Appropriate This

As I was getting ready to go back to London for a few days, I did as I always do and started digging around for my favorite clothes, shoes, and accessories, being frustrated all the while by the fact that I mostly wear adult Garanimals (i.e., all black), which makes distinguishing one piece from another difficult without my glasses, which I also could not find. Not being able to rock any terribly original outfits at the moment thanks to the limitations created by having a cast up to one’s knee, I accessorize to emphasize and as such went in search of a very specific pair of large gold hoops I bought a few trips ago, knowing that they would add a little ‘yes, I swear this outfit was bought in this century and is not an oversized BabyGro’ legitimacy to my monochrome and monosyllabic ensembles. But as I took them out of their pouch to make sure they were intact and had not interbred with one of the long necklaces I often throw in with them, I remembered something I had recently read admonishing, “White girls, take off your hoops.” Without giving this moronic plea too much attention, I will summarize the story by saying that a Latina girl at the extremely pricey Pitzer College in Southern California decided that white women who wear hoop earrings are culturally appropriating from their Latina counterparts, and believed in her heart of hearts that this issue rose to the level of requiring an “all campus” email proclamation. We’ll just leave that there for a sec.

I lived in the UK for many years and while there became a fan of Rugby Union, and especially like national rugby competitions such as Six Nations and Rugby World Cup. The England v. Wales game is traditionally the biggest rivalry of Six Nations, and the atmosphere and camaraderie is second to none. Both nations of course have their official anthems, but the unofficial anthems of Welsh and English rugby are borne of a love of group drunk singing and were, I feel certain, chosen almost entirely on these criteria. The chosen song of Wales is Delilah, which makes more sense when you remember the god that is Tom Jones is Welsh; the anthem sung in unison by English fans is Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Less clear what the correlation is there, but it’s slow, deep, and easy to slur-sing, so I never had need to question it. Plus, I’m always enjoying myself when I’m at rugby matches, so I never have need to question anything other than calls which go against my team of choice. “Enjoying myself”: words millennials never use and do not understand. Anyway, over the last few months, feminists have petitioned Welsh Rugby to discourage or even ban (don’t know how you get 80,000 drunk Welshmen to do anything other than drink more, but okay, moonbeam) singing of Delilah because it is “a song about domestic abuse and could or may inspire acts of domestic violence as a result of its lyrics.” While you’re absorbing that, fast forward a few months to the fact that the English rugby team is being criticized for culturally appropriating Swing Low, Sweet Chariot because it is an historic slave spiritual.

Of course there are rampant and manifest examples of PC gone wild (which actually could be a show), with my home state’s University of Tennessee being one of the first large systems to try to dictate non-gender specific pronouns; staff at companies being told they cannot wear a cross while enacting policy to protect the rights of those who wear hijabs; people born without goodgirls being given primacy in bathroom politics over those who were. And on and on and depressingly on. Lately my writing has slowed to something more glacier-like than a crawl and has become as bland as a meeting of a feminist knitting circle as a result of my abject boredom with the current state of socio-politics in our country. Everyone is nuts, everyone screams, no one listens, no one reads, everyone assumes, nothing is off limits and everyone engages in sweeping generalizations. Ahem. But I’m not sure how I can ignore someone trying to take my hoop earrings or get me and tens of thousands of other people to stop singing songs. This attempted swipe at my jewelry choices coupled with an affront to my shower singing got me to wondering what our world would be like if we did all just stay in our box. Which is what the party of diversity really wants.

First, America, give back “Our Country ’Tis of The,” because has always been and always will be God Save the Queen. As for English, nope, sorry, the English had that first, too. And heavens how we effed it up. So now I’m afraid you’ll need to go and create your own language. And don’t even think about clicking, simple though it may seem, because that has been around for centuries and if you think borrowing English was a mistake, wait until you see what one of the Khoisan tribesman will do to you when you accidentally tell them you shtuped their mother when all you were really trying to do was say, “Pass the salt.” It won’t be merely a cup of lukewarm tea they serve you. Speaking of tea, hot tea as a beverage originated as far back as the third century AD in Asia, so sorry, hipsters, you can’t have that, either. Nor coffee. Nor pot. And what about hummus? Oh, that opens a big can of worms, both halal and kosher. And where does one even start with patchouli? Nor can you have even your haughty, judgmental, holier-than-thou, socially conscious nonsense because you lifted that from the Swedes.

Speaking of Swedes and all things Scandic, stop buzzing your hair on the sides with longer growth on top because you clearly appropriated that from the Vikings. Prove norse lineage at the barber shop or be denied. Braiding your hair on a hot summer day? How racist of you. I think a buzz cut might suit you better, though be careful not to too closely resemble a Buddhist monk, won’t you? And I’m especially sorry about this one, but no more dying your hair blonde or red or any other color you fancy. If you weren’t born a blonde and called “dizzy” throughout your formative years then you haven’t suffered the requisite amount to be entitled to fair hair now. I was born a redhead and the teasing was merciless, so I’m afraid that’s off limits, too. Aging, you say, has made your originally blonde hair grey? Fine, simply show up at your drugstore or hair stylist of choice with a birth certificate stating you were born that way and then you’ll be allowed to cover your decay. Sunscreen? Sorry, but I’m lily white and freckled, so my people need it more than yours. You can all just contract melanoma instead. It’ll take you longer for you to do so and die than it would me anyway. Speaking of freckles, they again were a source of constant derision for me as a kid, so no, they are not to be drawn on willy nilly for dramatic effect with a cheap drugstore pencil.

Born this way. Huh. Why does that sound so familiar? Wait, I know, because it’s the anthem of tolerance and of LGBQT rights. Odd that a sector of our society who want to dress as they please, color their hair as they please, sleep with whomever they please, smoke whatever they choose, be called by whatever term they prefer and have a wee based on the organs they choose instead of those they were given are the same ones who are constantly telling us to stay in our lane and attempting to crush our rights. I’m sick to death of militant personal preference being allowed to masquerade as social justice when the truth is that their definitions of what is “woke vs. broke” is entirely subjective and more fluid than Oprah’s waistline. “I’m sorry, we’d love to let you play our SJW game, but the rules are a secret. Good luck and death be unto you if you inadvertently offend.”

This religion over that one, my life choice over yours, this is mine and you can’t have it, why didn’t you accept this group or that. It’s a never-ending session of Peppermint Patty moving the football as Charlie Brown runs up for a kick. The problem, though, is that whereas Chuck ended up flat on his arse each time she pulled it away, these SJWs have in no way been made to feel the real consequences of the arguments they make. They either have not lived long enough to see out the repercussions or are too protected by the bubbles in which they exist to be subjected to the reality of the choices they would like everyone to make. They’re interested in only being comfortable, safe and certain that they will not encounter anything that will offend their delicate sensibilities. In other words, they want to be unchallenged, unchanging, same; that word which was today attributed to the questionable Congressman King, homogenous. But how can we “all be immigrants” and acknowledge that’s what made us, but not similarly recognize that everything we eat, drink, sing, wear, read, paint, dance, or believe is derivative of something that came from someone else, and more often than not, from the afore-mentioned immigrants?  It isn’t conservatives who want – nay, demand – conformity, uniformity and the boringness of beige,  but the ever ironic left. 

Robots have only algorithms and if/then logic — albeit complex — to guide their decisions and behavior and as a result struggle to exhibit human traits, understand nuance, accept unexpected variations or perceive or express emotion. How is living in such strictly defined limitations of what is socially acceptable to, or allowed by various groups any different? Stephen Hawking agrees that artificial intelligence will likely eventually overtake humanity, but when I look at the way extremists of all stripes would like us to live in society today, I cannot help but wonder if it hasn’t already.