Thursday, June 20, 2019

I’ll second this …

… Two Cheers—At Least—For Cultural Appropriation | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Like Wikipedia’s “non-Native person wearing a Native American war bonnet,” Armstrong—non-white, non-Jewish, non-European, and descended from a race and a place in which none of the elements in the picture and the performance existed—was a cultural criminal by today’s warped standards. Yet, somehow, I didn’t feel violated in the least. Nor did I believe that Armstrong’s stylistically “black” phrasing and pronunciation of the English-language lyrics in any way “fetishised” them. Quite the contrary. They illustrated how cultures can often cross-pollinate for the better, how there is an instinct for beauty and goodness, often dormant but never dead, that is a part of our common humanity. 
Armstrong said that he modeled his trumpet playing on the singing of the tenor John McCormick. He was a Mahler fan before there were many such. And he spoke glowingly of opera singers, such as Amalita Galli-Curci, who are scarcely remembered by most people.

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