Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena
unclehyena

On Dreamcatchers...

I have about a dozen boxes of tee shirts, each containing about two dozen shirts, acquired over decades of, "Hey, THAT'S cool!" shopping. When I need a shirt, I grab the top shirt off the current box, glance at it to make sure it isn't completely inappropriate for the day's activities, and get on with things.

The other day, the shirt that came up was a dreamcatcher, as drawn by a talented artist who didn't actually understand dreamcathers. It was pretty much an open invitation to discuss cultural appropriation, and since no one else was handy, I had the discussion with myself.

Taking as read (for now, anyway) the popular theme that cultural appropriation is fundamentally evil, the question becomes, Just what IS a dreamcatcher? And then things get interesting. If a dream catcher is a cool piece of ethnically themed art, then, Yes, cultural appropriation (which, honestly, my shirt is). On the other hand, if a dream catcher is a piece of magical technology, then, like all technology, it is fair game for anyone who bothers to understand it. (Don't think so? Then stop using all technology that doesn't have roots in your own culture. I'll wait.)

Which brings us back to my shirt; I am NOT going to dispose of it. For the once or twice a year that it bubbles to the top of my collection, it just MIGHT serve as a conversation starter, and that is its own kind of magical technology. And I would LOVE to have such a conversation turn into a discussion of why the device pictured on my shirt is fundamentally broken, because people who have bothered to actually understand the magical technology of dream catchers are treasures in any culture.

Uncle Hyena
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