I work with several groups locally interested in protecting their content. But, this article really brings up an important differentiation between protecting our intellectual property and protecting our cultural identity. My brother creates handcrafted tin items in the style passed down five generations. But, all too often unsuspecting buyers go to an adjacent store to buy a roughly similar piece in style to my brother's at less than half the cost that was mass-produced in Mexico. I don't mind that someone is selling cheaper (as in lower quality materials) imitation items, but I do mind when they are being sold as souvenir trinkets. It devalues all local works. It's a long road to explain the whole story to educate consumers on what is authentic. But, ultimately, I think it's the best defense.
I also think creating avenues for larger entities to market the culture while honoring it and giving something back would be a positive investment. For instance, if Urban Outfitters approached the artists of the Navajo Nation to create some designs that would be mass-produced and marketed in a way that educates people on the art and history of the Navajo Nation while offering some percentage of sales, it could be a wonderful way to spread a message about the cultural roots of these images we take for granted. We could have t-shirt designs of actual Navajo Art with a smart code printed that takes someone to a video on the artist and imagery.
In general, I believe the people that engage in Cultural Plagiarism aren't really intending to disrespect a culture. Especially in fashion, "borrowing" style trends from iconic items is completely common and accepted. However, sometimes that borrowed material isn't properly considered. It's just simple ignorance. And, the antidote to ignorance is education.
I've been telling everyone about these, but haven't tried them yet. Now, I feel like I'll be an expert when I go in to grab mine. Thanks!
I had to defend posting the Burque videos on my Facebook page. For me, it conjures up warm and fuzzy feelings about growing up surrounded by some of my favorite people in the whole world that sounded like that. It's about a character that reflects Hispanic connections (many of the grammar errors are related to translating the words directly from Spanish). The people I know who have this accent are smart, funny, confident and full of sass and if they were saying something "dumb," it was intentional, to highlight a point. I was so happy to read the opening to this article that conveyed a sense of admiration. I describe it as feeling like the people with the accent were the cool kids in school and I would never be that. I'm not white, but I sound white. But, on the inside, I feel like Lynette sometimes and watching her manifest it lets me come along for the ride. I feel like I'm finally on the inside of a very long joke. Thank you, Lynette (Lauren)!
Obviously, we (society) can't condone/promote random acts of vandalism. But I had noticed the graffiti on the downtown building and had actually pointed it out to my passenger complimenting the artist on what I thought was a fantastic bit of public art. He needs to be punished with lots of mercy--probation teaching art to kids? I think the downtown building should keep its beauty mark. It has gone from forgettable to infamous along with the artist.