Cultural Appropriators Must Be Cancelled!

The prohibition against “cultural appropriation” seems to be in force now in Germany, just as it is on this side of the Atlantic.

The following report doesn’t mention it, but I would expect that “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would have to be cancelled, too. Not only is it an epic poem about Injuns written by a honky, but it even uses the word “wigwam”! Which is almost too much for a sensitive soul to bear.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from Junge Freiheit:

Discussion about “cultural appropriation”

Dieter Hallervorden: That is patronization!


With biting irony, the actor and theater manager Dieter Hallervorden got involved in the debate about so-called “cultural appropriation”. Regarding the discussion about the Indian chief Winnetou created by the writer Karl May, the 86-year-old said: “I think we live in a kind of sensitivity cult where other people want to dictate to us which slalom we have to use to go around alleged blunders in the future.”

Hallervorden attacked the advocates of a prohibition culture harshly: “I take it as patronization,” said the director of the Berlin Schloßpark-Theater. Background: The Ravensburger publishing house stopped the delivery of two children’s books for the film of the same name, “The Young Chief Winnetou”, in mid-August. Because one is aware “that we have hurt the feelings of others with the Winnetou titles”.

Also ban Goethe’s “Faust”?

If one followed this logic, Goethe’s “Faust” would also have to be banned, Hallervorden averred. “Because the way Faust approaches Gretchen is not only outdated, but downright misogynistic.” And he said sarcastically of characters invented by Walt Disney such as Donald Duck: “Talking ducks — don’t you do a certain animal species a bitter wrong here?” He could only recommend that everyone not take the topic seriously and “have a great laugh about it.”

Afterword from the translator:

Dieter Hallervorden also criticized gendering last year , calling it the rape of the German language. I call all of this the rape of humanity.

Unfortunately, all of this is nothing new. Over 200 years ago the busybody crowd around Reverend William Wilberforce did the same. They even had Cinderella banned, among many other fairy tales, because the story painted stepmothers in a bad light, and fairy tales in general were thought to take people away from “Christian values”— needless to say, it was THEIR “Christian” values.

And now the same crowd is coming for Karl May, a 19th-century German writer of travel adventure novels, ALL of which I read while growing up. Reading his books growing up made me leave Germany and Europe and have my own adventures. Pity, though, my collection of his books burned along with my house back in 2015.

4 thoughts on “Cultural Appropriators Must Be Cancelled!

  1. Well then, the entire history of Christianity and Christianization is one of cultural appropriation. Nobody knows the exact birthday of Jesus, but it was chosen to supplant the ancient native traditions of marking winter solstice. Every other major event was placed and designed to dislodge older, “heathen” traditions which were in tune with the natural cycles of the year and of life itself since times immemorial. They did this by taking over the form so as to give people the illusion of continuity, but changing the meaning. The same trick is pulled throughout all epochs of history and in all courses of conquest. And it will happen again, also to the conquerors. Everything is coming back around in cycles, bites you in the derriere and forces you to fight or give way.

    The tragedy in it is that usually the good is thrown out with the bad, so coming full circle doesn’t always retain something to learn from. The mention of the Hiawatha poem is a good one as it’s so examplary of where the literary creation of the “noble savage” comes from, namely the one good side of Christianity which fosters and nurtures genuine compassion (well, as long as you don’t demand it for our own pagan ancestry.) It is the force which at the very least ended slavery (no outside power stepped in and achieved that) and raised awareness how good intentions pave the road to hell in that our ways of erasing entire peoples and cultures in the course of proselytizing (apart from simple occupation for expanding our own Lebensraum) may not be the best practice to be consistent with our own moral values, or to please God if one prefers.

    Karl May was the German equivalent of that. His stories were entirely fictional and as inaccurate as the bits and pieces of information available at the time, (not that this is much better today, since people still believe any nonsense they want even when facts to the contrary are presented on the screen before them), also since he wasn’t even a traveller himself but, quite the opposite, was known for being utterly scared of it. If you give these stories to descendants of the native peoples he described and asked for a judgement, of course it can only make them cringe or even feel insulted. But this wasn’t the intent at the time, or the effect to be more precise, since you can’t safely assume that all that happened by design. You can probably say that lifting them on a pedestal of such bigger-than-life pathos was a form of overcompensation and rather ridiculous in itself. But it did help to create respect and a sense of duty to recognize these people as human beings with the same rights as we grant ourselves. If still to this day there are people who haven’t arrived at a form of normalcy about it, this is better than calling them names of something lesser. (Aren’t there certain “religions” who still retain such judgements about anyone not subscribing to the same creed, and which we even, despite all of the above, protect by shielding them from criticism? Go figure.)

    • What a sane and balanced comment, K., and I hope that didn’t come across as patronising.

  2. Cultural appropriation?
    If you are not a Westerner, stop using electricity.
    And IC engines.

    • That would be so funny.

      If I may be so offensive:
      All people of Asian origin run around in kimonos.
      All African / Pacific Islanders run around either in fur of Leopards / Tigers / Antelopes or skirts made frombushes.

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