News & views
Bulbous salutation and cultural appropriation
[6 Oct 2015] Two new examples of pretentiousness may survive to become embedded in our language, the glorious fate that befell Justin Timberlake’s description of an exposed nipple as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ some years ago. Here they are:
Bulbous salutation, coined by Morrissey (once of the Smiths) in his first novel ‘List of the Lost’: ‘Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone…’.
Cultural appropriation, given by East Anglia university students’ union as its reason for stopping the local Mexican restaurant Pedro’s handing out sombreros during freshers’ fair. Before the event, the union had sent all stallholders an advertising policy listing activities it might regard as discriminatory, including ‘cultural appropriation’. The policy said: ‘Discriminatory or stereotypical language or imagery aimed towards any group or individual based on…characteristics will not be permitted…We know that when it comes to cultural appropriation, the issues can sometimes be difficult to understand and many don’t realize that they may be about to cause offence.’
In its superior way, the union said sombreros (a kind of straw hat) could be given only to students who were authentically Mexican or of Mexican heritage. They were silent as to how this would be established – presumably a passport and family background check?
Shouldn’t the union also have allowed Pedro’s to give sombreros to people who merely identified themselves as Mexican, maybe because they liked the food? After all, self-identifying is now all the rage in the world of diversity. So organizations desperate not to cause offence must treat people as whatever they pretend to be.
Had Pedro’s not complied with the rules, its stall would have been closed. So it just gave out tequilas and margaritas instead, and waited in case any authentic passport-toting Mexicans showed up for a free hat.