Anglo Blog Post 2, March 5 to March 12

Wife of Canadian Prime Minister Critiqued for International Women’s Day Post

Sophie Trudeau came under heavy criticism from certain sectors of the “feminist” establishment after she encouraged women to be thankful for the male “allies” in their lives, who alongside them fight for gender equality and equal rights. Posting a picture holding hands with her husband, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, she used celebration of march 8 International Women’s Day as a forum to urge unity with men sympathetic to the cause of advancing women in society.

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Those critical of the porting, among them a Canadian female MP, said that International Women’s Day was “about women, not men,” She perceived the idea of holding hands as meaning that women needed a helping male hand to make it.

This reaction speaks to a rupture between the certain inward-looking characteristics of identity politics and its interaction with ideas of human universalisms. Populations who have traditionally been marginalized often retreat into the negation of the humanity of those who have been oppressing them, understandable enough, of course. But recoiling from celebrating alliances with those who wish to see a more progressive agenda all around, turns off many who would otherwise be sympathetic to their plight and their struggle to attain equality.
Celebrated Artist Moves On

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On March 9, British artist Howard Hodgkin died in London at the age 84. In his own words as a “representational painter and not one of appearances,” his unique style resulted in winning the prestigious Turner Prize among many other awards over the course of a long career. He was considered a great observer of all kinds of human exchanges and cited Matisse and Degas as strongly influential on his abstract style. He described art as a “slow and painful process.
From Negro Spiritual to Sporting Anthem: Swing Low Sweet Chariot

The languid and passionate slave spiritual, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, has been transformed by fans of England’s rugby team into an anthem through which to inspire their team to victory. This is an unlikely journey; from the brutal conditions on southern plantations which spawned the song, to one being sung by 80,000 fans at the iconic Twickenham Stadium, and has triggered an interesting debate about cultural appropriation.

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Some lament the song’s transformation, finding it disrespectful to the historical suffering at the hands of generations of blacks in chattel to service in the building of the US. On the other hand, most people singing it at rugby games likely have no clue of the song’s origin, though one of several explanations for the song’s transformation is that it was used to encourage the first black player to represent England (1988) when he was playing particularly well.

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Who owns culture? Those who produce it, those who consume it? Cultural products move and adapt and morph into sometimes almost entirely different products. But does culture articulated under duress belong alone to those who produce it. Others who’ve not experienced the same degree of suffering can never truly understand and therefore its appropriation is a violation or a disrespect.

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