Sunday 26 June 2022

A Riddle

'What is the Answer?' F. E. Outerbridge cover design for the magazine 'Judge', Volume LXVII, 11th July, 1914
This week I did in jest wonder aloud about a theme I am eminently unqualified to speak over at the home of sidebar resident and Comments Department habitué, Britta, viz. Cultural Appropriation and whether embracing Biedermeier furniture to one's heart when one is neither German nor living in the early nineteenth century is such a Crime? Can Cultural Appropriation be also applied to Home Furnishings, or, when you're hauled before the bench, will your criminal barrister be only probing into your hobbies, dress, hairstyles and penchant for parleying in patois when you've had too much rum punch? As I say, Your Correspondent is merely talking out of her (cloche) hat if allowed to expound on such subjects and will thereby desist but, instead, leave you with a Riddle:

What mysterious form of denounced cultural appropriation, marked [?] below, lies in the path of the latest instance of competitive offendedness?

To some extent, the denunciation of [?] is simply a function of the culture of competitive offendedness that plays so large a role in the culture of the well-to-do these days.  One of the best ways to outflank your fellow members of the comfortable classes, whether the rivalry is merely everyday one-upsmanship or aims at higher stakes, is to show that you’re more easily offended by invisible injustices than anyone else*. 

Answer: Tarot cards!

* From Archdruid John Michael Greer's Ecosophia blogpost, "Rice and Beans in the Outer Darkness".

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


  1. I am about to go through me card collection and remember what's there.

    1. You will be pleased to know then that Mr. Greer has scotched the notion that you might be offending the Romani by your divinations (if you were indeed concerned by this and planned to thumb through them in a darkened room) as it seems it was the Italians that invented them.

  2. As far as I'm aware, Cultural Appropriation is a one way street. It's OK for the Afro Caribbean community to bleach and straighten their hair (and bleach their skin), but it's not OK for a Caucasian to wear dreadlocks or a 'Red Indian' headdress. One rule for us; another for them.

    re The Biedermeier furniture, I seem to remember that Elton John has the most important collection.

    1. I did not know that about Elton John so had to go off to investigate, thank you, dear Cro. I read that Freddie Mercury inspired him with his Biedermeier cabinet!

  3. Dear Pip, hahahaha!
    As to Cultural Appropriation I answer with The Great Pretender, Major Flint:
    ("That he had seen service in India was, indeed, probable by his referring to lunch as tiffin, and calling to his parlourmaid with the ejaculation of 'Qui-hai!") and "...with the romantic reek of India (and camphor)in the tiger-skin of the rugs that strewed his hall"

    Yours Truly sported a big Angela-Davies-mop-hairdo around 1975 - and loved it without qualms.

    I never used Tarot cards - I am a bit afraid they might influence me (I mean: getting a card with death, dagger or a hangman - igittegitt!)

    1. Oh, dear Britta! I had to Google AD to get the gist and cannot believe it! My sleek image of you does not marry with such a 'do and I suspect you needed much assistance from a salon to encourage such a look?

      We're on more familiar territory with dear Major Benjy, however, and for all his roaring and tiger tales, will always warm the cockles of my temperate heart with his aura of, ahem, authentic Indian spice. He is indeed a Prince among Pretenders.

    2. Dear Pip, of course I needed a strong perm (and my blonde hair never reached the masses of AD) - but I liked it! (When in Berlin again, I will see whether I can find my old driver licence - then you will see :-)
      My son, when about 4 or five years old, talked me around to go back "to my roots" : "Mama, I want to see how you REALLY look underneath!"
      Well, and as I was tired of perms I tried - and from that day on I have my very healthy and shining straight hair (3 coiffeurs in Berlin refused (!) to change it's colour (thus lost 220 Euros, but it was a question of honour for them).
      And I am glad - life is so much simpler.
      (Yet I liked the mop - maybe because it were very wild years :-)

    3. Now I'm very curious about Britta's wild years. Perhaps a blog post about those times are in order? :)

  4. Biedermeier furniture is beautiful ..... perhaps Elton would donate some of his to go in my new conservatory ?!!! A girl can dream. XXXX

    1. Hahaha! I'll give you a hand:

      Dear Sir Elton,

      Please give me some choice Biedermeier pieces for my new conservatory. You'll be jolly glad you did when you see how delicious it'll look!

      Jackie. xx

    2. Perfect Pip ..... I shall send it tout suite ! XXXX


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