Tea Time Ruminations: Self-Culture/ Self-kithship

Tea: English/Irish Breakfasts blend

Thoughts: Not a fan of the blending

Song: ‘Psycho Killer’ -Smoke Season cover of Talking Heads

 

Many have spoken on culture in the U.S. — where I live — of late. The current president, President Donald J. Trump, has made a myriad of insensitive comments about various countries, and cultures; many of his supporters have as well. This is not to forget the myriad of non-supporters — those actively against him, those ambivalent, those disinterested, and all others — who say insensitive comments about cultures.

So, what is the big deal? What does it mean to have a culture nowadays? Who owns a culture? Who enforces changes within cultures? These questions have been asked for millennia in various forms. I suppose that all of the aspects which make myself myself affect (is all singular here? I wonder.) my take on culture.

I am perceived as white/Caucasian; however, I identify as Northern-European American. I live in a town which the populace pressures to learn Spanish; however, I speak French, and am learning German, Arabic, and Scots Gaelic. I am in the hospitality industry; however, I am finishing a novel, and a collection of poetry. I am in a family that, except for my father, and me, voted for President Donald J. Trump; however, no one in my family rescinds their L.G.B.T./P.O.C. ally-ship (alliance?) as they stood pre-election.

So, for which reasons do I confess these? I suppose that since my mother has been in hospital for the last 18 months or so, I have not been able to convey betrayal, anger, confusion, or any emotions in my typical way — the classic family argument —. Who owns my culture? Which culture am I? Am I the Germanic pagans who wear hammers, own horns, celebrate Ostara, and routinely face Neo-Nazis trying to join our ranks? Am I a Gael who runs the Highlands, wears kilts — my first one came in last Thursday —, and drinks Scotch? Am I an American without hyphen who drinks a mixture of  Irish Breakfast, and English Breakfast as a bad history joke?

It seems that I am having another classic experience: I am having an identity crisis a few months before turning 30. Self-kithship (Anglish word, right there) seems to be harder than ever. Forces without trying to peg without historical relevance — for example, defending the way First Nationers were/are treated, but denouncing the Highland Clearances. I see you, and so does the Past. —, and forces within flailing; I am left with the feeling culture is a conversation.

I am proud of my Pan-Germanic based Asatru, and my boyfriend is proud of his Atheism. My mother is proud of her Christianity, and my sister of her Christianity. Friends are proud of their respective religions (Religio Romana, Wicca, Satanism, Xohox, Islam, and Judaism come to mind; however, forgive me if one’s is not mentioned)…so, how do we converse on topics of religion?

I apologise, and digress: religion is very dear to me, but I realise that is not the case for everyone. So, let us backtrack to another aspect of culture.

Art is appreciated all over the world, but that which pertains to Art is different amongst people. When I visited Bahrain last summer, I saw vast sculptures of faceless people: to put face on a sculpture is considered bad taste. In France, I was left breathless by Van Gogh’s blue portrait in Musée D’Orsay — the first piece of art ever to leave me as such, seriously. If one can go see it, please do —. How does this affect my sense of art? I find representational art more moving than abstract.  Is it because of my upbringing? My psychoses? What affects all art? Who owns those concepts if they are universal?

 

Who knows? I have a dammed up reservoir of questions, so I apologise again. It seems more tea is needed, and regular ruminations.

 

-J.A. Victor Wilson

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