SHORT BLOG POST ABOUT ROCK IN THE 1960’S
create individual blog entries that address the relationship between mainstream media and the counterculture. Each student must post at least two entries for this project: the first, which must be at least 250 words, should be based on the following questions; and the second, which must be approximately 50 words, should respond to the comments of other students in the group. Feel free to draw from the lectures as well as the listening, reading, and video assignments, but these posts should reflect your own critical assessment of the topic–in other words, treat the following question as a prompt for a stimulating and well-informed discussion.
Why do you think American hippies and British “freaks” were attracted to aspects of Indian classical music and Eastern spirituality? From your perspective, what distinguishes appropriation and exploitation of a cultural practice in contemporary society?
respond to ONE of these posts in at least 50 words:
One thing we can tell for certain is that American Hippies and British “freaks” did not necessarily fit in to their own society when they first appeared. So what they decided to do was to essentially start their own culture and own identity which drew them to things such as Indian cultural music and Eastern spirituality. They knew they were set apart from typical culture and they embraced that and they found something unique they could call their own in a society that more or less looked down on them. It gave them a way to express themselves without anyone else’s approval by appreciating other cultures.
People can argue that it was possible they were appropriating the Indian/Eastern culture by doing this but I don’t believe that is the case. In this case I think they were appreciating a culture that was not their own. To appropriate culture more often than not comes off insensitive to the culture they are representing. There are many examples of this such as the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Kansas City Chiefs who all have mascots that represent different Native American tribes and people in their mascots. This would be appropriation. Listening to music and diving into a culture to learn about it and understand it is appreciation and that is what the American Hippies and British “freaks” were doing when they decided to more or less abandon their own culture and society. Many people do not understand the difference when it comes to appropriation and appreciation but when you do something like name a sports team after Native Americans when you never were a part or even tried to understand their culture, then that is appropriation.
In my opinion, I believe that American hippies and British â€œfreaksâ€ were attracted to aspects of Indian classical music and Eastern spirituality because they felt as if they could not relate to the rest of society and believed that there were many differences between them. It could have also been a new way for them to express themselves in customs they were not able to do before or had been previously exposed to. During this time in history, psychedelic drugs such as LSD were heavily used. A reasoning for their attraction to Indian classical music could be that it made them feel a certain way while on these drugs and created a pleasant experience. In my opinion, cultural appropriation is when an individual from one culture takes something from another culture that comes off as being insensitive. A popular example of this would be an individual whom is not native American wearing or using something sacred from another culture such as a Native American headdress. This has actually happened with the Washington Redskins. This NFL team has been accused of cultural appropriation because of their mascot, which happens to be an American Indian wearing a headdress. Lots of situations regarding cultural appropriation happen on Halloween where individuals dress up as geishas, Native Americans, gypsies, and more. While people may claim that they are not doing these things in intent to be insensitive towards these cultures, it does not change the fact that they are participating in cultural appropriation, which is a very sensitive topic for many. On the other hand, when someone is actually interested in learning more about another culture in hopes of gaining a better perspective and connection, I consider this to be cultural appreciation.
The reason why American Hippies and British “freaks” were so fascinated by Indian classical music was because they wanted to seperate themselves from the mainstream culture. The appreciation for Indian classical music came about during the counterculture movement in the 1960s, when people like George Harrison and Ravi Shankar brought attention to the culture and music. To the American hippies and British “freaks,” the sounds and instruments were unheard of, making it unique and attractive. They were also fascinated by their spirituality, such as The Beatles, who took a trip to India for spiritual enlightenment.
There is a major difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. Cultural appreciation is when an individual is willing or wanting to learn more about a culture to broaden their perspective, while cultural appropriation is taking a part of a culture and using it for your own self interest, whether it be a symbol, article of clothing, etc. In our society today, I often see cultural appropriation with celebrities, such as Ariana Grande. She got a tattoo that was supposed to say “7 Rings,” a title of one of her top hits, which actually translated to “BBG grill.” She also sold merchandise like sweatshirts that said “Thank You” in Japanese, which have been taken down from her website due to cultural appropriation. I myself am Japanese, and I always found it strange that Americans would get tattoos in Kanji without knowing the proper translation or understanding of the language in order to get a “cool” and “exotic” looking tattoo. However, a person who appreciates the culture and understands the language having a tattoo in Kanji would be appropriate.
I think American hippies and British Freaks were attracted to aspects of Indian classical music and Eastern spirituality because it was a way for them to be different than the mainstream music at the time. I think that being a part of the start of a new movement is something that people find very interesting. For example, being at the forefront of a new clothing trend is something that many people take pride in. I have seen this in the past with shoes. One of my friends bought a pair of PF Flyers, and soon after it seemed many of my other friends also purchased the shoe. This came with the argument of who started the trend. In my perspective, I think appropriation and exploitation of a cultural practice in contemporary society is distinguished by the context in which people refer to the culture. For example, I think that a football team using a derogatory term for Native Americans as their mascot is a form of appropriation. However, I believe that if someone were to visit a Native American reservoir in hopes of learning the practices of the culture, it is not appropriation, but rather an appreciation for the culture. Another example of appropriation is using other people’s religious beliefs as a form of style. I know many people think getting Tribal tattoos are “trendy” and “cool” but I see this as a way of making fun of their culture. If someone who actually practices the Tribal religion gets the tattoo, I do not believe that is appropriation.