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A world without cultural appropriation

IPA REVIEW ARTICLE

| James Bolt

A world without cultural appropriation

Author Lionel Shriver raised a lot of controversy at this year's Brisbane Writers' Festival for launching a defence of cultural appropriation. She argued that authors should be able to borrow the experiences of people from other cultures to inform their work - otherwise she would only be able to write about the experiences of "smart-alecky 59-year-old 5-foot-2-inch white women from North Carolina."

Seems reasonable enough, but the level of controversy raised by this suggests there is a market for non-culturally appropriated works - where the writers or performers can only have themselves as protagonists. Below is a reimagining of classic tales more in line with modern standards.

To Kill A Mockingbird
Harper Lee takes up the case of a black man wrongfully accused of a crime. Due to her being an author and not a lawyer, she loses the case.

Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger struggles with his teenage feelings of angst and alienation from society. Society, noting that J.D. Salinger is 32 years old, continues to treat him with suspicion.

Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino tries to infiltrate the Nazis in their occupation of Paris. Due to his incessant need to tell everyone around him what a genius he is, he immediately gives away his plans in incredible detail and is executed.

Lord of the Flies
William Golding finds himself stranded on an island with a score of young boys after a plane crash. Being an adult and therefore able to maintain stability, they all wait patiently by a fire until they are rescued.

Gladiator
Ridley Scott strives to get revenge for the murders of his wife and son by assassinating the Empower. Completely unable to speak Latin, he fails to drum up significant support from his fellow gladiators.

The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck joins with sharecroppers at the height of the Great Depression and helps them get by in an unforgiving economy. Noting the wealth Steinbeck has gained from the sales of Of Mice and Men, the sharecroppers rob him at first opportunity.

The Passion of Joan of Arc
Maria Falconetti stands accused of the crimes of Joan of Arc. The English, realising they have clearly arrested the wrong woman, release the 1920s actress.

Blade Runner
Harrison Ford grapples with the thought that he might be a replicant, just like the people he is chasing. Then, remembering he is Harrison Ford, his conscience is eased.

 

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