Halloween Costumes, Not Halloween Skinsuits By: Madona Lucine


Halloween Costumes, Not Halloween Skinsuits

By: Madona Lucine

I’ve been aware of the controversial nature of certain Halloween costumes since just such a controversy erupted at Yale three years ago. You remember that, yes? The controversy that began with an email and ended with two members of the Yale faculty resigning during the ensuing media storm? I will confess to a sizeable amount of blissful oblivion regarding Halloween costumes, because until I had kids Halloween wasn’t a holiday on my radar. I didn’t attend costume parties during college, so the controversies surrounding blackface and beer pong orgies without consenting young women wasn’t on my radar, either. Oh, those didn’t occur? Surely they did – we live in a rape culture, after all…

I digress.

I will also profess ignorance of the online “mommy” community to a limited degree. Since I generally eschew overhyped groups of the sort that populate social media, I never bothered to sign up after my first child was born. Given the saturation of “mommy” blogs, however, I can’t completely avoid them, and even find them useful, in a way, when I’m trying to figure out what mothers immersed in our current popular culture are talking about.

To say that I’m disappointed by these mothers’ superficiality is the understatement of the last decade. Hell, it’s an indictment of my generation.

Let’s take, for instance, a post that recently appeared on the corporately-owned Scary Mommy site, called PSA: Don’t Let Your Kids Dress Up In These Costumes. The post’s author, a mom who adopted four children, discusses the reasons why kids of one skin color shouldn’t wear Halloween costumes which represent fictional characters of another skin color. Yes, you read that right.

Since this controversy has now entered its third year, at least by my reckoning, the arguments urging me to avoid cultural appropriation in my children’s choice of Halloween costume haven’t gotten any smarter. Matter of fact, they’re not only rehashes of the original claim, which was stupid and racist to begin with – they are stupider. I’d even go so far as to say that the claimants’ attempts to kill as many of my brain cells as possible with their justifications have collectively approached their peak.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/ in The Atlantic points out that progressive activists of the type that would be most enthusiastic about cultural appropriation tend to be “rich, highly educated, and white.” So too, it seems, is Rachel Garlinghouse, the author of the Scary Mommy post; her four adopted children, ironically, are black. So when she says she’s okay with one of her children dressing in Halloween costumes from “The Black Panther,” I suppose it’s understandable why she’d feel this is appropriate. What’s inappropriate is a “rich, highly educated, and white” mother telling any other mother why adopting traits from another culture is bad.

Let me count the ways why her reasoning is bad. Wakanda, the land inhabited by T’Challa (aka Black Panther) and his people, is a made-up African country. However, Wakanda has all the hallmarks of African culture and magnifies a historical depth that isn’t present in most other superhero films.

… So while my seven-year-old daughter will proudly portray Black Panther this Halloween, I don’t think the white kid sitting next to her in class should. For the same reasons why a child not of Polynesian descent should not dress up as Moana.


I’m scratching my head here. Are you?

She’s okay with her child donning the Black Panther suit because A) her child is black, B) Black Panther is black, therefore C) her black child can don the costume. However, her child’s classmate is white, Black Panther is black, and therefore her child’s white classmate can’t be the Black Panther for Halloween. It’s the misappropriation of another person’s culture…even though she’s using the classmate’s skin color as her justification for why a white child couldn’t possibly be immersed in black culture. Every white-looking rapper out there, especially Eminem, call yo crib.

I don’t know if the concepts of skin color and culture are deliberately confused on Ms. Garlinghouse’s part, although I suspect it’s not done willfully. [They’re confused in schools starting in elementary.  When they asked for an essay on the family’s culture and older son wrote about geeks and scifi cons, he got slapped with how it was supposed to be about where his ancestors came from.  That got a letter from me and… it got ugly before I threatened them with showing the corrections this idiotic teacher was making on my son — by then a professionally published author — ‘s papers. But yeah, the left confuses genes with culture.  Just like the alt-right the ctrl-left is daft that way- SAH] Every social treatise I’ve read over the last three or four years on the subject of cultural appropriation has been put forward by an earnest (white) progressive on behalf of the poor, non-white, uneducated schlubs who’ve never set foot in the Hamptons (see, everybody, I can stereotype with the best of them!). Sure, they’re not steeped in the cultures their parents left behind when they immigrated to this country. Of course they wouldn’t appreciate a fair-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed child dressing as Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia in “The Black Panther” for Halloween. Noooo, a white boy cannot be Maui from Disney’s “Moana,” because only Polynesian demi-gods can have oily, frizzy manes and tattoos covering every inch of skin and screw up everything, which is why some not-a-princess has to save the day.

Of course not. The earnest progressive is nothing if not omniscient and proficiently knowledgeable in the cultural histories and traditions of the post-colonial, non-European peoples they promote in the West these days. [They’re not really knowledgeable of any culture beyond Germany and Scandinavia, and a little of England and Italy at the most stereotypical level.  TRUST me hon, I deal with this a lot – SAH]

Laid it on too thick for you? Then let’s talk about the reality of this ongoing farce.

I wish these progressive types would at least acknowledge that cultures which are not appropriated by society at large eventually cease to exist – as in, no trace of them can be found on the planet. They are not remembered fondly by anyone, because they’re not remembered, period. Your random Amazonian Indian tribe hidden from the modern wonders of the twenty-first century will remain hidden for good reason. Additionally, lamenting the misdeeds of the European colonizers who are still remembered and memorialized by everyone, even the grudging progressive, does nothing to further the non-white cultures whose contributions to society are only known because they were appropriated in the first place. And let’s not even mention that humanity being fruitful and multiplying was the death-knell of the claim that any culture would remain ethnically pure or insulated from the influence of other cultures.

But what does any of this have to do with Halloween costumes? you ask.

If the smallest minority is truly the individual, it’s astonishingly insulting for Ms. Garlinghouse to lecture me or any other parent on the Halloween costumes their children are allowed to wear due to, ahem, “cultural misunderstandings.” I certainly didn’t miss how Garlinghouse’s article was couched to appear as well-meaning recommendations, which is the mommy blogger MO, as far as I can tell. Provide suggestions I never asked for, because you have the platform on which to publicize those suggestions and be paid for it.

On this platform, might I make a suggestion of my own, Ms. Garlinghouse?

Speak for yourself. Your suggestions for the appropriate Halloween attire, in the context of your kids and their skin color and yours and what’s currently popular in American culture, mean nothing to me. Zilch. Nada. Oops, just appropriated a Spanish word there. Bad me.

This Halloween, my kids will be dressing up, respectively, as Disney’s version of Rapunzel and the Queen of Hearts. My children look nothing like either of these characters, although I giggle at the thought of my oldest yelling “Off with her head!” every other sentence. In the day and age where other parents are willing to give their kids space to express their preferred gender pronouns, I consider allowing my kids to dress as whatever they want to be for Halloween, especially if it’s a character of another race or whatever, to be a small thing. An extremely small thing. I have nothing against your kids dressing as the female Black Panther or a Disney princess who isn’t Pocahontas. Nothing whatsoever.

Allow me the same courtesy of not caring about whether or not your children’s Halloween costumes are culturally appropriate to the situation.

And if you can’t do that, remember that I’m not one of the people who decided to turn this molehill into a mountain. I hope and pray you’re prepared to proverbially die on it.

340 thoughts on “Halloween Costumes, Not Halloween Skinsuits By: Madona Lucine

  1. Imagine the “fun” if a black kid was told he couldn’t dress as Thor because he’s not Norse. 😈

    1. If these are the rules I don’t want to see any black Snow Whites, Asian Meridas, Hispanics Harry Potters, and so on. If we’re going to play this game then EVERYONE need to be held to it.

      Of course, I’d rather people just got a f**cking clue and chilled out, but more and more it appears that isn’t an option.

      Oh, and why the f*** is some white women adopting a black child…isn’t that cultural appropriation and cultural genocide denying the child its rightful heritage?

      1. No, no, no. You have it all wrong. White people don’t HAVE a culture to appropriate. We’re all the same, and everything good about us was stolen from brown peoples.

        1. Snow WHITE was originally brown?

          I know you’re emphasizing how foolish white progressives are but that is today’s smile line.

        2. This has gotten on my nerves more and more of late. In America alone, off the top of my head alone, we have Northeastern Guilty Liberal culture, New England Self-Sufficient culture, Southern culture (with Hospitable and Bugnuts Crazy subcultures which frequently overlap), Appalachian, Midwestern and California cultures which are predominately white. (*Maybe* not Southern, but we’re a special case in so very many ways…) Stop trying to tell me that Northeastern Guilty Liberal IS the only way to be, mmkay?

          Then again, the people who are telling me that whites have no culture seem firmly convinced that all black people have the SAME culture. *shrug*

          1. Honestly you left out Urban Black and Southern Black. I have even convinced my 88 year old Father that although Southern Hospitable is the apex, Southern Black is second, superior to Damn Yankee (your first two).
            I consider what you call Bugnuts to be more Southern Bubba. They have some rough edges, but while they love their Dixie, they aren’t racists.

            1. Yeah, I can get along with the Self-Sufficient subspecies of Damn Yankee. The Guilty one makes me want to slap them.

              I suspect that your Bubba and my Bugnuts overlap…I laugh at them sometimes, but it’s generally affectionate and not infrequently awestruck. (“You made that WORK? …but…HOW?” where *that* can be anything from backyard engineering to philosophical gymnastics). One of my favorite Bugnuts ever had NASA calling him once a year going “now can you come work for us? Please?”

          2. “Firmly convinced that all blacks have the SAME culture.”

            As evidenced by her “all the hallmarks of African culture” remark. The fact that Africa is a very large, very diverse continent seems to have passed her by.

            It drives me as much bug nuts as the idea that the only way to be authentically black is to embrace thug culture.

            1. …which was created and promoted by the likes of MTV and VH1.

              People tend to adopt behavior patterns by assmosis. And when they spent hours each day being indoctrinated, you can create something out of nothing.

              The whole “thug life” thing was a yuuuuuge marketing success.

                1. It’s sorta like learning by putting the book under your pillow while you sleep. Except it’s putting your head up your fundament.

                  Works about as well.

              1. If you recall when Amanda was going through Sowell’s book, though, it has its origins in Redneck culture. The turning into “thug culture” is an evolution, not creation from scratch. (It’s still bad and unhelpful to those who are trapped by it.)

            2. My best friend was a missionary kid (Wycliffe; they did primarily translation work) who lived all over Africa. I got disabused of any notion of a monolithic African culture WAY early.

            3. Never mind the entire Black Panther world was created largely by “white”* story writers and artists. * Some of them were Jewish which gets them excluded from this category some of the time…

        3. One of my younger sibs’ principals *actually* told my mother, to her face, “Lady, you’re white, you don’t HAVE a culture” when she mildly protested the Christmas program that had only two actual Christmas songs. She had no objections to the inclusion of Hannukah and Kwanzaa songs, but felt that, as it was a *Christmas* program in a community where most of the folks there were celebrating neither Hannukah nor Kwanzaa that more of the culture’s songs ought to be included.

          She admitted later that she was sorely tempted to strip all her clothes off and paint herself blue and go back and dare him to say that again.

          (Also note: the principal himself was white. But this was Colorado, so…)

        4. I’ve seen that one, too!

          It’s also what makes the “by white do you mean (huge list of the various European groups, then various other groups now classed as white) or can you not tell us apart?” when someone complains about something described as “Asian” or “African” or what-have-you.

      2. Let’s do the opposite of Snow White. I want an African-American male protagonist named Midnight Black who’s cursed by an evil warlock to remain awake constantly until released from that torture by an ugly old tattooed woman riding a Harley who bestows a kiss of platonic friendship on his cheek.

        1. At least consent isn’t an issue. The Harley rider can ask if a kiss is O.K.
          The prince is Snow White is a gropy-rapey frat boy that doesn’t ask permission, another taboo!

          1. While I have no use for folks screeching about the Disney and/or family friendly versions of the ‘true loves’ kiss breaks the spell”…the original fairy tales involved rather a lot more than just a kiss, and she definitely didn’t give consent, lol.

            (I was extremely shocked the first time I read an early version of Sleeping Beauty. Yeah, she didn’t get woken up by a kiss. She got woken up after giving birth–the prince having impregnated her and then gone on his merry way–and the baby, starving, sucked the splinter out of her finger. Yeah. O.O)

            That being said, the people screeching about the kiss ones are morons who need to shut up. Because her dying is better, right? (And one could argue that even though in the original versions of such tales, getting raped/impregnated whilst unconscious…is still probably better than dying, and all your people dying too.)

            1. On the other hand, that version is heavily literary, so we don’t know how close it was to the folktale.

          2. Of course, in Grimms’, he arranges the coffin to be moved, and it gets dropped, and the apple is knocked loose.

    2. Exactly. It’s a one way street for any “appropriation.” Lil Jose who lives in Mexico City but is visiting auntie in the states and gets swept up is perfect as Captain America* but not other way around. There is a caste system in the United States based on the Oppressionlympics.

      *note: No real issue with it personally. If I dealt with t/ters and saw that maybe be a chuckle or laugh. Be pretty impressed if one came up with the idea to transpose flags for captain mexico or canada. I’m very much a fan of ingenuity

      1. At the big Comic Con I went to last year, there was a guy from Peru who dressed as “Captain Peru.” Captain America’s armor and shield from the movies, but painted red & white with Peru’s National Coat of Arms in the center of the shield. It was awesome.

      2. IIRC the lead hero for Canada in Marvel Comics was named Guardian, and had a white and red suit exo-suit (not quite up to Tony Stark’s level) with a maple leaf design encompassing one shoulder. Don’t recall any Mexican super heroes; but that’s probably because I’m on the opposite side of the country.

          1. His spot in (my) history was assured when I saw him riding the penny farthing through London traffic at the beginning of Around the World in Eighty Days when I was six.

        1. Non-American superheroes aren’t very well known in the Marvel setting. There are exceptions – the various Excalibur teams have been made up of a mix of established (i.e. American) and British superheroes. So we do know of a few Brits that wear costumes. Soviet characters occasionally turned up as recurring bad guys during the Cold War, and could still theoretically turn up as Russian heroes. Canada had their Alpha Flight team (Guardian and Vindicator – both wearing the same costume at different times were both members of that team). China has a recurring powerful bad guy – Mandarin – which means that occasionally Chinese superheroes have to show up when Iron Man (or whoever) goes off to China to confront Mandarin. Israel has a heroine who shows up from time to time (Sabra). A German Nazi holdover from World War 2 will occasionally put in an appearance as a villain. And there are a few Japanese mutants that have made appearances over the years (both good and bad guys).

          However, these are the exceptions. The vast majority of characters are American. If any heroes who operate *anywhere* south of the US border have ever been identified by Marvel, I’m unaware of it. And these days, if Marvel did try to introduce a character who operated in Central or South America, and actually tried to do more with them than make them a one-shot character, they’d probably get hit with “cultural appropriation” accusations.

          I’m less familiar with DC, though the Justice League has had a Europe branch in the past, iirc.

          1. Shouldn’t they have been already hit with that “cultural appropriation” accusation because of Black Panther? And the whole Wakanda – an imaginary African country with customs imagined by two white American guys who had never visited the continent and probably got most of their ideas of what an African country could be like from Hollywood movies and some adventure novels and comics?

            If you really look at it, there probably isn’t all that much “African” anywhere in Black Panther, not even today, just what white, and now mostly white progressives, imagine it might be like. If that isn’t cultural appropriation I don’t know what is.

            1. Yeah, but from what I can figure, Wakanda would be considered the Atlantis & Shangri La of anyone on the African continent; aside from their not being a Muslim nation.

          1. He’s actually European. As in, he was likely born in Europe (probably the British Isles) a very long time ago. But between his incredible longevity and his memory loss, it’s hard to say for sure. The earliest thing that he remembers is living in Canada.

            1. Didn’t they do a stry where he was a boy and his claws popped for the first time to kill some bloke who was attacking his mother? Something like that, anyway. Thought it took place in the North American West.

              Or did that get retconned?

              1. His story’s been changed around repeatedly over the years. I have a vague recollection of one story about him leaving the Isles for the Americas with a red head (his adopted sister; iirc, he’d been adopted into her family, so there wasn’t anything romantic between the two of them). Once here, they end up bumping into a trouble-maker from back home (and said trouble-maker’s son, who’s hinted to be Sabertooth). The red head gets married to another man, violence inevitably erupts between Logan, the red head, and her husband on one side, and the troublemakers on the other. The red head dies, as does the trouble-maker father. Logan ends up going feral in the aftermath, leaving the distraught husband behind.

          2. and he’s the best he is at what he does…

            which is make piles of money in anything he appears in.

          1. In one of the information guides to the Wearing The Cape game, it was mentioned that many Mexican “capes” model themselves on Mexican wrestlers. 😉

        1. One character in Alpha Flight did the “eh?” thing. They were DELUGED with letters about how Canadians don’t all talk like that.

          1. And yet my Canadian friends seem to go out of their way to adopt a “Canadian accent” that wasn’t nearly as pronounced when I was a lad growing up in Vancouver.

      3. El Paso is the first place that I didn’t see a bunch of Captain Americas– I think I saw one or two, but they were all obviously military.

        The Empress wearing her brother’s old coat (which has a hood that mimics the mask) actually stands out.

        It’s sad.

        On the up side, Disney Princess is a universal, as is Black Panther. Not all store bought, either.

    3. And this is where “Intersectionality” comes in. It’s ok to culturally appropriate white culture, because “whites” have the “power” (whatever “whites” and “power” means) — including, in all places, India, where it’s ok for Bollywood to make a movie set on the streets of New York, because of all the colonialism Americans committed in India, or something…

      Of course, if you think about it, what this means in practice is that we now have rules that say everyone can adopt “white” culture, while “whites” can’t adopt any culture — essentially ensuring that obscure cultures will languish in obscurity, while “white” culture is permitted to spread and permeate all other cultures.

      This is the *first* time I’ve put such an idea down into writing. It’s pretty slick, and perverse, all at the same time, and it demonstrates one fact that’s obvious, but only because I now have the option of hindsight:

      “Cultural Appropriation” and “Intersectionality” combine together to preserve “white” culture, and to force all other cultures into extinction, by forbidding “lesser” cultures to share their culture with any and every person that’s interested in it.

      It’s beautiful and hideous and sick all at the same time….

  2. We’re dressing my 4yo daughter as a t-rex this year. (She loves Jurassic Park.) I’m sure there are some chickens that will be ticked off that she is appropriating their ancestral culture.

    1. One year older kid was a dragon, younger kid was a knight. Both mom-made costumes. I have a picture somewhere. It’s adorable.
      Note, knowing the two kids, I padded the head of the dragon to a fare-thee-well. Wich was good, because I KNEW that the knight would spend the entire night hitting the dragon with his plastic sword. The fact that the dragon made funny sounds and flared his wings when that happened was just gravy.

      1. My 4 year old terrified the entire neighborhood adults with Barney … Threatened to dance & sing his song … over, and over, and over, and over, and over, again (had those words on his little bag for his goodies) … they loved it. Have a picture of him in his costume. Made it huge for his Eagle Court of Honor.

        Why. Yes. We are diabolical. Why do you ask?

        1. I was terrified about 5 years ago when it seemed like every third trick-or-treater who came to my house was a girl dressed up as a prostitute (one claimed to be a stripper… never have I been happier to NOT have poles on my front porch). Ages were 10 or so, to… well… “authentic prostitute age”

          Never did I figure out where all these girls got the idea. There was nothing that I knew of in popular culture that would explain it (not that I’m hip to the groove or anything…). I almost turned off the porch light and didn’t have candy the next year, but all the little girls were back to being princesses and witches (and have ever since). Whew… man am I revealed.

            1. In my experience, the Venn diagram on that has quite a bit of overlap. Sure, most of them don’t actively put it on the corner, and depending on the place they usually don’t (can’t, it’s watched too regularly) make “dates” in the club (although I have heard wild stories about VIP rooms in some places), but most of the strippers I’ve known weren’t opposed to making a little extra cash that way.

              Not all of them though. I went to school with an enterprising stripper who made extra cash by selling her used underwear on the internet. When someone asked why, she said it was so she wouldn’t have to “put out” for extra cash like most of the other girls. She was a hoot.

          1. Hm. Some halfway popular movie? At least one sort of action comedy where one of those “Friends” actresses – the blond one who is still sort of popular and has a career, or at least had until recently – played a stripper came out around that time.

            Or it might have been some television series. Or some older movie shown on television just before Halloween. “Pretty Woman” or similar.

            1. And talking about “Pretty Woman”, I think I have seen an advertisement for a Halloween costume made for some pretty damn young girls, way under ten years old, which was basically what she has on in the poster somewhere online while looking for something else, possibly it was Amazon… talk about bad taste.

  3. Let’s be very clear here, Ms. Garlinghouse, like so many of her ilk is a flipping racist at heart. And unless she’s living in a mud hut and wearing hides she harvested herself, is guilty of appropriating from a multitude of cultures. So, we are perfectly justified in pointing fingers and making silly duck sounds to her face.

    1. I think she IDENTIFIES as an ignorant savage. And as we all know, identification trumps race, etc. So she can be anything she wants to be. So there!

  4. …the logic expressed by that woman isn’t really logic. Her kids are black, and culturally white if she’s white and raising them – I can’t say that they’re being raised as Americans as she doesn’t seem terribly American to me. So where is she getting the idea that they’re African? Like did she get them imported directly from Africa or something? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not legal any more.

    And what if one of the kids watches a movie or reads a book where there’s a white character they like? Is she going to tell them that they can’t like that character because you can only like characters that look just like you? That’s a really boring way to go through life.

    And are people like her really so racist as to believe that culture has visible genetic markers or something? Because that’s the only conclusion I can come to with how they act.

    1. The first thing to understand is that for white progressives adopted black children are not children, they are fashion accessories.

      Once you accept that everything else she does and says makes sense.

      1. Fair play; the children of White European Upper Class Twits of the late Victorian and Edwardian era were often fashion accessories, too.

        The wealthy and selfish seem to tend that way.

        1. Yes, but at least said upper class twits had the good sense to give them to middle class governesses to raise them instead of directly intervening to screw them up.

          Nor did said upper class twits claim they were super mommies and super woke (a phrase I’m starting to translate as the secular version of ‘elect’) in doing so.

          1. “…a phrase I’m starting to translate as the secular version of ‘elect’…” Ooh, stealing.

          2. Only if you define secular as referring to the religion of government. Has more religious overtones than some official ones.

    2. I have two friends who have adopted children from Africa — one family has a little girl from Ethiopia; the other family has two little boys, IIRC, from Uganda. So yes, it is possible to adopt children straight from Africa. I have no idea, however, if that is what she did.

      1. I remember coming ‘home’ to Iowa (my folks moved there the summer after I graduated from High School, so ‘home’ was kinda stretching it a bit) and seeing a farm family with five kids, each a different ethnicity (by appearance, anyway), waiting for a pair of Vietnamese orphan babies that were being flown in. Probably Vietnamese/American half breeds, as that was a big problem at the time. The Vietnamese looked down on mixed breeds. Don’t know if they ever got over that.

        All the kids were happy, loud, American kids from the look of things.

        1. A good friend in grad school was of either Korean and G.I. or Japanese and G.I. ancestry. Grew up on a farm, sounded 100% Midwestern farm kid, played banjo and mandolin. Loved real Indian and Southeast Asian curries. And served in the military before grad school.

        2. There’s a lot of prejudice still. Indeed, in Korea, being half-Korean/half-Japanese is the best, but still regarded as well, a half-breed.

          1. One time rising star in the old PJTV organization. Wicked commentarian.
            I really miss my regular dose of Zo Nation.

      1. They have also been taught that culture is rigid and immutable and that it must remain so for eternity.

    3. If she follows the usual path, she’ll likely try and familiarize the kids with elements that she sees as part of their culture.

      1. And which may or may not have anything to do with what is their actual genetic heritage.

        Talking about that, how about those whose ancestors include both black slaves and white slave owners? Guilty or not, and can she dress as Scarlett and he as Rhett? 😀

  5. What does it tell her black kid that she (!) can dress up as Black Panther, but that white kids aren’t allowed to love Black Panther and that white kids can’t admire a black character? I’m honestly not at all sure that this white woman should be trusted with black children. She inhabits (is creating) a world where white children can’t have black heroes.

    This really is no more complicated than this simple statement… “Your beautiful white daughters should never dress up like brown princesses.”

    There is no noticeable difference between white supremacy that wants to keep little white girls pure and the sort that uses slightly different terms and wants to keep little white girls pure. Keeping us all separate is what racists live for.

    “Appropriation” is nothing more than the mainstream ideas about culture or beauty moving away from a very exclusively northern european ideal to something closer to average. Something more inclusive and a bit more diverse, certainly presenting an ideal closer to the middle than at the far end of any paint-ship sequence. What’s clear is that some people don’t like this, not one little bit.

      1. Does this mean I am not allowed to consider Denzel Washington one of my favorite actors anymore?

        1. No, I think we are allowed to worship them. Just can’t pretend to be them, or the characters they play.

          You could probably pretend to be one of the villains his character beats up if you could find some black guy to play the hero he plays and pretend to beat you up at regular intervals in some Halloween party or such.

      1. I thought the Roman Catholic Church “appropriated” a Celtic Festival? 😈

        Oh, nothing wrong IMO if it did. 😉

        1. What didn’t the RCC appropriate? They stole their religion for Eastern Christians and their symbolism from western pagans and all their titles and uniforms from Rome government. 🙂

          1. Stole from Eastern Christians?

            Did you forget about Saint Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome? 👿

            1. Not at all, but Rome claims supremacy above the Churches in Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandra which predate it.

              And Paul was from the east and the Church in Rome was founded by people from the East.

              And I thought the was the list was phrased (along with the smiley) indicated a tongue in cheek question.

        2. That was Victorian speculation. It was wrong.

          1. All Saints’ was celebrated in the Mediterranean area for years before missionaries even ventured to Ireland. In April.

          2. The move to November was German in origin The Irish were late adopters of it, in fact.

          3. It was an Irish festival. Other Celtic cultures didn’t have it.

          1. That was Victorian speculation. It was wrong.

            You know, an awful lot of stuff that’s jacked up these days boils down to this…..

            1. Nod.

              There’s plenty of stuff out there “that everybody knows” that turns out to be wrong.

      2. And somewhere I should still have my “You’re a Goth? I didn’t see you when we were sacking Rome.” tee-shirt somewhere.

        1. My ex GF used to joke that she was so much of a Goth that her ancestors sacked Rome. (They did)

          1. Offworld Design used to carry a T-shirt “If you are really a Goth, Where were you when we sacked Rome?” It does not appear to still be on thier website.

      3. Eh. In Portugal tonight everyone goes to the cemeteries (there’s a lot of competition on cleaning the tombstones or marble graves and setting up the “best” flowers and candles displays) and then goes home for red wine, roasted chestnuts and talk of the dear departed. It used to be one of my favorite holidays.
        The dressing up is on carnival.

        1. Appropriation, eleventy– all the day of the dead stuff in Mexico is stolen from Aztecs, Portugal must return all dead-people related celebrations because NOBODY would go visit dead family on ALL SAINT’S or ALL SOUL’S.

            1. Probably some stuff came from that way, if only in the “pizza is Italian” way, but seriously– “Catholics are visiting graveyards on the day they honor the dead” is hardly something that has to be appropriated.

              Mostly I’m laughing at the “everything Mexico is Aztec” thing they’ve got going on. (Even if I am totally creeped out by some of the Santa Muerte deformations; doesn’t have to come from the Aztecs to make “we are deliberately invoking our idea of those guys” creepy.)

            2. That was a common Victorian hypothesis: it came from the Irish Samhain.

              But All Saints’ Day was celebrated in the Mediterranean area for decades before anyone ventured as a missionary to Ireland. And while that was in April, the switch over to November stemmed from Germany, not Ireland. The Irish were late adopters of the new date, actually.

    1. The current towel set is black, and the washcloth has the World Goth Day logo on it. No, I do not claim to be (a) goth, but there is some… awareness.

      1. Someone came up with a “goth pride” flag. I wanted to hurl. Of all the goths I knew one had seen it, one, in London, in the 90s.

        Then again, I have a five or six page print out of all the pride flags…my response was “really”.

    2. 😀 Some year, I am going to skip the faculty group costume and either go full out steampunk, goggles and all, or goth. Just once.

      1. Friends did a sort of steampunk-goth thing — top hat, tails, pink glasses, lots of clockwork trim, but all very mournful and dark. It looked *marvelous*.

        1. There’s a wee tiny bit of rivalry between the different divisions within the school for most creative costume theme. Just a tiny titch of competition.

  6. “….cultures which are not appropriated by society at large eventually cease to exist – as in, no trace of them can be found on the planet. They are not remembered fondly by anyone, because they’re not remembered, period.”


      1. And when I hear someone spouting it with any seriousness it becomes an emetic success…….

      2. I read an article about a guy who grew up on one of the reservations. When they played cowboys and Indians, nobody wanted to be Indian…

        I’d also like to point out that the Navajo have an annual Star Wars festival, and there’s an official Lucasfilm version of the original movie dubbed in Navajo…

        1. My dad use to get the Navajo AM radio when the weather was right, usually driving home from Nevada after dark– it was neat to listen to. Bunch of utterly unintelligible stuff and then “Ford Bronco” bunch of unintelligible stuff “Star Trek” bunch of still have no idea what they’re saying– you get the idea.

          Preserving the language: ur doin it rite!

    1. Someone surveyed a bunch of native Japanese on how they felt about a Western fad for authentic kimonos. Wasn’t this *gasp* cultural appropriation?

      And the Japanese were like — “Please, appropriate all you wish! Hardly any of us wear them anymore, and *someone* needs to keep the tradition alive.” Further, the kimono makers were THRILLED to have a renewed market.

      1. This. The only people who really care about appropriation are people in the West. When Scarlet Johanson was cast as Motoko Kusanagi in the Ghost in the Shell film, there was an uproar among many people in the West as the character was an ethnic Japanese living in Japan. Some people went to Japan to ask the Japanese what they thought about it, and the response was a shrug. They didn’t care.

        And then there was the casting of Matt Damon and others in the movie “The Wall”. There was an uproar before the movie was released because Damon was one of the main characters in a movie set in ancient China, and he was a white American. What the people complaining failed to note was that the filmmakers – i.e. the people who cast Damon – were Chinese living in China. This wasn’t a case of “colonialist” Westerners having the white man come and save the day. This was a case of Chinese filmmakers making what they thought was a casting decision that would bring in more money.

        (whether it was a good casting decision or not is anyone’s guess, as the film apparently wasn’t well-liked at the box office)

        1. It was a fun popcorn movie. IIRC the director just really wanted to do an action movie with Matt Damon.

            1. I’ve seen the beginning. Seems to be an okay action movie, but possibly a bit hard to get if you haven’t watched any Chinese movies – it seems to be something of a mix between western and Chinese storytelling styles, and while maybe more western there did seem to be enough differences that that might explain why it didn’t do all that well with western audiences (unless there was a boycott or something due to the perceived “whitewashing”… :D).

              I’m not exactly enthusiastic about those fully Chinese made films, but I have seen some before, and once you start to get used to the somewhat different storytelling style they can be pretty entertaining. But they do take some getting used to.

        2. Saw and enjoyed both of those, actually. Johansson is, IMO, quite the talented actress, and Great Wall was one of the better (read: more fun) Wuxia films I’d seen in a long time.

          1. People actually complained that her movements were stiff… in a movie where she was playing a robot. 😉

      2. Appropriate? The French have been trying for centuries to persuade people to adopt French culture, language, and the One True French Way… stupid foreigners just don’t understand civilized culture.

      3. Not only that, but some of those kimono makers would likely be out of business but for the number of non-Japanese who buy them.

  7. Let me count the ways why her reasoning is bad. Wakanda, the land inhabited by T’Challa (aka Black Panther) and his people, is a made-up African country.

    Yes, an African country made up by white people, so who is appropriating who here? Isn’t Wakanda itself a product of cultural appropriation and thus should be shunned by “genuine” Africans and people of “genuine” African descent.

    Why are those “genuine” Africans aping and celebrating the appropriation of “all the hallmarks of African culture” by white comic book creators to make a buck instead of castigating it like they should?

    1. Some have… or at least some people have. I’ve no proof of who they were or what race they were. But it was evidently common enough when the movie came out that some fellow wrote an article about how much his son loved the movie and loved pretending he was a King and that they ought to just LET HIS KID HAVE THAT.

      At the end of the day, it seems that some people just want to steal everyone’s fun and aren’t picky about who.

    2. #OreoPanther is not an authentic costume for anyone.

      It is only authentic for me to dress as Hitler, Martin Luther, Oliver Cromwell, Cotton Mather, Jeff Davis, Robert Lee, or George Wallace. It isn’t authentic for me to dress as Sherman because of the indian heritage, Arthur Harris because of the modern British heritage, Pat Buckman because he is fiction, or Temujin or the Qin Shi Huangdi for the obvious reasons.

      1. Heck, a week ago, I dressed as Queen Victoria at the college Halloween market. Did get some funny looks from two black chicks in the ladies’ restroom, though. Gotta admit, it WAS culturally appropriate!

        1. I know someone who employs a young lady with the career goal of being an editor. I passed on the website of your publishing business, with the suggestion that she get in contact and ask about your industry. I hope that’s not a problem.

          1. Not a problem – although we are a Teeny Publishing Bidness and generally do not have openings, I hang with a lot of other local authors who are looking for editors.

            1. I didn’t think you had openings. I know she comes from a bit of an unusual background, and is interested in knowing more about appropriate ways to develop the skills. Considering everything, I thought you would be the best contact.

              1. Hmmm … I sort of fell into it myself without any particular plan. I guess the best bet would be to totally memorize the Chicago Manual of Style, and start applying those principles everywhere possible. Without driving yourself and others nuts.
                We used to joke that the original founder of Watercress had been married three times; twice to mere mortals and once to the Chicago Manual …

  8. The latest (that I’ve seen) big kerfuffle (that should have been a big kerplop..) was that years ago some gal want out as a member of a musical group she liked and makeup was needed to adjust skin tone. This was done, from what little I saw, rather well. it was NOT the ‘blackface’ of a minstrel show (which is the image the term ‘blackface’ evokes). It was.. reasonably done makeup. That she has any grief over that show how dreadfully stupid things have become.

    And for anyone contemplating a “minotaur” costume for themselves or their child… I say “Go for it!” As if you need my permission.

      1. Exactly. Unless they’re a proponent of “one drop” rules, how does anybody get away with assuming (assigning?) what race anybody else is, anyway? And you’ve got to do that to decide whether you’re appropriating “somebody else’s” culture.

    1. Quite frankly, I was stunned at the time that Robert Downey Jr. didn’t catch flak for his role in Tropic Thunder. I suppose the reason why no one said anything was because everyone thought the movie was hilarious, Downey was so ridiculously over the top in the role, and there was an actual black character in the film who helped poke fun at the absurdity of what Downey’s character was doing.

        1. Speaking of Tropic Thunder…

          Apparently Shaun White (an Olympian? I’m not sure who he is) has been forced to apologize because he dressed as Stiller’s “Simple Jack” character from the movie. The Special Olympics went up in arms over this and demanded an apology.

      1. In my opinion one of the funniest movies ever, and in large part because it was so over the top. Sadly, just like Blazing Saddles, I doubt it could be made today.

          1. Mel Brooks once said that everyone involved thought it was hilarious fun, but even ten years later, it probably wouldn’t have been possible to make it.

    2. One of the local rock tribute bands (they’re really quite good) caused a fair amount of angst in the local papers when they portrayed Prince earlier this year. http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/entertainment/music/4498498-hairballs-use-makeup-prince-portrayal-raises-concerns

      For all the gnashing of teeth in the media, I don’t know of a single person in real life that gave a damn that the lead singer wore makeup to look like Prince. And since it’s a tribute performance, where they regularly dress up in full costume to appear exactly like the original performers, it shouldn’t be a deal at all, especially not a big deal.

      1. Um, isn’t the whole point of a tribute band to try to look and sound EXACTLY like the band that tribute is given to?

        1. You’d think so, but the liberals in the media down in the Twin Cities seem to think that just being kinda close should be good enough. They have too much time on their hands

  9. My favorite outbreak of this type has been pulled off the web so thoroughly that I can’t find traces anymore (not that my Web-fu is particularly i pressive);

    When Disney released COCO the SJWs, fresh of the fun they had indicting MOANA on behalf of the Polynesian peoples, screamed ‘Cultural Appropreation’! over the use of the Mexican theme, and before they could get up anything LIKE a full head of steam the Mxicans severally and collectively said “Sit down and shut up. We like it.”.


    1. A while back, Cartoon Network was afraid of showing Speedy Gonzales cartoons because of “racism” but the Latin American version of Cartoon Network showed his cartoons with no problems.

      Of course, Speedy always won when going against “Anglo Pussy Cat” or “Anglo Duck”. 😈

      1. As a kid, Speedy was one of my favorite characters. It totally has NOTHING to do with why my first wife was Mexican (or that her maiden name was Gonzales for that matter). It was just a funny coincidence.

      2. Friend of mine is from Mexico. He likes to tell a story about how when he was in college (we’re about the same age), some SJW types pulled him into an argument to try and prove that Speedy Gonzales was RAAAAAACIST towards Mexicans. Said SJWs were horrified to discover that my friend freakin’ LOVES Speedy Gonzales, and so did all the other kids in the town he grew up in.

        1. the old TV comedian who played Jose Jimenez has a town in down there where the character was supposedly from with half the guys named Jose Jimenez. I met one. His Green Card name was Joaquin Jose Jimenez de Silva, iirc, but he went by Jose Jimenez and had the voice down pat. “My Name . . . Jose Jimenez!”

        2. Hmm. I can just imagine the sputtering if one were to ask the frothing SJW “Explain to me how having the Mexican character be the HERO is racist? Are you saying that he *can’t* be the hero?”

          1. Dunno if he ever did that, but they were arguing that the depiction of the Mexican mice was a racist stereotype. My friend’s response: “Have you ever been to Mexico? No, not the resorts? I mean the little towns out in the sticks. I grew up in a little desert town, and that’s exactly what the people there are like. It’s not a stereotype, it’s a freaking documentary!”

  10. My kids are multiracial. Are there any acceptable costumes? No? Oh, well, I guess being excluded on account of race is the best way to avoid racism.

    1. No, see, you’re thinking about this wrong. American Culture is Appropriation. We appropriate all the things. Including genes. (My husband’s black, I’m white. Six kids. I appropriated the heck out of his genes.)

      Our kids can go as anything BECAUSE they’re the living embodiment of appropriation. Which is why mine are Death, a Girrafe, a Bride, a Guy with Weapons, and Sullen Teen Boys.

      1. Incidentally, what on EARTH do Shimmer and Shine count as? They’re genies. With anime eyes. And their hair is blue or purple/pink. Their skin is…kinda tanish?

        No more human than my son that went as a Rocket Ship, though.

        1. I suspect to the SJWs, genies fall into the Arab “grouping” (Arabic folklore) thus Whites can’t dress up like them.

          Wonder what they’d say about Barbara Eden playing a genie? 👿

  11. What I can’t figure out is where the lines are. The Broadway show Hamilton is celebrated for its use of minority actors and actresses to play historical characters that were actually white. But a child that might idolize a fictional character of another race can’t dress up as that character. Personally I don’t have a problem with either one but I do have trouble with the double standards.

    1. Ah. For the left it depends on whether you’re a protected minority and can do everything, or a “privileged” white male (their only “privileged” class, in their minds of course) who can do nothing. That’s about it, though they dress it pretty.

      1. “We’re not racist. Now, here’s a list of all the different rules for everyone based soley on whatever race you are. It’s really hard being an ally. Praise me.”

      2. The left is essentially gussying up and spouting Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad’s “the white man is the devil”, because when it comes down to it, that is essentially what the left is proclaiming.

    2. But but but…. What if one of my kids wants to dress up as a Hamilton character (they are rather obsessed with Hamilton after all) but that character was played by a black actor? IS it appropriation? Even if the historical person was white?

      It’s SO CONFUSING!!!!

      Jokes aside, this is exactly the point. The progressive Left is TERRIFIED that minorities will mix with those nasty white people, because if we all mixed together, then the lines would blur and it would eventually become impossible to pit one racial group against another.

    3. It’s quite alright to have a black actor play Johnny Storm (Human Torch), who’s blonde-haired and blue-eyed in the comic books. But casting a white guy as Sam Wilson (Falcon) would not go over very well.

      I really don’t have an issue with skin tone, personally, unless there’s some reason that’s particularly significant to the character’s established details. But my fear on things like the Johnny Storm casting I mentioned above is that such casting decisions might override the character’s original ethnicity. For instance, if the Fantastic Four reboot had actually succeeded (instead of failing miserably again), then you’d risk a situation in which Johnny Storm became so closely linked to the black version that you could *only* cast a black actor as Johnny Storm. And any attempt to cast someone like Chris Evans (who played him in the original movies) would cause cries of racism to erupt.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if such were to happen if a non-black actor were to portray Nick Fury in a reboot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

      1. Don’t forget also that the other two, at least decent if not great Fantastic 4 movies had a bleached-blond Latina woman playing the (genetic) sister of the blond-blue eyed Evans as well.

          1. the original comics yes, the ‘Ultimates’ reboot, he was African-american and deliberately modelled after the actor.

          2. The original Nick Fury in the comics was white.

            When Marvel created the “Ultimate Marvel Universe”, they had a Black Nick Fury whose appearance was similar to the Black Actor who played him in the movies. IIRC It wasn’t an accident that the Black Nick Fury resembled the actor. Oh, I thought the actor did a good job.

            1. The way I hear it is, they asked Samuel Jackson if they could model Ultimates Nick Fury on him, and he said yes — if they’d call him when they made a movie. They agreed without reluctance.

              1. ^ This is the version I’ve always heard.

                It helps that Samuel Jackson is a huuuuuuge nerd. He even tried to do Star Wars for free, if only they’d just let him play a Jedi and give him a lightsaber. (They paid him, of course, and they let him pick the color for his lightsaber. And if I recall right, he was one of the (many) actors who got chastised for making the sound effects with his mouth while they were filming fight scenes…)

    4. ‘Cultural appropriation’ is a power play. They’re trying to get people to believe they have to pre-clear their artistic and social interactions with the special precious ones of goodthought.

  12. In the context of kids Halloween costumes, at what point does it become dangerous to “appropriate” a character and go trick-or-treating?

    1. Probably only if you live in a VERY liberal area or the kind of urban ghetto that most of us are smart enough to stay out of even during daylight hours.

    2. Insulting or preaching at kids about cultural appropriation of their costumes probably SHOULD result in the “tricks” part of Trick or Treat.

  13. I maintain that Megyn Kelly’s mistake was apologizing. All that did was open the floodgates for more idiots to pile on. She -never- said “blackface”, she said it was fine for a white kid to dress up as Dianna Ross. If she had told all the raging offended peoples of DuhMerica to shove it, NBC would have been forced to go along with it. As it is, she’s out of a job.

    What we really have is -liars- saying “blackface” and screaming racism, because somebody called them on their bullshit.

    If the Japanese kid can be Snow White for Halloween, and you know damn well they love them some Disney Princess cosplay in Japan, then the white American kid can be Mulan. Or Jasmine, or Tianna, or whoever the F- they want.

    Dear Lefties who I know are reading until offended, this is your cue. White kids have the same cosplay rights as Japanese, black, Indian,Arab and Other kids. Cram your cultural appropriation BS where the sun never shines.

    And if not, then I better never see any black Vikings or brown Elves on TV ever, ever again.

    1. I can attest to the Japanese folks loving some Disney cosplay. As I walked no base last night for class, you would not *believe* the number of Japanese kids dressed up as Disney characters, or characters from recognizably American shows.

  14. “If the smallest minority is truly the individual…”

    Yea… so none of you all better be dressing up as ME for Halloween… that would be appropriating on my individual personhood… and stuff….

      1. I’m going as the (concealed) armed white guy, just in case any idiots decide they want to appropriate my daughter or her friends. Last year I went as Shaun of the Dead, no one messed with the bat.

  15. I have been: a geisha, a Wagnerian Viking soprano (think horned helmet, metal breast-plates, et cetera), Indiana Jones, Darth Vader, a Southern belle super-hero, road-construction project manager (wandered around with a thermos and a safety vest and assured everyone that the road would re-open in five to seven years if the weather cooperated), and a few other things over the years. No one every complained about a 7-year old red-head being a geisha.

    1. I keep it simple-Any time I dress up for Halloween its as Freddy Kreuger; got the costume years ago never felt the need to get something different.

      1. FYI, talking adult costumes for parties. As a kid-frankly I can’;t even remember what my costumes were.

        1. There’s a few costumes I remember wearing when I was a kid. The earliest I remember was a cowboy costume, which I think was mostly store bought, with some customization by my mother. One of the more different ones was a tree – that one was made by mother based upon an article, and had a bird that popped up from hiding when I pulled a string. In my teens I was a Star Trek red shirt one year – that was simply a case of cutting out a Star Fleet insignia copied from the Star Fleet tech manual, taping it to a red shirt, and wearing it over black pants. Somewhere in there was a pirate costume, I think, because I have memories of the hook arm hanging around for ages.

          1. Shouldn’t the red shirt costume have had some sort of mark showing a fatal wound someplace, because Trek redshirt? 🙂

            1. *snort* Good idea, but that would have taken more time than I was willing to spend as a teen who at 5:30PM on Halloween decided he wanted to go trick-or-treating one last time.

          2. I was Opus the Penguin one year. My brother had picked that he wanted to be the Banana Jr. Series 6000, so I went thematic. If we ever find the picture, I’m scanning it and sending it to Mr. Breathed.

      2. I saw a guy dressed up as Mike Myers as I was leaving the base for class about 945-1000 PM. Gave me quite the turn as I came around the corner and saw him. Had the mask down even though he was, presumably, headed home.

  16. From that “PSA: Don’t Let Your Kids Dress Up In These Costumes” — presented just as it appeared:
    As a mom of four children of color, I feel the answer is simple. Someone’s culture isn’t up for grabs as another person’s costume, even if that person is a child.

    Take, for example, this past spring. One of my daughters was preparing for her ballet recital.

    She rails against ‘cultural appropriation’ then tells us that one of her ‘daughters of color’ (later referred to as black) is doing ballet…?!

    Who appropriated what, again?? By this logic, her kids should be living in mud huts.

    1. So, she doesn’t want anyone appropriating the rich culture that rightly belongs to her “children of color”. But she’s perfectly happy with supplanting it with European White culture by making them do ballet?

      “Culture” isn’t genetic, it’s learned.

      1. Actually, there’s a lot of hard genetic evidence for personality and political leanings (which is to say, attitudes about lots of stuff) being inherited, and culture is basically an amalgam of the inhabitants’ personalities and attitudes, as filtered through the gene pool’s average intelligence and congealed into everyday practice. And before modern civilization, there was a great deal of natural selection via the environment. So the general thrust that creates a culture probably IS genetic, but subject to altered expression as conditions change (culture is, after all, an adaptive mechanism writ large).

        Trouble is, humans are SO adaptable (more so than any other creature on Earth) that the same people, dropped into different circumstances, may create wildly disparate cultures, even starting from the same genetic pot. There will be parallels, but also so much divergence due to environmental pressures (including other cultures) that … well, it produces the pseudoscience that today we call Comparative Anthropology.

        One could draw a parallel with domestic dogs… ancestrally all wolves, but diverged by selection and happenstance into breeds and bloodlines. While there’s tons of overlap in talent and instinct, and many can do each other’s jobs, a given breed will still behave more or less within breed parameters no matter how its genes are shoved around by training or environment, and it takes considerable contrary selection to negate this.

        Humans are not in some special way immune to genetic forces, even when striving for equality (whether of outcome or opportunity). We’re just more capable of adapting to, and ideally, overcoming them.

        1. You’re assuming WAY more genetic uniformity of, say, European populations that have distinct cultures than there is or ever was. This is an American idea of Europe.
          Europeans are ALMOST as mixed as Americans. They just refuse to accept it.Culture is culture is culture.
          Sure, if your family is all sloppy, you might be naturally disorganized. BUT is that genes or really EARLY training?
          We actually don’t know a hell of a lot about inheriting characteristics genetically.
          Yeah, yeah, twin studies. But the ones who turn out REALLY alike tend to be anomalies.
          Also, they’re such a small pool it proves bloody nothing.

          1. No, I’m not. Gene maps exist, and there’s definite clumping. Europeans, however genetically isolated or mixed, are still way more related to each other (and for that matter, to East Asians) than they are to native Africans (and v.v.) And metabolic chemistry (which is to say, brain chemistry) is basically the endpoint of DNA. It can be influenced, but only On, Off, and within its available range of actions. Not On, Off, or random indeterminate action. Sometimes the range is only ON or OFF no matter what.

            If you consider culture mainly as individuals and tribes, it’s messy. If you consider it as behavioral trends, it’s fairly consistent across broad swaths of humanity. (One I lately noticed at a very basic level: an approximately inverse relationship between “invented the wheel” and “human sacrifice and/or cannibalism”.)

            The main problem with human behavioral genetics is that we have relatively little pedigree info, and only a couple generations of observational data, so it’s still easy to naysay. In dogs, we have both pedigrees and firsthand reports of behavioral traits going back 40+ generations (just in my own bloodline, I go back 14 generations). Even across a broad range of environments, some of those traits come through to this day. You can try to feed or train them away all you like, but unless they’re selected out, you’ll get them again in the next generation. I’ve seen individual quirks that go back over 30 traceable generations, and have seen related animals with identical oddball mannerisms despite having never been anywhere near one another, let alone trained/fed the same way. Tell me that’s not genetic, and that humans are immune to this??

            [Right now I have a youngster in my kennel I swear is channeling an ancestor born in 1966. Alike as bloody clones 15 generations later, tho their lives couldn’t be more different.]

            1. It can be influenced, but only On, Off, and within its available range of actions. Not On, Off, or random indeterminate action. Sometimes the range is only ON or OFF no matter what.

              Problem being that with enough different “on/off or inside a range” options, it’s functionally “random indeterminate action”.

            2. But I did mean that Europeans are emulsified.
              So, it’s rather that you have ABSOFRACKINGLY no clue how different cultures are from European country to European country.
              Got it.

        2. For instance, do you know what the genetic markers for intelligence are?
          If you think you do, you’re wrong. There are so many of them and so many paths of arriving at “high IQ” that we can’t isolate any one factor. And they can all be infinitely fucked up or enhanced by things like how long you nurse and what you eat.

          1. I think it took 15 to 20 generations of selection to produce the Ashkenazi Jews’ higher than normal intelligence; and even then it’s only evident when statistically measured against large numbers of the population.

            What a lot of people miss is that same selection criteria ended up with a number of genetic defects associated with them also.

            1. They don’t have “higher than normal intelligence”. They have Aspergers.

              So they have a high percentage of people in their population who excel at all the shit that Aspergers magnifies, like math, physics, programing. Which -looks- like high intelligence, because it produces excellence in a narrow band.

              But like Aspies everywhere, they forget to tie their shoes.

                1. I am seriously starting to believe that the wound-up-like-a-top micromanaging geek girl, who is hyper sensitive and/or over-controlling, is a primary female expression of Aspergers.

          2. So far, about 500 genetic factors have been identified, and the more interesting part is that these factors also go generally toward better health (fewer genetic diseases).

  17. I leave for work before my wife. On the way out the door this morning, I saw a box of Wheaties and a butcher knife lying on the kitchen table. I knew then that she would be taking a costume to work…
    She’s going as a cereal killer.

  18. Tut-tut. My ancestors did NOT colonize the Americas. They were among the earliest of the Indigenous Europeans to reach this continent, thereby bringing the Rich Cultural Diversity of their people to this unfortunately too monoracial land.

    Not only did the Americans who wanted America only for the Natives NOT adopt the new immigrants’ culture, they STOLE children from their homes (ancestor Indian Billy Ice was one such hapless victim!), refusing to return them until finally forced to, by the British Army, after the Pontiac War treaty.

    I’m holding out for reparations – I’ll take a wee slice of a casino ownership.

    So, yes, I CAN dress up like my ancestor’s vicious captors, as my way of evening the score.

    1. I like that.

      “I’m not dressing up as [insert name of tribe here], I’m dressing up as a European colonist enslaved by [tribe name].”

      I’ve got a similar excuse for whenever I get around to acquiring an obi to go with my yukata.

      “I’m not dressed up as a geisha, I’m dressed up as a foreign ESL teacher in Japan at a summer festival. And how dare you try to erase my lived experience.”

  19. I should think the appropriate response to any adult criticizing your child’s Halloween costume on these grounds would be “Mind your own beeswax.”

  20. There is always dressing as a pumpkin. The truly amazing part is the holiday itself is cultural. I always considered it the American version of Oktoberfest or the Highland Games… celebrate after a successful harvest. [Which likewise would mean only farmers can celebrate.]

    1. I believe pumpkins are a New World vegetable – in which case, if you’re of European, African, etc. genetic stock, then by the PC rules you can neither dress like one nor eat one. (I think, but it makes my head hurt.)

      1. Ha! You’re right. Melons, cucumbers and gourds are from Europe and Africa… squash are from America. I thought that had to be wrong because everyone in the world grows and eats squash.

      2. Pumpkins are North American. Absolutely no problem ignoring them.
        Then, there is Chocolate. No way no how. Mine, Mine!

        1. I strongly suspect that even the most ardent SJW won’t mention “cultural appropriation” and “chocolate” in the same breath, because they KNOW that one will get them stabbed immediately, and probably by their own comrades.

      3. So all those PSL-loving folks are appropriating things *twice*? The pumpkins and the spices.

  21. They’re using our language, our law, our culture, and our government… smells like cultural appropriation to me.

    They should stay within their own cultures then, living in mud huts, putting bones through their noses, and picking lice off each other.

    Wait. “It’s not appropriation if *they* do it…”

  22. Worst thing about ‘cultural appropriation’ is that people admire the foreign they are pretending to be at Halloween and left wing types want to label it racism. North Americans live in multi cultural societies now and people wanting to dress as someone outside their ethnic background is good thing. Progressives are promoting tribalism in countries where there are eighty or ninety ethnicities from around the world trying to live together as one country/people.

        1. Speaking of assimilation how ballistic would the left be over a costume of the Borg Queen with Hillary, Elizabeth Warrens or Kamala Harris’s or one of the other aspiring Democratic Party god-queens on it:

  23. Instapundit noted the other day that modern musical notation is pretty much exclusively a Western creation, and is perhaps the single most revolutionary thing ever for musicians (with the piano being a close second, though the two are closely linked imo). I think it might be amusing to push back against those screaming “Cultural Appropriation!” and ask them when they’re going to start demanding that other parts of the world stop using Western musical instruments and notation.

    1. It is not just music notation. The note spacing and chord progression are all tied back to Ancient Greece. The modern notes are an artifice of equal tempering, early 1700’s versus the true tempering of fretless strings. Carlos’s Switched on Bach 2000 is a fascinating modern performance using a digital frequency synthesizer to revert back from equal to true tempering. And no, I can not hear the difference, but any major chord should have the 5th note more “pure”.

  24. More people need to be told to ‘screw off’. I normally use harsher language than that, but this is Sarah’s house, and I don’t want to get thrown out on my ear.

    You can tell that our society has a lot of extra time on its hands when people can get bent out of shape over a freaking Halloween costume.

    1. Yeah… a whole lot can be determined by what the “big” issues are, what sort of things are hauled out as proof of how awful something is.

      Such as… holding out as proof of how racist the country is because white children think it’s a great idea to dress up like brown heroes or princesses.

      Or how sexist the country is because old men say sweet things to women.

  25. “The Poulians existed.” Fred emphasized this statement with a number of thumps of his finger on the shiny display surface of his thesis advisor’s desk. “They were real. They lived on this planet, here, for thousands of years.”

    His thesis advisor, a women of not a few rejuv cycles, all but rolled her eyes. She did sigh, and audibly, too.

    “Fiction, Fred. Someone’s fantasy. Next you’ll show me the documentation. Trust me that you’ve found nothing new. They’ve got whole departments on this very campus that do nothing but study and explore those texts. Historical Realism! It was extremely popular shortly after settlement. I’ve never understood the appeal, myself.”

    “Because it’s real!”

    “No, it’s not, Fred. I shouldn’t have to explain this to you at this stage of your research career, but civilizations leave evidence. There’s no evidence of Poulians outside of those texts. There are no place names. There are no borrowed words. There aren’t even any sports teams and, Fred, there are always sports teams named after the defeated warriors in every culture. There would be branches in our own culture, changes in the way we dress and the food we eat, that are unique to this place, but there are not. There’s nothing.”

    “I do have new information.” Fred stood. He shook his shoulders back and relaxed, suddenly more confident. He looked down at his thesis adviser. “All this time we’ve been looking for evidence of the Poulians in our culture. We were looking for the wrong thing. We were searching for the wrong evidence.”

    “Go on…”

    “Instead of looking for Poulians in our history and culture,” and here Fred paused to make sure that his adviser was looking at him right in the eyes. “Instead of looking for Poulians, I looked for Social Justice Warriors.”

  26. Leaving tomorrow for the Anime con I work.  Opened my email-box just to see if there was anything demanding attention and I see the title of today’s blog.

    From where I sit pondering sights seen in past conventions — it would be mighty nice if some people would put on a skinsuit under their costumes. 

    There is one very buff young lady who pulls off Harley Quinn very well, a costume she has worn several years running.  For a couple years we also had an excellent Silver Surfer.  (Yes, I know that these are American Comics characters. People cos-play what they want.) 

    Few have the build or conditioning to get away with such costumes, unfortunately not everyone realizes this.  I am not demanding perfection, but a 300 pound Faye Valentine in mustard hot pants and crop-top doesn’t really work, and lacks the humor of, say, Sailor Bubba.   And whatever you do, please, please, please don’t just glue cotton ball to your skin and call it Naruto’s sexy-no-jutsu.  I’ve seen it, take it from me — it does not work.

    1. A couple of years ago a lady did Poison Ivy at our local con and pulled it off quite well.

      I think that having the physique to manage a cosplay is, well, it shouldn’t be the priority. But… clothes still need to fit. And corsets are nice… helps the lumpy problems. (Reminds self to shop for a corset.)

      1. No problem with a wide range of interpretations. One of the most memorable was a Sailor Mars — a six foot four cross dresser. A bit tired by the end of the con, with a very unfortunate run in his tights, but still he carried it off quite well.

    2. Oh man. Now what the heck story was it that the protagonist described seeing a cosplaying guy who weighed 300 pounds, and wearing a sailor moon costume?

      1. Hope in “Wearing The Cape” describes seeing that but I’ve seen other mentions of that.

        1. Gah. I think you’re right. That’s one of the major problems I have with Kindle Unlimited. Once it drops off the 10 on the pad, it’s no longer available for reference.

            1. One of Amazon’s oversights: When you select something from the KU list to delete (to make room for a new book), they should offer a chance to buy it (“to keep it for re-reading”) right then, with the one-click UI.

              1. I could be wrong, but I gathered that the author will get paid again if you check it out again via KU? If that’s the case, I’d prefer to keep reading it via KU. They get more money in the long run that way, yes?

                (I could be entirely mistaken about this, though.)

                1. Don’t know how the pay works for authors. Guess the utility depends on how you use KU. I like it for exploring new authors, or authors I’ve read before whose works have some plot interest but whose craft is poor enough I’m unlikely to re-read.

  27. Given that Halloween comes from Celtic culture and its tradition of Sanheim, isn’t celebration of Halloween by anyone not of Celtic descent “cultural appropriation” under the left’s ideology?

    1. Well, Halloween is a lot less “Celtic” than we think, and it has very little to do with any survival of Celtic Samhain despite what most NPCs have been taught to say.
      The best academic treatment of his subject (and Christmas, too) is this:

  28. One of the saddest internet exchanges, and I mean that in the sense of watching “well-meaning” people jump all over a well-meaning person, happened a few years ago. The blogger had been very impressed by a news story about the first girl to learn Mongol falconry, and loved the photos of the girl and her eagle. Said blogger mentioned considering trying to go as the young woman for Halloween as a way to encourage other girls to do new things and remake tradition.

    The commentariat fussed because this was cultural appropriation and terribly disrespectful and although well-intended, the blogger would cause dreadful offense. I got madder and madder reading the blogger apologize and meekly wonder if studying the embroidery on the Mongol girl’s clothes and then modifying it and using that on something would be a good way to honor the young woman.

    1. I got blocked when I observed that hundreds of thousands of people appropriate northern European traditional dress and no one gives a flip. (Dirndles, shawls, Scandinavian vests…)

      1. That’s because you’re not woke enough to realize that (in their Marxist-drenched thinking) one cannot appropriate the culture of power! It only works the other way, dontchaknow!
        Or the culture of the West is imposed upon poor victims by colonialism and imperialism. (Any minute now, the non-Western world will wake up, throw off their blue jeans, rock and roll,and stop playing football/soccer. The Japanese and Koreans are going to have to give up their baseball, too.)

        1. And telephones, light bulbs, modern plumbing including flush toilets, pizza, etc. Reminds of Monty Python’s Life of Brian “what did the Romans ever do for us?”

          1. They would probably argue that those were “things”, and not “culture”. That’s why I noted Western musical notation above. Music is inarguably culture, and Western developments were pretty much revolutionary, and unique. Without the advancements made as part of the West’s culture, modern music loses much of its sophistication

            1. Except of course, food is a big thing for the leftist cultural appropriation mob as they decry things as Mexican Food Night.

              1. Anything art-related is a part of culture. Food is art. Clothing styles are art. Music is art. The designs on your smart phone case might be art. But the smart phone itself probably isn’t.

                Food and clothing frequently get attacked by the “cultural appropriations” crowd. Music gets ignored, largely because you don’t find too many Americans trying to learn how to play a guzheng (a Chinese stringed instrument in which the player plucks strings suspended above a large horizontal board), or other non-Western instruments.

      2. They do give a flip.

        That’s our ruthless cultural imperialism.

        Whether they take from us or we from them, we’re the ones at fault.

      3. Hmm… more like “cultural appreciation” and “cultural preservation”, it seems to me. But then, I like to be logical.
        In a PC world, the girl’s only defense would seem to be to adopt the “identification” scam – i.e. “don’t harsh me, I’m identifying as a Mongol”.

  29. I dressed up in my Hogwarts Professor costume today (with a lapel tag identifying me as a lecturer in Ancient Runes). I am culturally appropriating British culture– oops!
    I met a nice young man on campus dressed up as Maui from the recent Disney film. I complimented him on his costume, and he was glad that somebody recognized who he was. I hoped he wouldn’t run into some faculty members I know who would be happy to woke-splain to him that if he wasn’t Polynesian, he better not be dressing as a Pacific Islander Demi-god.

    Maybe sometime I’ll wear my lovely Korean Hanbok (traditional Korean upper-class clothing) which I purchased in Seoul 20 years ago. It’s pink. I’m less Korean than Liz Warren is Native American, but the Koreans I have met are quite pleased when people respect, recognize and celebrate their traditional culture, and it’s their opinion which matters, not silly NPCs.

    1. People get hung up on that “respect” part though. Yes, there are some things that are sacred to a culture, but most things are just… clothes. Even if they’re traditional clothes or important clothes or iconic clothes. They’re the thing you pick up off the floor in the morning to see if they smell before you put them on. Clothes. Some things are even “costume” within a culture, you know, like all those “cowboys” who never saw a cow. Or the difference between the clothes worn by a working ranch hand and a rodeo performer. Or golly, have you ever seen a powwow dance? Bright purple and metallic is not traditional. But the people dancing love it and the brighter the better.

      I think that sometimes people have such empty lives that they impute extreme solemn meaning to others’ cultures as a way to create a belief that some other culture is meaningful in a way that theirs never could be and then they get *angry* when it’s just… clothes. If you look at who spends the most time saying that you shouldn’t wear a sombrero or a grass skirt it makes a whole lot of sense. We end up with some very weird “prime directive” where we want to keep those cultures under glass for our own benefit.

      1. On the other hand I would most definitely recommend against “appropriating” the clothes, including the cut and patch, of a one percenter MC, because they do not take to non MC members wearing their club regalia very well.

        1. Motorcycle Club?

          If so, yeah… though a leather jacket and bandanna would probably be okay. Could put bugs on your teeth for authenticity.

    2. Look the morons straight in the eye and say, “You obviously know nothing about Maui. He was a shapeshifter.”

  30. Saw a little girl dressed as Captain America. According to social justice “logic”, she should be forbidden from doing so, right?

    1. Gender bending is pretty popular in fandom now days. But you have to be careful. I had a kid walk up and only saw the top half, which was blue with the Superman logo. So I said “Superman” to which I got such a sad face in response. Oops, I looked, there was a skirt. “Oh! Supergirl! Sorry!”. Apparently I was forgiven, because the smile returned. Whew…

  31. One of the little girls I coach proudly told me she’s going to be Elsa from Frozen for Halloween. She’s five and she black. I would have brought my full wrath if I heard anyone tell her she couldn’t be Elsa! For cryin’ out loud – let the kids have FUN!

    1. Adorable little Mexican Rapunzels from Tangled are pure awesome, especially since they somehow keep those blonde wigs untangled.

      I can’t even look at the hair color clip “wig” things without them tangling! Gads!

  32. This evening I had a kid (teenager) walk up in street clothes, but he had a white handprint on his face. “Orc?” I asked.

    “Nope,” he replied, ” My mom slapped the black off me.”

    Easily one of the funniest costumes of the night.

    1. Which makes me imagine (shudder!) a PC-consistent world in which public restrooms are all sexually integrated but racially re-segregated. Crazy years, indeed!

  33. The Progressive Puritans are upset that somebody somewhere is having fun. I don’t know if it’s Progressivism or terminal constipation. Prune Juice Stat!

  34. Well, that didn’t end up in the right place, but it speaks to the hypocritical stance of the SJW-NPC crowd, that they continually put permanent things as mutable, and mutable things as unchangeable.

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