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Life at № 42

Apparently “Chanel needs to understand Indigenous anger” over boomerangs

“If you are an Aboriginal person the idea that someone would pay nearly $2,000 for a designer boomerang is absurd. To pay that much for a boomerang would have to make it something of worth. A boomerang of worth would have been made by someone who knows how to make them. They would have been lovingly crafted. They might have been used to hunt.”

Source: Chanel needs to understand Indigenous anger. There’s nothing ‘luxury’ about it | Nayuka Gorrie | Opinion | The Guardian

Here we go, almost as if on queue. So I suppose I have to take back having said this was an issue of North American college students.

Ms. Gorrie’s article presents one ridiculous argument after the other. “If you are an Aboriginal person the idea that someone would pay nearly $2,000 for a designer boomerang is absurd.” Really? That’s the case if you’re Aboriginal? Does Aboriginal identity really factor into arriving at that conclusion? I’m pretty sure there are people worldwide, and of various income levels, who find the notion of a 2k Chanel boomerang absurd.

No doubt people associate boomerangs with Australia and Aboriginal people. That doesn’t however give Aboriginals some sort of trademark over the thing. Ancient boomerang-like weapons have been found in Egypt, Europe and even the Americas. That’s not to say Aboriginals aren’t entitled to a whole range of complaints; over discrimination, colonisation, marginalisation and so on and so forth- the thing is, resorting to this currently fashionable notion of “appropriation” advances none of those needed discussions. And starting a debate on which of our ancestors was the first to throw a stick in the air is hardly going to forward the cause of any disadvantaged minority.

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35 comments on “Apparently “Chanel needs to understand Indigenous anger” over boomerangs

  1. Esme upon the Cloud
    May 17, 2017

    That last line is so superbly you, and so absolutely on the mark.

    – Esme nodding upon the Cloud

    Liked by 2 people

  2. foolsmusings
    May 17, 2017

    It is this sort of idiocy that is leading people in the center to side with the right. They are unfairly associating those on the left with this type of stupidity but it is not surprising given the left’s reluctance to condemn it. People need to call out extremism no matter what side of the political spectrum they’re on.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mordanicus
    May 17, 2017

    Yes, I saw the title this morning. And I thopught yet another “cultural appropriation” BS piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruth
    May 17, 2017

    It’s time more center leaning liberals started calling these folks out on their far-left extremism. It’s gone beyond ridiculous. It’s embarrassing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • More than embarrassing because whilst people are discussing the price of boomerangs, nothing is actually being done to fix the non-boomerang-related-issues faced by people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ruth
        May 17, 2017

        Quite. Overpriced boomerangs will likely go the way of the Dodo while the people for whom this nitwit *thinks* they are standing up for will still face all kinds of real problems.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Sirius Bizinus
    May 17, 2017

    It’s at times like this where I’m reminded of the simple philosophy found in “Team America: World Police” :

    Liked by 1 person

  6. acflory
    May 18, 2017

    -cough- It’s not appropriation, Pinky, it’s exploitation. And just for the record, our indigenous people attach a whole lot of cultural value to these artifacts. As for the ridiculous price tag…’more dollars than cents’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • People can attach sentimentality to artefacts (or symbols), but that still doesn’t create exclusive rights.
      At various times Christian groups have tried to stop artists using the cross or images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, and they failed because these things have become part of the public domain. How much a particular Christian might be attached to their cross can’t factor into the decision of how/if another person can use it or not for their own purposes 🙂

      Like

      • acflory
        May 19, 2017

        Mmm….yes and no. Does any other culture in the world create and /use/ a thing called a boomerang? No.
        Do people who buy these shiny, fake triangular bits of wood use them for the purpose they were originally created? No.
        So why do these people buy them in the first place?
        Not as useful objects. Not even as objects d’art, but as symbols of the culture that created the concept. That’s exploitation.
        It’s like ‘champagne’. You can make as much bubbly wine as you like, but you can’t NAME it champagne.
        If people want to buy shiny, triangular wooden objects, fine, no problem. But don’t call those fakes objects boomerangs.

        Like

      • Here’s an interesting bit of history by the Boomerang Association of Australia 😀
        From what I can piece together, the word was popularised in the 20th century by toy manufacturers. That’s how it became a household word. I myself had boomerangs as a boy until my mother banned any toy with which I could hurt people. I didn’t have it because I was interested (or knew anything about) Aboriginal culture, it was just a toy.
        If we were talking about something incredibly culture specific, there might be a case, but like bows and arrows, it was developed in most of the world. The word boomerang just stuck because of clever marketing- not because of anything specific to Aboriginals.

        Like

      • acflory
        May 19, 2017

        Just read that article and I’m not sure where you got the toy manufacturers from. The writer of the article goes to great pains to insist that there are two kinds of ‘throwing sticks’ and that only the returning kind is called a boomerang. The word boomerang is an anglicized version of ‘bumarang’. Btw, thanks for pointing me at that article. I wasn’t aware of the history until now.
        I am curious. Where else in the world was the boomerang developed? I know of spears in Africa but wasn’t aware of anything like a boomerang.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Everywhere. They exist in every culture. Even Tutankhamun had a little collection: http://www.touregypt.net/museum/boomerangpage.htm

        I did an image search for Boomerang ads and the earliest I found were mid 20th century. From there on there’s a boom and you find them in every language.

        Like

      • acflory
        May 19, 2017

        lol – no, sorry, that wasn’t what I meant. I interpreted what you said in the beginning as meaning that the word ‘boomerang’ was invented by a marketing campaign whereas the article you linked to showed the actual, historical provenance of the word.
        Since we started this discussion, I’ve been wondering why it struck such a nerve with me. I /am/ Australian, but I’m a first generation Aussie so I have absolutely no claim to indigenous culture. Furthermore, as you pointed out, White Australia has been less than kind to its indigenous peoples. And yet…so much of what we unconsciously recognise as ‘Australian’ came from aboriginal culture and language. You have no idea how many place names are butchered attempts to reproduce Aboriginal words…
        Maybe it’s a classic case of closing ranks against the stranger. We may abuse our own indigenous people but no one else is allowed to?
        Sorry, stream of consciousness going on here. A toy makes no claim to authenticity, but a wooden object with a $2000 price tag suggests that it is either a work of art, or genuine. And that suggestion is fake. Like a Mona Lisa with the paint barely dry.

        Like

  7. Arkenaten
    May 18, 2017

    I wonder if the Egyptians might one day take umbrage with the Jews over circumcision?

    ”Circumcision is ours. Your bible is bullshit! We did it first, around 2800 bce. Go cut something else off and stop appropriating our foreskin-less penises!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dpmonahan
    May 18, 2017

    I used to get mildly irritated by people assuming (for example) that because I was American I liked hamburgers and Budweiser. Hamburgers are more of a California thing and Bud is kinda gross; I go more for, I don’t know, chowder and bourbon. But, being something of an adult, I just grinned and let them enjoy themselves, because they meant no harm, and I have all sorts of shallow expectations of other cultures too. It is OK, no one knows your home culture the way you do, let them have fun.
    People enjoy feeling offended and outraged, it also gives them an excuse for moralistic bullying too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve Ruis
      May 18, 2017

      A California thing? One of the claimants to the invention of the beastie was in New Haven, Connecticut.

      Like

      • dpmonahan
        May 18, 2017

        I’ve always heard they were invented at the Chicago World Fair. The only people I have ever known to get excited about hamburgers are Californians who will wax poetic about In&Out until you want to punch them in the face: it is a hamburger, how good can it be? Midwesterners also seem to enjoy hamburgers (sliders) but without making a big deal about it; they get more excited about bratwurst or walleye fillets.

        Like

      • I always presumed hamburgers were from Hamburg… oops.

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        May 18, 2017

        No, the Germans had to name some of their rebuilt cities after American brands as a condition of the Marshall Plan.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Steve Ruis
    May 18, 2017

    Was there any aboriginal anger? (I live in the US where we don’t get any real news.) If not then this is another example of “me thinks thou doth protest too much.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • The article is by an Aboriginal (can I use that as a noun?) The Guardian gave it some prominence, but I have the impression it’s more about individual activists trying to draw attention to themselves than actual boomerang offence 🙂

      Like

  10. Really enjoyed dpmonahan’s comments. I really identify with him.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 17, 2017 by in activism and tagged , , , , , , .
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