babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » right brain babble   » body and soul   » Is the West Appropriating Indian Culture?

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: Is the West Appropriating Indian Culture?
glennB
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3993

posted 12 April 2003 04:44 PM      Profile for glennB     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Exotic made so ordinary

Is the West Appropriating Indian Culture & Commercialising it?

Stretch cotton yoga pants: $55. Henna tattoo on the navel: $15. Silk sari window treatment: $150. Nirvana-in-three-easy-steps: Priceless.

Easy exotic is up for grabs, from "chai tea" to Bollywood-inspired blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge. And it has become so enmeshed in everyday life that it's sometimes hard to recognize what you could call the "exotification" of Western culture...

[ 12 April 2003: Message edited by: glennB ]


From: Canada | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 12 April 2003 05:00 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I'm no great fan of Bollywood musicals. But whatever Baz Luhrmann may say, I recognized little of Bollywood in Moulin Rouge -- which I found wearying, overly obsessed with its own cleverness, and ultimately a sorry mess. "Orpheus myth," indeed. Sounds like Luhrmann's fallen into the familiar trap of believing his own publicity.

Beyond that, I don't understand Bahl's complaint about "appropriation" -- beyond of course simple irritation (which I share) with people who pick up the trappings of a culture, assuming that possession is enough to bring along empathy or enlightenment or whatever in its train.

But then, is it obvious that there's something coherent that can be lumped under the general heading of "Western culture" -- or for that matter "Eastern culture"? Surely India's as contradictory a place, as resistant to generalization, as any Western country, and perhaps more so.

[ 12 April 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mycroft_
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2230

posted 12 April 2003 06:05 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I saw Moulin Rouge with an East Indian friend. She loved it and said it must have been influenced by Indian musicals.
From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 12 April 2003 06:08 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, fair enough. As I say, I'm no expert. On the other hand, I enjoyed Deepa Mehta's Bollywood Hollywood.
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 12 April 2003 06:52 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You can't appropriate a culture.
(But then, you can't patent one, either.)
Cheap imitations of whatever happens to come into vogue... well, nothing new there!

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1752

posted 12 April 2003 09:32 PM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
don't mind the appropriation so much as the fact that it seems to dictate Indianness (or South Asianness, rather) to second-gen South Asians themselves. twelve or so years ago i was getting beat up on the playground, jeered at: "your grandma wears a Paki dot!" now it's chic. this is great, but who made it chic? not us. a lot of us still don't seem to have enough guts to use bits of our tradition, until pop culture fetishises these things. this is changing, though.

when i was in Europe, that desire for the exotic east was everywhere. a hostel-mate of mine explained that it's because of a spiritual vacuum.

i'm not a fan of Bollywood either, though i will grudgingly admit that it can have good qualities. Moulin Rouge, which i haven't seen, was definitely Bollywood-influenced; Zehra's telling me there was a popular filmi song in it: "Chhamma Chhamma." i've heard it plenty of times, as my relatives are Bollywood-loonies. i was asked to interview Mehta and some of the cast when Bollywood Hollywood came out, but that meant i would have had to see it...and i just had a bad feeling about a movie casting models and stand-up comedians, i don't know. so it was actually good? i love Mehta's films otherwise.


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 12 April 2003 09:44 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
and i just had a bad feeling about a movie casting models and stand-up comedians...

... and a professional wrestler, Killer Khalsa, playing himself.

The movie's a little rough around the edges, maybe, but I thought it was great fun and even poignant here and there -- dealing with the tension between straight-arrow parents and the grown-up children who "disappoint" them, kind of thing. Your mileage may vary, of course.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca