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But I think it's not a good idea to discuss these changing values here on C.net.

Why, please?

 

And now you can throw stones to me, if you want :lol:

 

Cheers,

Fer

That's why: I don't like throwing stones. On this forum, I want to discuss concertina related stuff with you.

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Changing values are a fact of live. Fifty years ago it was common sense, that a man earned more money on the same job than a woman. And a hundred year ago women weren't considered fit to vote. You may agree or disagree, but these values have changed.

Are you trying to say that, because we realise that women were paid unfairly in the past, English boys' schools should no longer put on Shakespeare plays, because some of the boys would have to dress as women? (As Shakespeare's own actors did!)

Sure, values have changed - but Shakespeare's plays seldom hinge on whether women get equal pay for equal work. <_<

Elizabethan actors, and modern actors in an all-male environment, did not dress as women to mock or parody them. It was acting, not travesty.

Mummers and Morris men with blackened faces were around long before there were black English people. Disguise is central to a lot of ritual performance, and "evil be to him who evil thinks". Whoever gets the idea that such disguises are a mockery of another race must find that other race first and foremost worthy of mockery. :huh:

I really do regret it if Morris is becoming victim of such changing values. But I think it's not a good idea to discuss these changing values here on C.net.

I think it is a good idea!

The concertina is about music, and much of music is song, and much of the song that is accompanied by concertinas is traditional. These songs transport ideas and facts from earlier times, which even the oldest of us do not know from personal experience. Some of these facts and ideas may shock us, and make us glad that times have changed. But others show us that the human condition has certain constant factors that have always been there, and which we cannot abolish.

 

The only other way to get at this knowledge would be History at school. But the school History books are made by politicians, and are thus "politically correct". As someone here put it, they tell us "what to think, not how to think".

Traditional song, but also dance and drama, give us food for thought, and are, with some exceptions, not "politically corrected".

 

Even the concertina its cultural aspects! ;)

 

Cheers,

John

 

Funny you talk about political correctness. A sample about how ridiculous could it be:

 

I readed a couple of days ago a new at Yahoo Spain about a show in a rural area in Castilla. Well, the show was two girls in bikini washing a tractor. Then, right-winged partys complained because 'it's inmoral' and left-wing partys because 'that degrades the image of women because make them look like mere objects, blao...'

 

The fact is that the girls got paid for this, farmes enjoyed this very much and even wives said 'meanwhile they're watching these, they're not messing around with anything else' :blink: :lol: .

 

So, if everybody was happy at the event, where's the problem?

 

Leonard, I have nothing against you nor anybody at this forum. But I think that if you believe concertina has nothing to do with politics, you're wrong. Absolutely everything has to do with politics. And that apathic attitude is one of the reasons that made possible the recession.

 

Cheers,

 

Fer

 

Edited: I wouldn't have said it better, John; totally agree: Only wish my english was better!

Edited by Fergus_fiddler
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Changing values are a fact of live. Fifty years ago it was common sense, that a man earned more money on the same job than a woman. And a hundred year ago women weren't considered fit to vote. You may agree or disagree, but these values have changed.

Are you trying to say that, because we realise that women were paid unfairly in the past, English boys' schools should no longer put on Shakespeare plays, because some of the boys would have to dress as women? (As Shakespeare's own actors did!)

Sure, values have changed - but Shakespeare's plays seldom hinge on whether women get equal pay for equal work. <_<

Elizabethan actors, and modern actors in an all-male environment, did not dress as women to mock or parody them. It was acting, not travesty.

Mummers and Morris men with blackened faces were around long before there were black English people. Disguise is central to a lot of ritual performance, and "evil be to him who evil thinks". Whoever gets the idea that such disguises are a mockery of another race must find that other race first and foremost worthy of mockery. :huh:

No disagreement here. The values we are talking about didn't and don't change in reaction upon Shakespeare or Morris. On the other hand they can have a considerable impact on Shakespeare and Morris. If you try to protect Shakespeare and Morris by opposing those changes, you implicitly admit that Shakespeare is about men being more important than women, and Morris disguise is about mocking black people.

I prefer to cherish the own values of Shakespeare and Morris within this changing environment. That's why I sympathize with this post by David_Bovery.

 

Leonard

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I suppose a related question could be: should folk traditions be maintained as near as possible to the way they existed at time of conception/main period of popularity or should they be taken up, performed and responded to by the folk of the current day, which would include some adaptation to current sensibilities? I enjoy the links to the past and sense of this that folk music and traditions provide but also want it/them to be of living relevavce to today's folk. Many traditions evolve alongside our cultural and political changes and are all the better and stronger for them. In a hundred years' time perhaps people will be looking at the masking of morris faces and noting that in the 21st century, due to the cultural mix of the time, the dancers changed too and started to use many colours on their faces. Perhaps people will be thinking of that as an important historical folk event? The past can be maintained within the present; folk is as folk are...

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Folk music (and traditions) are like a tree; you have to water the roots to keep it alive, but it has to grow new branches also.

 

== attributed to Dewey Balfa, speaking about Cajun music.

 

Ken

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No disagreement here. The values we are talking about didn't and don't change in reaction upon Shakespeare or Morris. On the other hand they can have a considerable impact on Shakespeare and Morris. If you try to protect Shakespeare and Morris by opposing those changes, you implicitly admit that Shakespeare is about men being more important than women, and Morris disguise is about mocking black people.

"Admit"???

To me that implies reluctantly acknowledging a truth, and I don't believe those viewpoints to be truth.

 

I think "claim" would be a more accurate word.

 

I prefer to cherish the own values of Shakespeare and Morris within this changing environment.

I do, too, but I don't believe that requires abandoning -- much less vilifying -- the original interpretation/style.

 

I have greatly enjoyed both very traditional and radically "modern" performances of Shakespeare. And some of the "updated" interpretations were by far the most "politically incorrect". (I deliberately put that in quotes, because I don't believe such "correctness" to be correct, at all.) And quite enjoyed by at least some of those (blacks, Arabs, etc., at different performances) whose reactions the politically timid fear.

 

Edited to change one word, to more accurately convey what I meant.

Edited by JimLucas
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I suppose a related question could be: should folk traditions be maintained as near as possible to the way they existed at time of conception/main period of popularity or should they be taken up, performed and responded to by the folk of the current day, which would include some adaptation to current sensibilities?

I see two issues here:

  • The result doesn't has to be either/or. It could be both/and. Multiple traditions, or interpretations of a "single" tradition, can exist side by side. When it comes to dancing or music, they can even coexist within a single community or performing group.
  • The sticking point here is, whose "sensibilities"? Why should the Morris dancers (or anyone else) be required/forced to abandon their own perception of what is appropriate and surrender to the values of others, values which (as has been noted in this case) are based on an uninformed misinterpretation. I would even go so far as to say that an assumption that any use of black face by whites is deliberately derogatory of blacks is as much a form of bigotry as an assumption that blacks are inherently inferior.

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Motley Morris squire Peter Hargreaves was absolutely spot on by refusing to perform without black faces.

Had they done so, the next step would have been the removal of the witches from Macbeth.

Then the murders would have been taken away too and we'll all live in a society where the only cultural diversion will be a Starbuck's coffee.

 

Phil

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Motley Morris squire Peter Hargreaves was absolutely spot on by refusing to perform without black faces.

Had they done so, the next step would have been the removal of the witches from Macbeth.

Then the murders would have been taken away too and we'll all live in a society where the only cultural diversion will be a Starbuck's coffee.

And tabloid stories about wars, murders, and Jacko performing close-harmony duets with Elvis on alien spacecraft. :ph34r:

 

We just wouldn't be allowed to acknowledge that discomfort (mustn't use the word "evil", either) existed at any time but the present, much less that some folks might be comfortable with what others find uncomfortable. :(

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IMHO, coming late to this topic, I note that nowhere in the article does it say that anyone of any ethnic background has ever been offended by faced-blackend morris dancers.

The (fair) criticism is of the head teacher - for not understanding the tradition, or seeking to understand it.

Please don't get this confused with intolerance on the part of any minority group - none have been even asked their opinions. :ph34r:

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At the risk of being terminally flamed by the arbiters of taste and discretion who have posted earlier, I repeat what Floss the Tethers and Steve Shaw had to say about being sensitive to a cultural issue that one might not understand fully. They made excellent points. I agree with both of them.

 

Floss the Tethers said:

 

This is certainly not 'PC gone mad', the use of black-daubed faces has been described as 'niggering up' for some time by Border Morris teams.

 

Apart from the indiscreet use of language, the real issue here is that the Headmistress of a primary school in a multi-ethnic area of Kent felt that the booking of a 'blacked-up' team of Morris dancers (she wasn't aware they did this at the time of the booking) might not be the best way forward for a school which laudably promotes the cultures of all the children in its classes.

 

Steve Shaw said:

 

The headmistress is perfectly in order. Whatever the protestations of the morris men, blacking up carries the connotation of imitating and taking the p*ss out of black people. It's not about what is buried deep in your morris tradition, it's about how people perceive you. We've moved on from all that Al Jolson/B&W Minstrel stuff, most of us, which was, er, off-colour to say the least, and we feel no pain in not being able to black up. You have to ask yourself what point insistent blacker-uppers are really trying to make.

First of all, you use the pejorative expression "PC" to characterise a point of view at odds with your own. Why can't you just say you disagree with the headteacher? Now it may surprise some to hear that morris is not very mainstream, and, as such, it is hardly surprising that its nuances are not generally understood by the populace. So, if you appear all blacked up, most people are going to think you are imitating black people, not that you are in disguise. The morris man who expects his audience to work this out correctly for themselves is an arrogant man indeed. We don't all love morris and it is tangential to our lives and we can't be held to be at fault for not immediately knowing that blacking up is supposed to be all about disguise. I suggest that it is not the headteacher who is being narrow-minded here, but the morris men who refuse to move with the times. If it's really just about disguise there are a hundred ways of doing it that doesn't involve blacking up, so why not just bend a bit and adopt one of 'em? How about woad blue? I mean, what difference would that really make? But no, "I'm sticking with blacking up because I'm a free-born Englishman in my own country dammit and I'm not having these multicultural PC Johnny-come-latelys tellin' me what I can or can't do! And I'm not a racist, but..."

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Opening again the can of worms and ant risk of being called troll, what makes a tradition attractive? Exactly, that it's not like any other one! So, in this beatiful climate of 'political correctness', 'good vibs' and 'multiculturality' you're loosing your roots!!

 

Nobody asks anyone to change a certan belly dance or native african tradition, right? So, why should anyone take a centuries old dance, dating from a time when black people wasn't even known in Europe, out of context ? Who is looking for a confrontation, then?

 

I'm sorry, i can not stomach thesession.org. Is beyond my skills.

 

Cheers,

 

Fer

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dating from a time when black people wasn't even known in Europe

 

What about Kenneth the Niger, then?

 

http://www.nok-benin.co.uk/prev-articles/royal_8.htm

 

:P

 

Well, in Spain was even worse:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negro_of_Banyoles

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negro_of_Banyoles

 

:P

 

Cheers,

 

Fer

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dating from a time when black people wasn't even known in Europe

 

What about Kenneth the Niger, then?

 

http://www.nok-benin.co.uk/prev-articles/royal_8.htm

 

:P

 

Hey hang-on a bit! :angry:

 

May I ask the person who started this topic off: What the hell does this have to do with the concertina!? This is OFF-TOPIC if you ask me.

 

I'm not an aboriginal or any kind of 'black' person, and I don't like drunk ones walking down the street yelling out to their relatives; BUT I don't like that sort of language thank you very much. If you go around saying or even writing that word, what are you teaching the next generation? I mean children like me and children of good parents! What are you teaching them!? Are you teaching them to be impertinent or are you teaching them how to be a real young man/woman? My answer is you're teaching them to be impertinent; how to be rude; how to call out to aboriginals and call them an abusive name! Some aboriginals may call someone walking down the street, innocent as anything, and call them an abusive name, but it doesn't mean that we have to call them one back; does it?

 

Now, I'd suggest to get this sorted out and stop using foul language on this site, or would you like me to report you and your message?

Edited by Patrick King
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