation is a thing, but that isn’t it. It seems that some ignorant people have illegitimately appropriated the concept of cultural appropriation and trivialised it into meaninglessness.


    1. Cultural appropriation is fine, the problem is cultural misappropriation. Once everyone agrees with me on that, we can all enjoy arguing about which action falls into which category.


        1. Cultural appropriation is me opening a Mexican restaurant. Cultural misappropriation is calling it “Speedy Gonzalez’s: Food So Mexican It Oughtta Be Undocumented” and having a ‘Day of the Dude’ celebration every year.

          Or saying ‘nigger.’


          1. There’s a very successful French-American restaurant in Highwood, IL (a bit north of Chicago) called “Froggy’s French Cafe.” I used to eat there in the 1990’s when I was stationed in the Chicago area, and the food was excellent.

            Is the restaurant name appropriation or misappropriation? Or would some people just consider it an ethnic slur?


            1. I can’t imagine any actual Mexican having a problem with a humorous restaurant name. People who will have a problem are grandchildren of Mexican immigrants who don’t speak a word of Spanish and have zero contact with the actual culture. The very fact of minding this sort of thing is evidence of being 100% Americanized.


              1. “minding this sort of thing is evidence of being 100% Americanized.”

                Like this video (Chinese people eating Panda Express)

                The older people born in China have varying opinions about it and like some stuff while the young Americans just hate everything….

                Liked by 1 person

              2. I’m hardly an authority, but the Mexicans I know–in southern CA–aren’t feeling particularly secure right now. They might feel that non-Mexicans making jokes about ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ and being undocumented are about as funny as I’d find a bunch of Baptists starting ‘Shylock’s Deli: Authentic Jew Food That Won’t Cost You a Pound of Flesh.’ (I’d find that funny, actually. But still antisemitic.)

                And, yeah, you have to be Americanized to some degree (I’m not sure what “100%” means) to be confident enough to express outrage. My immigrant grandparents kept their heads down. “If you stick your neck out, it’ll get chopped off.” They wouldn’t have objected to a Bund rally. I’m not sure how that’s relevant.


  4. I think the fluidity argument doesn’t capture fully what’s happening here. One important aspect of the cultural appropriation rhetoric is the creation of the split between an ‘oppressed’ culture and the ‘oppressing’ culture. For example, no one complains when Bollywood movies caricature Americans or Western people in general. Or if a Chinese kid dresses up as Iron Man. The complains are always about white people appropriating the culture of non-white people. And the complains aren’t always by second-or-third generation immigrants. They are also by white people who see themselves are ‘allies’, on behalf of these hypothetically oppressed cultures.

    There is some virtue signaling going on here – signalling that you’re more virtuous than these other white people who don’t respect non-white culture. And there is some oppression Olympics, going on. The victim identity needs to be constantly bolstered and augmented. Look, here’s another way white people are oppressing us!


    1. “the split between an ‘oppressed’ culture and the ‘oppressing’ culture… The complains are always about white people appropriating the culture of non-white people”

      No matter how oppressive the culture being ‘appropriated’ is. It’s neighbors have lots to say about how oppressive China was (and is) and wouldn’t necessarily appreciate whinging about appropriation…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As I’ve said before, there’s very little difference between the logic of those fighting against “cultural appropriation” and the logic of those who believe that cultures and races shouldn’t mix (e.g., the Klan and segregationists).


  6. OT:


  7. It is important to keep in mind that if we want to defeat Trump in 2020, we cannot allow these kinds of “outrages” to happen. Non-ideological center-right people (think grandmothers) are going to look at liberal reactions and are going to call boy who cried wolf on us when we try to bring up real issues of racism. Chinese prom dresses are not a problem; Trump stoking hatred of foreigners in order to raise tariffs on China is a real issue. Note that one of these will bring jobs to China and help people get out of poverty.


    1. Absolutely. Absolutely true. Nobody wants to be on the side of these freaky people with their fake outrages.

      And it’s great to see you here, Ben. 🙂


  8. When I think of cultural appropriation I think of things stolen or “acquired” by museums. There’s a lot of Native American relics that fall into this category.


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