The dead end of “culturally appropriate” art

These two things are important to remember. The logical conclusion of ‘cultural appropriation’ is solipsism. And talent isn’t fair.

Nick Cohen: Writing from London

openingaddress_bwf16_imagebydanielseedStandpoint October 2016

Can there be a culturally appropriate art? There is no shortage of activists arguing for one, and they are arguing for something new and sinister, in free societies at least.

Let me be clear about the stakes. Artists reflect the ideas of their times, and nearly all Western novels and dramas now treat, say, gays and lesbians sympathetically. They are a world away from the thrillers of the 1970s in which the lisping homosexual was invariably the villain. Such stereotypes are not the issue today. Nor is the argument about whether a male novelist can create convincing female characters or vice versa or a white novelist create a convincing black character or vice versa. Readers have always been able to complain that a novelist has produced inauthentic work. Rather than an argument about what is said, we have an argument about what right artists have to speak…

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About Rebecca Tun

According to me, I like lists. View all posts by Rebecca Tun

One response to “The dead end of “culturally appropriate” art

  • evilhippo

    The whole notion of ‘cultural appropriation’ has its roots in 19th Century ‘Romantic Nationalism’ and then the follow-on from that, 20th Century ‘Ethnic Fascism’: a collectivist notion that some spiritual volk ‘owns’ a culture and its purity must be defended against the abominated other.

    It is just the latest iteration of toxic collectivist identity politics.

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