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What are we really up against in terms of tradition and "harmless appropriation"?

BearBear

Inkling
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana

But what if the past is horrifying. What if the past isn't worth remembering or is better left forgotten?

I suppose this is as good a justification as any so thus the past is rewritten and no one argues. Then just as easily, the past is rewritten for less savory reasons, like self-aggrandizement. If there's no one to remember it correctly, what's the harm?

Then even less savory: to cover up wrongdoings. Then for depraved and despicable reasons, or for straight up evil reasons, like to aggrandize the depraved and evil so they can do more wrong.

...

I finally understand the anti-traditionalist movement; however, who can be sure if your version of history is the right one? Perhaps it's just as flawed as the one you're trying to change?

If no one can know, is it right to replace a traditional history with one that's much darker just because you think it's more correct? I am not supporting toxic positivity here but I also don't agree with turning historically positive things into negative and shameful ones and with it replacing a traditionally positive time to a negative one.

Am I wrong to thinkhthe history is best left to historians, and to let the tradition stand on its own. Can we teach the truth but allow the celebration? It seems like we do have a lot to atone for as a species, and personally if we perpetuate wrongdoings, but for those wrongdoings we no longer perpetuate in particular, should we personally have to atone for them?

This may be too esoteric so let me reveal a good example: Thanksgiving -> Turkey Day
 

Queshire

Auror
Err.... while I get what you're going for I feel like I must say that Turkey Day is just a humorous reference to the dish most associated with the holiday and not the rest.
 
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana

But what if the past is horrifying. What if the past isn't worth remembering or is better left forgotten?

I suppose this is as good a justification as any so thus the past is rewritten and no one argues. Then just as easily, the past is rewritten for less savory reasons, like self-aggrandizement. If there's no one to remember it correctly, what's the harm?

Then even less savory: to cover up wrongdoings. Then for depraved and despicable reasons, or for straight up evil reasons, like to aggrandize the depraved and evil so they can do more wrong.

...

I finally understand the anti-traditionalist movement; however, who can be sure if your version of history is the right one? Perhaps it's just as flawed as the one you're trying to change?

If no one can know, is it right to replace a traditional history with one that's much darker just because you think it's more correct? I am not supporting toxic positivity here but I also don't agree with turning historically positive things into negative and shameful ones and with it replacing a traditionally positive time to a negative one.

Am I wrong to thinkhthe history is best left to historians, and to let the tradition stand on its own. Can we teach the truth but allow the celebration? It seems like we do have a lot to atone for as a species, and personally if we perpetuate wrongdoings, but for those wrongdoings we no longer perpetuate in particular, should we personally have to atone for them?

This may be too esoteric so let me reveal a good example: Thanksgiving -> Turkey Day
Are you talking about woke culture as usually gets called these days? I there’s woke and there reasonable changes and advances we’ve made as developed nations.

I’v read a lot of historical fiction, and I think the past can teach us a lot about where we are now and where we need to be going.

Sometimes it’s subjective in the respect that some people still like partaking in blood sports, or you have people who still practice FGM or polygamy.

FGM (female genital mutilation) for example is outlawed here in the UK (quite rightly so imo) but some still see those things as ‘tradition’ which is why it still goes on.

Fox hunting has also been outlawed but again, this doesn’t stop some people doing it. (I think it’s incredibly cruel)

Is this the kind of thing you’re referring to?

If you’re referring to thanksgiving being changed to remove itself from what it is, which is ‘thanking’ native Americans for ‘giving’ you their land then I suppose in some ways it’s fair enough. But that’s like some people not celebrating Christmas because it has Pagan origins. Most people don’t have bad intentions and just want to celebrate the holidays right?

And if you’re talking about literature, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with exploring history and the atrocities we’ve committed as humans. I’ve read a lot of wartime novels, and it’s hard to read about what the Nazis did for example but it’s important that we remember so we don’t go down that route ever ever again no?

I certainly don’t like watching a drama or series that tries to people please because I think it’s important to explore characters that are true to life. People in real life aren’t always politically correct or may make jokes that go a bit too far but that’s reality, and I hate it when writers try and be woke in that sense because it really isn’t true to life. We all have flaws don’t we. It’d be boring reading or watching characters who represent an ideal only.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
If you’re referring to thanksgiving being changed to remove itself from what it is, which is ‘thanking’ native Americans for ‘giving’ you their land then I suppose in some ways it’s fair enough.

Whoa, where did that idea come from?

Thanksgiving is just a time for giving thanks.... but it gets tied up with myths about the "first thanksgiving" being a feast shared with the natives who helped the first pilgrims survive the winter, hence the choice in food. The issue is these myths do already put a positive spin on a troubling history. But a holiday for giving thanks is harmless in its own right.
 
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana

But what if the past is horrifying.
Actually I would argue that it is precisely because the past is horrifying that we need to remember it. If it was all amazing then there would be nothing wrong with repeating it...
 
Whoa, where did that idea come from?

Thanksgiving is just a time for giving thanks.... but it gets tied up with myths about the "first thanksgiving" being a feast shared with the natives who helped the first pilgrims survive the winter, hence the choice in food. The issue is these myths do already put a positive spin on a troubling history. But a holiday for giving thanks is harmless in its own right.
I don’t think it necessarily glorifies colonialism but it only exists because of it. Only colonised nations celebrate thanksgiving.
 

Queshire

Auror
If you’re referring to thanksgiving being changed to remove itself from what it is, which is ‘thanking’ native Americans for ‘giving’ you their land
Ha! I've never heard of thanksgiving described like that. I love it.

That said, saying that Thanksgiving only exists because of colonialism strikes me as needing a big ol' asterisk next to it.

An autumnal feast day provides an opportunity to celebration of the completion the seasons long hard work of planting, growing and finally harvesting food. It provides an opportunity to slaughter excess livestock in order to ensure they don't overstress winter stores of food and provides a last chance for large scale social interaction before the harshness of winter clamps down on it.

Secondly, like many holidays its roots lie in religion. Many of the major colonial powers all came from the same general religious family and they tended to bring that religious tradition with them when colonizing, but I wouldn't want to imply an inherent connection between colonialism and those religious traditions. Frankly I lack the expertise to do so and I believe it would be beyond the scope of this thread.

On the actual topic of this thread, well, I'm sure that there are those on this site who can guess my stance though perhaps not the motives?

I take pride in my country. I take pride in my heritage and in our history. It is because of that pride that I can not look away. If there are warts. If there is shame there. If there is falsehood masquerading as truth I would face it head on and decide for myself what that means. To accept anything less simply because it is comfortable does a disservice to the legacy of the great men & women who built this country.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
I don’t think it necessarily glorifies colonialism but it only exists because of it. Only colonised nations celebrate thanksgiving.

That's kind of a weird take. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, Canada, a couple of Caribbean islands, and Liberia, and it comes from english traditions of celebrating big historical events with a day of Thanksgiving, which was eventually codified into a holiday. There's nothing sinister about that.
 
Ha! I've never heard of thanksgiving described like that. I love it.

That said, saying that Thanksgiving only exists because of colonialism strikes me as needing a big ol' asterisk next to it.

An autumnal feast day provides an opportunity to celebration of the completion the seasons long hard work of planting, growing and finally harvesting food. It provides an opportunity to slaughter excess livestock in order to ensure they don't overstress winter stores of food and provides a last chance for large scale social interaction before the harshness of winter clamps down on it.

Secondly, like many holidays its roots lie in religion. Many of the major colonial powers all came from the same general religious family and they tended to bring that religious tradition with them when colonizing, but I wouldn't want to imply an inherent connection between colonialism and those religious traditions. Frankly I lack the expertise to do so and I believe it would be beyond the scope of this thread.

On the actual topic of this thread, well, I'm sure that there are those on this site who can guess my stance though perhaps not the motives?

I take pride in my country. I take pride in my heritage and in our history. It is because of that pride that I can not look away. If there are warts. If there is shame there. If there is falsehood masquerading as truth I would face it head on and decide for myself what that means. To accept anything less simply because it is comfortable does a disservice to the legacy of the great men & women who built this country.
Apologies if offence was caused - it was unintentional - though many I do believe that many British people view Thanksgiving in this way. We see it as a colonial thing because as I say it wouldn’t exist without it, and there are both positives and negative to that particular history. We also view it as a time when North Americans are thankful in general and eat loads of food, namely food that the Native Americans would have shown the pilgrims how to cultivate and harvest - pumpkins, corn and yams for eg.

If you’re referring to harvest festival, then this derives from Pagan tradition, and is something we celebrate here in the UK although it’s usually celebrated around a month earlier when we actually harvest most crops, and it falls in line with the Autumn Equinox also known as Mabon.

And interestingly, we celebrate a very Americanised version of Halloween where children carve pumpkins and ask strangers for sweets etc. but before we had pumpkins from North America, we used to use turnips, which I recommend you Google because they are genuinely terrifying.

In the subject of why I mentioned the thanksgiving in that way was in line with the OP, opening a discussion about appropriation, and how we might celebrate things that have an uncomfortable history .
 
That's kind of a weird take. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, Canada, a couple of Caribbean islands, and Liberia, and it comes from english traditions of celebrating big historical events with a day of Thanksgiving, which was eventually codified into a holiday. There's nothing sinister about that.
Never said it was sinister or bad please don’t take it as that - but we don’t celebrate the holiday in Europe because we don’t have anyone to ‘thank’.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
Never said it was sinister or bad please don’t take it as that - but we don’t celebrate the holiday in Europe because we don’t have anyone to ‘thank’.

Err.... the thanks is traditionally directed to God.
 

Queshire

Auror
Apologies if offence was caused - it was unintentional - though many I do believe that many British people view Thanksgiving in this way. We see it as a colonial thing because as I say it wouldn’t exist without it, and there are both positives and negative to that particular history. We also view it as a time when North Americans are thankful in general and eat loads of food, namely food that the Native Americans would have shown the pilgrims how to cultivate and harvest - pumpkins, corn and yams for eg.

If you’re referring to harvest festival, then this derives from Pagan tradition, and is something we celebrate here in the UK although it’s usually celebrated around a month earlier when we actually harvest most crops, and it falls in line with the Autumn Equinox also known as Mabon.

And interestingly, we celebrate a very Americanised version of Halloween where children carve pumpkins and ask strangers for sweets etc. but before we had pumpkins from North America, we used to use turnips, which I recommend you Google because they are genuinely terrifying.

In the subject of why I mentioned the thanksgiving in that way was in line with the OP, opening a discussion about appropriation, and how we might celebrate things that have an uncomfortable history .

Offense? Not to me. I found it hilarious. It is the sort of statement that can be taken the wrong way by a lot of people.
Err.... the thanks is traditionally directed to God.

This. Also, before we start in on the stereotype of the ultra religious 'MURICAN it's pretty well divorced from its initial religious elements in modern day. Not quite as far as Halloween, but it's certainly less religious than Christmas.
 

BearBear

Inkling
Are you talking about woke culture as usually gets called these days?

When I first heard "woke" in say 2019 and they were changing the names of schools and streets I thought, "good for them." Then they were removing festivals and changing their names and this was business as usual which started in 2010 or before. Then radical groups were asking innocent people and children to apologize for historical events they no longer perpetuate and have never had any part of and asking for reparations for things they likely had no right to and it really polarized the movement. So I avoid it as it is defined today and I'll say no.

Is this the kind of thing you’re referring to?

The examples you brought up are pretty contentious and in that context very heinous so I'll say no.

Most people don’t have bad intentions and just want to celebrate the holidays right?

Yes, and this is a teachable moment but doesn't have to turn a traditional holliday into a reason to lecture and flog the innocent bystanders. Or to make 8-yr-olds feel guilty for living in the country, which they neither chose to do nor can do anything about. I think it's unnecessarily tearing down their self-esteem and planting seeds of self-loathing and activism that doesn't support a positive future for them or those around them. You could say I'm against poor implementation and allowing extreme radicals access to children's psyche. I would consider myself a radical in many ways but some guerilla tactics are wrong on their face.

it’s hard to read about what the Nazis did for example but it’s important that we remember so we don’t go down that route ever ever again no?

Yes, this is absolutely necessary. The changing of historical fact to make things more palatable is also wrong. Holocaust deniers whether WWII or other are also wrong in my mind. They're propagandists that could foster such atrocities repeating.

I hate it when writers try and be woke in that sense because it really isn’t true to life. We all have flaws don’t we.

I think we're (as writers) falling victim to advertising pressures I also agree with your sentiment.
 

BearBear

Inkling
Whoa, where did that idea come from?

Thanksgiving is just a time for giving thanks.... but it gets tied up with myths about the "first thanksgiving" being a feast shared with the natives who helped the first pilgrims survive the winter, hence the choice in food. The issue is these myths do already put a positive spin on a troubling history. But a holiday for giving thanks is harmless in its own right.

Yes and if Thanksgiving is changed to a time when we are forced to apologize for founding the country where we live it’s taking things too far. Regardless of having to apologize or not, it should be separated from the holliday and I think "turkey day" is an attempt to distance ourselves from the supposed historical wrongdoings. Still I think it's a poor implementation even if we as a country, historically, should recognize our wrongdoings. I still don't think modern day people living here 300 years later (or so) have any guilt nor should we be made to feel guilty.

This sparks the discussion if we should be made to feel guilty over dropping nukes on Japan at the end of WWII. At some point, no one alive today will have had any part in it nor should they be made to pay or be guilty for it personally. That's my point.
 

Queshire

Auror
You know, one of my friends once said that it seemed like I hate America. That was a strange moment.

What I hate is base and obvious attempts at manipulation. It cheapens the worth of religion or this country when people just... drape themselves in the trappings without giving any thought to what they truly mean.
 

pmmg

Vala
I live my life just asking what is true.

And I don't know what is true. I think it is true that many things can be true all at once, and I think it is near impossible for the whole truth of something to known or articulated.

Everyday is a war. One group or another wants to push some narrative, and the narratives are interested in agenda and not truth. All of this stuff has bleed over into and from narrative. And there is a contest between traditional adherents and those who question them. Even to the point of trying to rewrite it, and/or imposing values from one day onto another. I reject that.

I don't know what is true, but I do know many things that are not true. And most of what I witness, that people are excited about, mostly stems from things that are not true, and the energy spent on it is unfortunate.

Near as I can tell, there are many filters that people adopt, and the filters make things look one way or another. In some part, what appears true is just a matter of picking your filter. But if your filter is having you believe a lot of things that are untrue, you might want to question it a bit stronger.

And I'll say only this about thanksgiving. To me, it is a time to reflect on and show appreciation, for the good things one has, and their good fortune, usually in the form of reflecting on the people in one's life that have mattered, and having some humility. I am thankful for a lot things that don't have much to do with Indians (though in a broader sense, they are also part of making America and the world what it is), and I am even thankful for all you, even though the day has passed. You make my boring workdays a little less monotonous.
 

BearBear

Inkling
I take pride in my country. I take pride in my heritage and in our history. It is because of that pride that I can not look away. If there are warts. If there is shame there. If there is falsehood masquerading as truth I would face it head on and decide for myself what that means. To accept anything less simply because it is comfortable does a disservice to the legacy of the great men & women who built this country.

I have the awkward stance of 100% agreeing with you here and seeing that these words as you've spoken them here are now seen as politically charged and it's disturbing to me that "pride for my country" can be taken as meaning I'm a fascist and displaying the could mean I'm a nationalist (nazi sympathizer or worse) and calling the nation's founders "great men" supports colonialism, the patriarchy, oppression and bigotry.

My mind has become soup in recent years because of the vocal minority in these matters. It's nutters, rediculous, and hard to process how we got to the point of racism (against whites) and sexism (against men and straight people) to fight against racism and sexism.

I'd like to ignore the lunacy of it all but I feel I do so at my own peril. Do you follow?
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Never said it was sinister or bad please don’t take it as that - but we don’t celebrate the holiday in Europe because we don’t have anyone to ‘thank’.
No, but in most of Europe we do have a thanksgiving festival to mark the end of the harvest and here in the Nordic countries that's usually at Michaelmas.
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
Nations produce individuals, who subsequently partake in the continuous creation process of the nation(s) they are a part of. In other words, what you feed into a nation’s consciousness is what you’ll eventually retract from it, because people are developmentally affected by the culture surrounding them. Seen in this light I think it is of great importance to acknowledge the reality of our traditions and challenge them if necessary. Furthermore, taking a moment to recognize real historical/social harm does not invalidate a tradition, but give it a new dimension.

As for national “guilt,” I support it as a concept. Me and my countrymen regret out conduct in Indonesia (among others), my southern neighbours in the Congo, my eastern neighbours in all of Europe. It is this shared national “guilt” that drives a nation to make amends. The deeper such “guilt” is ingrained, the further people will wish to distance themselves from it. Without the “guilt,” there is no change.

I’ve put “guilt” in quotation marks because I don’t agree with the notion that it is a guilt in the same manner as regular guilt. Unless one is remarkably thin-skinned, I don’t believe they move through their day ruing their ancestors’ conduct. That would be a rather silly notion. Instead, national “guilt” is a shared knowledge of what is wrong as represented in one’s history. The “guilt” serves as a low in the national narrative from which one is to distance themselves. It’s not a personal failing, nor does it need to be removed. If anything, having that nadir allows us to visualize what we must strive to avoid.
 
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