Sunday, May 15, 2005

Mavi

Turkish denim brand Mavi has a magazine called Maviology. Their Spring 2005 issue is devoted predominantly to Rasta culture. The introduction reads:

“Rasta became an audio-visually globalized culture in the last 20 years. Reggae as music, catalyzed by this wave, but different peoples admired the culture as by its symbolic items as well. Today, a reggae fan, wherever travels around the world, can find an item, belonging to Rasta. This is just we call ‘the cool side of’ globalization.”

That same page is illustrated by so-called Rasta items that have been collected from around the world, including a stuffed “Rastafarian” doll, complete with “take it easy” printed on its Tshirt and a disproportionately huge spliff hanging out of its mouth. I cannot help but wonder then, about this proclaimed ‘cool side of’ globalization. It’s cool that belief systems are distorted and reduced to stereotypes that promote existing ideologies that seek to marginalize and subjugate certain cultural groups? Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive, indeed this is a rant.

What gets me is when people try to be progressive yet manage to make profoundly contradictory mistakes in the process. Oblivious or not! Another article in the same issue talks about Haile Selassie. They give a brief (brief!) history and on Selassie regaining the throne from Mussolini: “The original plan was to achieve a level of modern [read: European] civilization in an African country, but, in the end, Ethiopia shared Black Africa’s unfortunate fate.”

And later: “We appease our consciences by buying a Sinead O’Connor CD, listening to Bono, or attending a Live Aid concert with humanitarian aid, but there are dozens of countries like Ethiopia and Africa. During the world’s globalization, we’ve forgotten Africa…”

And I won’t talk about the article that mentioned learning Jamaican.

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