Archive for November 16th, 2011

November 16, 2011

Slum Tourism

slum tourism by wesley allsbrook

Slum tourism is a type of tourism that involves visiting impoverished areas, which has become increasingly prominent in several developing countries like India, Brazil, Kenya, and Indonesia. The Oxford English Dictionary found the first use of the word ‘slumming’ in 1884. In London, people visited neighborhoods such as Whitechapel or Shoreditch to see how the poor lived. In 1884 the concept moved to New York City to the Bowery and the Five Points area of the Lower East Side were visited to see ‘how the other half lives.’ In the 1980s in South Africa ‘township tours’ were organized to educate local governments on how the black population lived. It then attracted international tourists that wanted to support and learn more about apartheid. Prior to the release of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in 2008, Mumbai was a slum tourist destination.

Critics say slum tourism, like poorism, is likened to a kind of voyeurism, exploiting people less fortunate, snapping pictures and leaving nothing in return. Some tours do use portions of the profits to help out however. They have also courted controversy because of disputes about their safety, and fears that they misrepresent local culture.

November 16, 2011

No True Scotsman

groundskeeper willie

No true Scotsman is an informal logical fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule. The term was advanced by philosopher Antony Flew in his 1975 book ‘Thinking About Thinking: Do I sincerely want to be right?’ Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his ‘Glasgow Morning Herald’ and seeing an article about how the ‘Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.’ Hamish is shocked and declares that ‘No Scotsman would do such a thing.’ The next day he sits down to read his paper again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, ‘No true Scotsman would do such a thing.’

An example of a political application of the fallacy could be in asserting that ‘no democracy starts a war,’ then distinguishing between mature or ‘true’ democracies, which never start wars, and ’emerging democracies,’ which may start them. At issue is whether or not something labeled as an ’emerging democracy’ is actually a democracy or something in a different conceptual category.

November 16, 2011


rapper ice cream by carrie anne brown

malibus most wanted

Wigger [wig-er] is a pejorative slang term for a white person who emulates mannerisms, language, and fashions associated with African-American culture, particularly hip hop in the United States or the Grime/Garage scene in Britain. The term is a portmanteau of either wannabe or white and nigger. The term is considered derogatory, reflecting stereotypes of African-American or Black British culture, and can be used pejoratively, because of its connotations of cultural appropriation. It is also often used in a racist manner, not only belittling the person perceived as acting black, but also demeaning black people and culture by proxy. Some, however, use the term neutrally, or as a light joke, without any racism intended.

The phenomenon of white people adopting stereotypical black mannerisms, speech, and apparel – which in the general case is called allophilia – has appeared in several generations since slavery was abolished in the western world. The concept has been documented in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other white-majority countries. An early form of this was the ‘white negro’ in the jazz and swing music scenes of the 1920s and 1930s; as examined in the 1957 Norman Mailer essay, ‘The White Negro.’ It was later seen in the Zoot suiter of the 1930s and 1940s; the hipster of the 1940s; and the beatnik and rock and roller of the 1950s.

November 16, 2011

Plastic Paddy

plastic paddy

Plastic Paddy is a slang term used to describe some members of the Irish diaspora, or those with no ancestral connection to Ireland, who appropriate (often stereotypical) Irish customs and identity. A Plastic Paddy may know little of actual Irish culture, but nevertheless assert an Irish identity. The term is pejoratively used to refer to people on the basis of their perceived lack of authenticity as Irish.

People who were not born in Ireland, and who did not grow up in Ireland, but nonetheless possess Irish citizenship and an Irish passport are often labelled as Plastic Paddies. The term came into common use in the 1980s when it was frequently employed as a term of abuse by recently-arrived middle class Irish migrants to London. It ‘became a means of distancing themselves from established Irish communities.’ And the use was a part of the process by which the second-generation Irish are positioned as inauthentic within the two identities, of Englishness and Irishness.

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November 16, 2011

Cultural Appropriation


Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation, the exchange of cultural features that results when different cultures come into continuous first hand contact; or assimilation, the process of integration where members of an ethno-cultural group, typically immigrants, or other minority groups, are ‘absorbed’ into an established, generally larger community.

It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, can take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held.

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November 16, 2011

Plastic Shaman

plastic shaman by bobby dues

Plastic shaman [shey-muhn] is a pejorative colloquialism applied to individuals who are attempting to pass themselves off as shamans, holy people, or other traditional spiritual leaders, but who have no genuine connection to the traditions or cultures they claim to represent. In some cases, the ‘plastic shaman’ may have some genuine cultural connection, but is seen to be exploiting that knowledge for ego, power or money.

They are believed by their critics to use the mystique of these cultural traditions, and the legitimate curiosity of sincere seekers, for personal gain. In some cases, exploitation of students and traditional culture may involve the selling of fake ‘traditional’ spiritual ceremonies, fake artifacts, fictional accounts in books, illegitimate tours of sacred sites, and often the chance to buy spiritual titles. In Nepal, the term ‘Chicken Shaman’ is used.

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November 16, 2011

Sweat Lodge


The sweat lodge is a ceremonial sauna and is an important event in some Native American cultures. There are several styles of sweat lodges that include a domed or oblong hut similar to a wigwam, or even a simple hole dug into the ground and covered with planks or tree trunks. Stones are typically heated in an exterior fire and then placed in a central pit in the ground. Early occurrences can be found in the fifth century BCE, when Scythians constructed pole and woolen cloth sweat baths.

Vapor baths were in use among the Celtic tribes, and the sweat-house was in general use in Ireland down to the 18th, and even survived into the 19th century. It was of beehive shape and was covered with clay. It was especially resorted to as a cure for rheumatism. Rituals and traditions vary from region to region and from tribe to tribe. They often include prayers, drumming, and offerings to the spirit world. In some cultures a sweat-lodge ceremony may be a part of another, longer ceremony such as a Sun Dance.

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