Thursday, July 7, 2016

Is High School Really So Horrible?

I revisited the House on the Rock today. While wandering through its endlessly bizarre and fascinating collections and the original house itself, which contains Asian and Buddhist statuary alongside statues of European saints and stained glass, I couldn't help but be reminded of what an idiotic bugaboo the phrase "cultural appropriation" is.

"Cultural appropriation" is one of the foundational methodologies and principles of the arts, in which fusion, hybridity, revisioning, and re-envisioning the works of others (and even supposed Others) leads to innovation, fascinating experiments, and things of great beauty (Eliot's "The Wasteland" to name one example, or the works of Salman Rushdie, Kurosawa, and Kojima to name a few others). Most creative acts, be they in fashion, food, literature, poetry, painting, film, or video games, are made better for the heinous crime of appropriating other cultural ideas, styles, and tastes.

What does this have to do with this article? Not much. However, it is one in which I suggest a possible reason for the existence of a trope (the "haunted school" that seems to me to appear in a lot of Asian cinema and video games) in a culture that is not my own.

Am I right or am I wrong to think that horror tends to reveal fears that are inspired by specific cultural attitudes and ideas? Beats me. But I think the idea that I want to kick around a bit is interesting, and being interesting is more important to me than shackling myself to only points of view that I have supposedly rightfully inherited.

Is High School Really So Horrible?

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