From what I remember of my Celtic lit classes, the traditional Irish way to dread the hair is by rubbing it in the viscera of an enemy warrior. You would capture one the night before a battle and the matted blood spikes would strike fear in the hearts of your enemy the next day. I’m not making this up.
So at the very least, white people who dread their hair with blood shouldn’t be accused of appropriation.
This is why I never got in to anime and magna and all of that. People kept telling me that watching Howl’s Moving Castle wasn’t the same as watching some other series that has lasted for 30 episodes. After hearing of that, just said “Fine, I’m out.”
Unless the name on there is Vinz Clortho, I ain’t buying!
Does Messianic judaism count as cultural appropriation? It is specifically a group of Evangelical Christians who designed a Christian cult with the appropriated cultural trappings of Rabbinic Judaism, with the specific (and, I’d argue, malicious) intent of trying to convert Jews to the worship of Christ?
Christianity started as a weird jewish cult off-shoot. So i would say there’s no appropriation if that’s where its roots are. Is tailoring something with the purpose of converting people morally reprehensible? Yes but Christianity is hardly the only one doing this.
Except that they’re not appropriating Temple Judaism, which was the root that they split off from. They’re explicitly stealing the cultural trappings of Rabbinic Judaism, the Judaism that has spent the last two thousand years being persecuted by Christians and evolving away from that common root.
I’m gonna go with misremembering. Or one of those situations where a teacher repeated bad ass myth without checking them out to keep students engaged. So what I remember from the various sociology, anthropogy, folklore, and literature classes where I read and wrote on these subjects. And the pretty decent amount of casual reading I’ve done on the subject since.
We have no literature from most Celtic cultures. As they were pre-literate. The Celtic literature we do have is from the Insular Celts (as in later/post roman British isles), after most of Celtic Europe ceased to be Celtic. Most of it is post Christian in origin. Though there’s a lot more pre-Christian material out there today than there used to be.
There are no (or very, very few) references from Celtic cultures to dreadlocks. Or really much on the subject of hair. References come from Roman writers, and are almost exclusively about the Celtic tribes that the Romans encountered in mainland, northern Europe. And most of them are vague. They may have been referring to dreadlocks. May have been referring to braids. Or may have been referring to lime washed hair.
There is a well documented history of head hunting, and ritual sacrifice of enemies/criminals among the Celts. Even the Insular Celts. But since the literature we have is late, often Christianized (so they wanted to make those pagans seem extra brutal), and almost always telling legendary stories of a Heroic past. Well they aren’t typically accurate portrayals of history, physical culture, or actual tradition. Just what later people felt sounded compelling as such.
IIRC. The physical evidence on the subject seems to bear out there is no, or very little tradition of dreadlocks during the Insular Celtic Period. Which is later, post Roman. Lime washing was still a thing. As well as a a bunch of other hairstyles. So that probably insular Celtic literature can’t be referring to a living tradition of dreadlocks (at the time it was written).
So if there a single reference to that. And I’ve not ever heard that claim before. Neither read that in a bit of Celtic lit. Nor seen reference to in in any of the reading I’ve done on any related subject. But if your recalling that bit correctly. It doesn’t necessarily record a real tradition (and probably doesn’t). And almost certainly doesn’t refer to dreadlocks.
Because you can’t make deadlocks that way. Hair will naturally matte and form locks/plaits if not cleaned, cut and cared for. But that sort of thing is the part we consider a disease of the scalp. Its purportedly very painful. Its never happened to me, but I have a cousin who was a particularly gross teenage boy once upon a time. Everything I know about history. All peoples, always, forever. Groomed themselves, including their hair. Some of the oldest artifacts we have are combs.
You can’t form dreadlocks just by rubbing crap in your hair. You have to deliberately matte (or lock) the hair onto itself in a controlled fashion. Usually by back combing (just like The Cure!).
What that sounds like is a description of lime washing. And this is the better (maybe best) attested Celtic hairstyle across all Celtic groups, along their long history (so far as I know). You take a lime bearing mixture, claimed to be made up mostly of ash. Or a clay with a high alkaline content. And rub it into your hair. Presumably its allowed to sit for a bit, and I’ve never been sure how much or if it gets rinsed out. The hair is pulled/combed back toward the neck.
It has the effect of bleaching the hair. Celtic cultures seemed to have heavily favored light hair, even as most of them didn’t have light hair. But it also had the effect of stiffening the hair and causing it clump into “spikes”. Sounds exactly like your blood shampoo.
So its possible that there was some tradition of ritually washing your bleached, sharp, mullet with blood before battle. But more likely what you’ve got there is a later literary exaggeration of lime washing. Ritual or otherwise.
ALSO: The Celts were very big fans of handle bar mustaches! To the point where many or most of their artistic depictions of men or gods have them. And a fair bit of the artifacts we have from Celtic burials are actually gold rings intended to decorate said mustaches!
ETA: Also check out the most famous Roman statue of a Celt. Often considered to be pretty accurate, though it is a Roman copy of an earlier Greek statue. So a couple steps removed from how Celts depicted themselves, and depicted in an artistic tradition with really rigid aesthetic standards. And the version we have is from a culture that totally liked killing Celts and had a habit of misrepresenting them.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if appropriation could ever truly be a bad thing. In the vast majority of cases, appropriation is transformative, meaning new works are created as a result. If I think about all the cultural “gems” that I value from my childhood to now, nearly all of them have had some sort of derivative work created by someone other than the creators, often derided by fans or “purists”, and yet none of those derivatives has lowered my enjoyment of the original works or universes therein.
My enjoyment of, say, LOTR isn’t diminished because elves, dwarves and the like have since been spread to universes far and wide - if anything, that fact has improved my enjoyment of the “original” or “pure” interpretation of those races when I re-read Tolkien.
In the real world, (and I know I’m risking Godwin’s Law here) is the appropriation of Nazi imagery or likeness in the likes of Star Wars or parodies based on Downfall, for example. I’m sure there are those that believe making light of the Nazi movement or historical drama is verboten, but the way Downfall has been appropriated has even been praised by the film’s director, suggestion that appropriation of the past was a necessary tradeoff for acceptance of the film into history.
points to antisemitic Christians saying ‘Ooh, nice Ritual there, it makes me feel closer to Jesus. Back off, Christkiller, I want it and I’ll take it’
The biggest issue with cultural appropriation is always power differentials; the dominant group picks out what looks interesting and trendy for themselves without care for the roots it has, while always discriminating against the group that they took it from–and typically discriminating against that group for practicing the very thing that was appropriated.
That’s the thing, I disagree. IMHO, Messianic Judaism as a belief isn’t in and of itself any better or worse than any other religion. It just has the same issues every other religion has - extremism, abuses of power in the name of the religion, etc. etc.
IMHO, and notwithstanding any issues of violence, bigotry, or authoritarianism, I have the right to believe what I choose to believe. I don’t have the right to impose that belief on others, and others do not have the right to impose their beliefs on me. I think you’ll find that a lot of the arguments against appropriation are made not because of the appropriation is bad per se, but because those doing the appropriating are violating the stance above.
I don’t contend that makes appropriation wrong. I do contend it makes acceptance of brutish behaviour wrong, regardless of context.
I’d love to see how Christian African Americans would respond to the notion that Christianity is appropriating white culture. Which yes, I realize some elements of the black community itself does indeed say. Still idiotic, I personally view cultural appropriation as good.
I’ve been into anime pretty heavily for about 26 years, and I can say without doubt that those people who told you that are idiots. Do yourself a favor and watch the Studio Ghibli stuff, most of it. And some other key stuff. Many/most anime series are derivative shit.
I find anime fandoms to be really tiresome or obnoxious. My MO thus far has been to actively ignore what other people say, i mainly go off of discovering things naturally on my own or will occasionally ask my younger brother what he’s seen that he recommends. I tend to trust his picks for interesting things to watch.
Isn’t there some kind of Thing wherein non-members of some oppressed group or another will be viciously ostracized upon attempting to join members of said group in fighting said oppression, on the basis that those who are unwilling to stand such ostracizing clearly aren’t prepared to dedicate themselves sufficiently to the cause? I seem to have read about that numerous times as of late, though I can’t seem to find an appropriate example at the moment.