by Steven Craig Hickman
Milton Berle - Hound dog (1956)
Reading this stupidity in Current Affairs: The Question of Cultural Appropriation :
The trouble with Elvis’s version of “Hound Dog” is not that it is bad. It’s that it doesn’t make any goddamn sense. Big Mama Thornton’s original 1952 version of the song is sleazy and defiant. In a bluesy growl, she tells off the low-down guy who keeps “snooping round her door.” It’s a declaration of independence by a woman who is sick and tired of having a “hound dog” of a man take her for granted. The lyrics are full of dirty double-entendres: “You can wag your tail, but I ain’t gonna feed you no more.” In Elvis’s version, sanitized for a pop audience, the line is changed to “You ain’t never caught a rabbit, and you ain’t no friend of mine.” Drained of its original meaning, the song seemingly becomes about… an actual dog.
What a crock… As a one time ultra-leftist whose renounced his affiliations due to such idiocy as current Leftist ideologues spout, what I’m sick of is the moralism in all this cultural appropriation theatrics, as if Elvis needed justification for “not making sense” whatever the hell that is: sense for whom? Or for borrowing openly from a culture he admired and grew up with, listened too, and was shaped by. As if cultures were all separate entities back in the 50’s and he should have known better. So now will finger-whag at a dead rock icon and let all you living souls in on our police agenda. In attacking a cultural icon, the King of Rock’n’Roll the New Progressive pundits seek to say: Even the sacrosanct of the Pop-Cults is up for our Judgment. Here ye, here ye: we are coming for you, beware of our judgment day calls. You may be next… I imagine a new Uncle Sam sign with its finger wagging at you saying: Do not you dare step across theses cultural boundaries or else….
For the hysterical left who is bent on reverse McCarthyism and policing thought and cultural appropriation as the new censors and thought-Police? I’ll be dammed if I’m buying any of this new liberal progressive elite crapology while the Party itself seems bent on self-destruction and not taking its own failures seriously. When did the Left who was for decades against the moralism of the public sphere and during the fifties, sixties, seventies…. attacked the same in the Right, become so weighted with all this garbage ethics and cultural muck? Even cultural postmodernism of Jameson and others was not so weighted… this is recent and not a good sign for the Party or us… to top it off most of these elite pundits are themselves White-Anglosaxon peeps in cushion jobs or academic careers… what we’ve done is put up barriers and enclosures around various cultures as boxes and territories as if we’d learned nothing from Deleuze and Guattari…. as if suddenly to explore outside one’s own box were suddenly to have to meet the Cultural Police and make sure our papers were in order like some Berlin Wall of Culture… “no, you can’t use that, no you’ll need this form to use that, no we don’t allow you to change your appearance and look like us, no sounding like us is not appropriate, and don’t you dare steal our music, art, dance, etc. or else…”
To me the whole notion of cultural “ownership” puts this flatly within capitalist culture and logics, whereas under communist and progressive socialist tenants such logics has always been anathema since no one owned anything singularly, and all owned everything in the collective. What we’ve done in this new wave progressive bullshit is to reify the old class barriers rather than breaking them down, drawn ideological lines in the sand (you shall not take my culture? or else?), and put up new false sign-posts against collective solidarity through a false identity politics that pits even the various Leftists against each other based on race and culture, all under the false notion of social justice which was never to be used conceptually in this way. Rather than the cultural marxiism of the 40’s and 50’s with the Frankfurt school or even Jameson we’ve got something that is almost its opposite now. It makes you wonder who is truly sponsoring this wave or reverse McCarthyism in which the Left Progressive Church of Progress has become the Thought-Police with its White Anglo-Saxon Elite pundits sitting in their cushion academic halls or media chairs dictating this crap to all and sundry. No, just call me an Old School Lefty who has had enough of this strange new tendency which isn’t about emancipation but rather about policing the world and censoring those who do not sit quietly within the borders of their own self-imposed cultural prisons. I’ll have no truck with it, ever…
I’ve finally had it up to my neck… I’m done with the current Left Progressive losers and their pettiness and cultural politics. From now own their my enemy…
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