Sunday, February 19, 2017


     Before resuming our reporting on the rampant leftist sedition at large in the land, SR takes a brief detour into the alien realm of fashion media to expose the latest extreme lunacy of the political correctness that pervades today's American culture.

     The always interesting Breitbart website recently reported on a remarkable example of the so-called "cultural appropriation" concept, which condemns any use or adoption of the fashion, customs, or arts of foreign cultures by so-called White Western Society.  It is not clear whether the reverse (foreign cultures adopting our music, art, etc.) is equally nefarious.

     According to Breitbart, a prominent American fashion model named Karlie Kloss recently posed in Geisha-style Japanese kimonos for an extensive photoshoot in Vogue magazine's so called "diversity" issue.  The spread featured the fashionably kimonoed Kloss posing in a variety of settings intended to present striking cultural images of Japan (as a knowledgeable Japan-hand of longstanding, SR can only say that the presentation is a bit gauche, as one would expect of the superficial millennials at Vogue, but certainly harmless, and complimentary, if anything).

                                                                                                  Vogue Magazine
                           Oh, the Horror! A Caucasian Model Poses in Kimono!

     Almost instantly, the lunatic legions of the social media pounced on Ms. Kloss for her crime of "cultural appropriation." Typical of the clueless commentary was the following penetrating query:  "Did Vogue not get the 'culture is not a costume' memo that's been going around for the past few...decades?"  SR is surprised that such a "memo" ever existed or circulated, and expects the reader is as well; but in the twisted realm of the politically correct cognoscenti, anything is possible.

     The brainless commentary also condemned Ms. Kloss and Vogue -- both of whom undoubtedly deserve condemnation for many other stupidities and venalities, but not for this one -- for so-called racial "whitewashing."  This is an ironic and foolish charge indeed, for Japanese women place the highest aesthetic value on the whiteness of their complexions.  Nothing could be "whiter" than an authentic, original Japanese beauty in geisha splendor.  If anything,  a Western model would be less white than an authentic Japanese geisha.  So-called "cultural appropriation" is a purely mythical canard of the left, but this kind of cultural stupidity is a depressing reality, perpetrated by the PC and social justice morons on a daily basis.

     Ms. Kloss's attackers also questioned why Vogue could not have found a Japanese model for the photoshoot.  This criticism might have been valid if we were talking about the use of a non-Japanese actress to portray a Japanese woman in a movie about Japan -- as was actually done with the casting of a famous Chinese actress (Zhang Ziyi) to portray a Japanese Geisha in Memoirs of a Geisha

     But that's not what occurred here.  Rather than usurping the part of a genuine Japanese geisha, Ms. Kloss was employed to highlight the beauty and piquancy of cross-cultural diversity by artfully posing a beautiful Western woman in  the classical Japanese garment.  Rather than cultural appropriation, the intent of the photoshoot was cultural tribute.  But needless to say, this nuance was lost on the mindless minions of the politically correct.

     But the most depressing aspect of this absurd imbroglio was that Ms. Kloss felt compelled to issue the inevitable press-agent-drafted apology -- when she should have bridled with the justifiable fury of an outraged fashion diva.  She abjectly posted the following illogical nonsense on her Twitter account:  "These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive.  My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women."

     No, Karlie, you silly Airhead.  Neither you nor Vogue could  "appropriate" the ancient and magnificent Japanese culture in the wildest dreams of your illusory significance.  No apology was necessary, Dahlink, as Zsa Zsa might have said.  If anything, Japanese viewers would only have been mildly amused at Vogue's ham-handed, but gameful, attempt to capture an aesthetic that lies far beyond their superficial comprehension.  But they were certainly not offended.  On the contrary, as shown by the reaction of Japanese Twitter users, the Japanese enjoyed the spread and considered it a nice tribute to their culture.


     Karen Carpenter charming the Japanese in her gift kimono, Tokyo 1974

     To place this absurd episode in sensible perspective, we need only flash back to the comparatively sane era of the 1970's.

     In 1974, popular music was still beautiful and harmonic, as exemplified by the gorgeous vocals of Karen Carpenter and the internationally beloved recordings of the Carpenters.  Nowhere were the Carpenters more popular than in Japan, and in the summer of 1974, the talented sibling duo (Karen and her brother Richard) arrived for a record-setting concert tour in Tokyo amidst media and popular fanfare reminiscent of the Beatles' arrival in the U.S. a decade earlier.

     As part of the extensive publicity campaign surrounding the Carpenters' arrival, their hosts presented both Richard and Karen with beautiful and extremely valuable kimonos. Both of the sibling superstars posed happily in the outfits for the Japanese press, and the Japanese were delighted with how charming Karen looked in a gorgeous kimono especially suited to a young lady in the spring-like glow of youth.  They were even more delighted when, near the conclusion of the Carpenters' concert in Tokyo's iconic Budokan, Karen sang portions of the hit song, Sing, in flawless Japanese, in a charming "duet" with a chorus of star-struck Japanese children.

     Needless to say, the notions of "cultural appropriation" or of "whitefacing" Japanese culture never remotely occurred to the Japanese, the Carpenters, or to anyone who observed the Carpenters' congenial engagement with the Japanese people.  So successful was the Carpenters' 1974 tour that their popularity in Japan reached spectacular heights that, remarkably, endure to this day.

     So all the neurotic social critics should take a deep breath; stay calm; and take a look back at how the good-natured embrace of another nation's culture, dress, and customs can be mutually enjoyable and rewarding.  Far from causing insult or embarrassment, a Western woman wearing a kimono with the right attitude and elan can form a lasting bond of mutual affection and appreciation.  That was how the Carpenters and Japan approached each other in 1974, to the enduring reward of both sides.


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