Back Away From That Pizza!

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

In June, a group of self-righteous crusaders from 189 countries calling themselves “indigenous advocates” met as part of “a specialized international committee within the World Intellectual Property Organization…, a United Nations agency.”

The group urged the UN to make “cultural appropriation” illegal world-wide.

“Cultural appropriation” is defined as the adoption or unauthorized use by one culture of another culture’s language, dress, folklore, cuisine, dance, music, traditional medicine, religious symbols and/or other traditions which activists imagine to be violations of the collective intellectual property rights of the originating culture.

They’ve been chewing it over for more than half a generation: “[T]he committee has been working on creating…international law that would expand intellectual-property regulations…” since 2001.

They’re deadly serious, too: “James Anaya, dean of law at the University of Colorado, said the UN’s…document should ‘obligate states to create effective criminal and civil enforcement procedures to recognize and prevent the non-consensual taking and illegitimate possession, sale and export of traditional cultural expressions.’“

Got that? Criminal enforcement and civil liabilities. Ironically, the activists “criminally” violated their own proposed orthodoxy on “non-consensual taking.” The English words “culture” and “appropriate” were appropriated from Latin. So, via Old French, was “consent.”

In fact, if all the words appropriated from non-English sources were removed from this sentence, “Delegates from 189 countries…are in Geneva this week as part of a specialized international committee within the World Intellectual Property Organization,” it would read, “_____________.”

Emotionally-adolescent campus cultural militants are already on board. But, taking the “heritage” crusaders’ proposition beyond its already-illogical conclusion, many of us, especially undergraduates, might starve, because the pizza shops in every college town in America would necessarily close. Since it was originally “appropriated” from China, Italians and Italian restaurants would no longer be allowed to consume or serve pasta.

If the UN were to apply cultural appropriation bans fairly and comprehensively, the world economy would collapse. The rest of the world could not “appropriate” uniquely American traditions and inventions, either.

The rest of the world would have to give up automobiles, electricity, telephones, the transistor, microprocessors, digital and personal computing, the Internet, social media, chemotherapy and other wonder drugs, baseball, basketball, zippers, Velcro, traffic signals, microwave ovens, assembly line manufacturing, the global positioning/navigation satellite system, air traffic control, video games, washing machines, televisions, industrial robots, lasers, ice cream cones, “bendy” straws, fortune cookies (uh-huh, American), peanut butter, blue jeans, electric guitars, rock-and-roll, blues music and jazz, among many thousands of other American innovations.

Humorless social justice warriors cannot seem to grasp the concept that the cross-popularity of cultural elements, especially in America’s melting-pot, isn’t so much appropriation as is it is appreciation for the foods, traditions and practical applications of useful, pleasant, attractive and/or tasty products, designs and ideas. They clearly don’t understand that denying things to willing consumers simply for having the “wrong” DNA is the most moronic sort of racism.

Rather than cultural purity, left-wing culture enforcers seek control. But, until these self-appointed no-fun nannies give up, we can enjoy ridiculing them.