The false idols of America's south seas fantasy


#1

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#2

Fantasy? It’s just as real as any Disney property found in an enchanted room!


#3

How come complaints of “cultural appropriation” rarely comes up when it comes to Poly Pop? Not that I’m lodging any now, but why doesn’t it?


#4

No big visible population of Polynesians around to object?

And it occurs to me: It is mostly about the props, not the people. The occasional fire dancer maybe, but Tiki culture is mostly about leaf roofed cabanas, statues, funny drinks and the like.


#5

Discussion of Polynesian religions is seriously wrong. It was not ancestor worship as usually understood … as in China, frex. The island aristocrats believed that they had power (mana) because they descended from the gods. They were the ones with the impressive genealogies (such as the Kumulipo). Commoners could remember a few generations only.


#6

This is so much a part of my childhood. In my town there was a restaurant with a tiki theme, although the menu was just standard American Chinese - moo goo gai pan and the like. But the menu offered drinks served in skulls with deadly warnings.


#7

Could they really be aliens?


#8

There was one of those near the SIlver Spring Metro stop in the 1980s. It was a little run down. As we walked in one evening the waiter was doing the Heimlich on a fat lady and I swear to god she coughed up what looked like an entire pork chop which she had apparently been trying to swallow whole like an anaconda.


#9

Close, this was Arlington, near what is now called Ballston. But I think they closed in the 70s when they renovated the vintage mall it was in.


#10

The Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Knob Hill is a classic. It has a lagoon which used to be the hotel’s swimming pool. The Fairmont itself is worth a visit because it is a grand old hotel and one of the few building that that survived the earthquake of 1906.


#11

My big kahuna CEO is a major Tiki guy (not-a-mega-millions-CEO)… It is always fun to visit his home because I get to sample his latest rum acquisitions and check out the latest tiki statue that he has commissioned. His wife is a graphic designer who kinda loves that Atomic Tiki vibe, so I guess that they bonded over that… There are always a few folks at his gatherings that he has met via his Tiki-bar adventures and they are always fun, but give off the same vibe that I get off of others that are a bit obsessed with an artificial “culture”. It is the same as when I visit my friend who is involved with medieval/renaissance stuff except there I am tasting different meads and checking out her new tent for the Pennsic Wars… All just different flavors of Nerd – Tiki-Nerds, Medieval-Nerds, etc (as a rigorously traditional Geek-Nerd, I find their failure to be authentic quite disturbing).


#12

‘The Heimlich’ ought to supplant twerking as the latest Reprehensible Dance.


#13

They all sound authentically drunk, at least.


#14

As a traditional Geek, I only imbibe the finest Romulan Ale analogues…


#15

I remember that place, I ate there once…http://www.silverspringsingular.com/2009/06/lost-silver-spring-luau-hut.html


#16

In my experience, folks who are a “bit obsessed with an artificial culture” tend to be more thoughtful and responsible about it than the tailgating yahoos* wearing halfassed Indian headdresses and doing the Tomahawk Chop at ballgames. The people who ran the Tiki bar I used to frequent seemed to have a deep appreciation for it, while fully understanding that complicated frozen umbrella cocktails are not an accurate representation of authentic historical Polynesian culture.

* Yahoos, of course, being a truly artificial culture.


#17

Saturday afternoons I used to go a couple blocks over to the Thai Market, the thrift shop, and Atlantic Guns, all of which seem to still be around.


#18

Native Americans have local representatives and are politically connected enough that their opposition is well-known.

The Polynesians are far away and no one has heard any complaints, so it must be ok. Besides, we are only appropriating their culture ironically.


#19

Because you’re not exposed to the people who do indeed critique it?

And because people who are into “Tiki culture” are often white geek leftie types - the last time someone made a critical comment about Tiki bars on my FB friends list, a whole bunch of folks who would normally drop everything and run for a chance to be an ally about, say, white-on-black racism or transphobia or etc. completely lost their minds and got themselves so worked up into an orgy of self-righteous snark that it was completely insufferable.


closed #21

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