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Culture

This image is a bit crass – and the bunny has scary eyes – but I don’t find it culturally offensive. Do you?

My dictionary defines culture thusly:

culture |ˈkʌltʃə|noun  the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively 20th century popular culture.• a refined understanding or appreciation of this men of culture.• the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group Caribbean culture |people from many different cultures.• [with adj. the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particularsocial group the emerging drug culture.

This sounds rather highfalutin to me.

I’ve just had a brief discourse on the subject with an utter tube on FB – let’s call him Bawheid. He posted the above image with the following comments:

Bawheid
This is disgusting and yet people like it Why? 

HoneyPunk
What are you objecting to? The animal cruelty, the language or the sentiment? 

Bawheid
Why is our Gaelic culture being used in this way? Why would any animal be dressed up in tartan like this? I don’t see either the Scottish flag the Saltire being used like this. Is there a reason? Or would that just be a step too far?

HoneyPunk
I saw a dog wearing a Saltire at the March and Rally for Independence last month. Saltires are plastered all over everything from mugs to underwear. Tartan isn’t Gaelic culture – it’s a Celtic fabric design, hijacked by the textile industry and more recently by the tourist industry. I think modern Scots (Gaels included) need to reclaim symbols – like tartan, kilts, pipes, whatever – in any way they see fit. If that means dressing your bunny in a kilt, what harm does it do?

Bawheid
It is sneering and mocking the Gaelic culture from where it comes from. That’s why.  

HoneyPunk
No it isn’t. I doubt this person is sneering and mocking their own pet rabbit. It’s fun – and they’re possibly celebrating Scottish heritage. Gaelic/Celtic/Scots culture is about music, song, stories and fun. It’s about ceilidhs and a wee bit deoch-làidir. I can tell you care deeply but gabh air do shocair! 🙂

So far so jolly, I thought (gabh air do shocair means ‘take it easy’), but unbeknownst to me the bawheid was re-posting my second comment under the heading “So now we are told that Tartan isn’t part of Gaelic culture”!!!!!
“We are told”?  Who the hell is “we”?  I’M feckin “we” you arse! …this is where it got heated.

Why should some toe-rag on FB get to disinherit me from my own culture? When this po-faced-fascist says ‘gaelic culture’ he means an insular, unchanging, shortbread tin ideal of the highlands and islands 300 years ago. When I say it I mean a modern, vibrant Scots/Gaelic culture and language – which is also part of an ancient Celtic tradition, varied and encompassing most of Europe – and beyond!

Obviously tartan is part of our culture – and I for one embrace it – but, it did not originate here. Tartan did not spring magically out of the Gàidhealtachd. It was not a gift from the fairy folk of Tìr nan Òg. Tartan developed from the plaids of our ancient Celtic ancestors. They wore it is they ranged around the ancient world. Tartan-stlye textiles were found on the red-headed mummies of Ürümchi in Western China for gods’ sake!

Alasdair Gray wrote: “People who care nothing for their country’s stories and songs…are like people without a past – without a memory – they are half people”. Our culture is ancient and wonderful and very worthy of respect but it must be of and for the people. It needs to be protected and nurtured, of course, but if it is preserved in aspic – held to be sacred and unchangeable – then it will die.

Like I told the bawheid, to me Gaelic/Celtic/Scots culture is about music, song, stories and fun. It’s about enjoying ceilidhs and a wee bit deoch-làidir (strong drink).  It should never become stilted and elitist… and remind me never to attend a ceilidh at Bawheid’s house…

Gabhaibh air ur socair!   
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