Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Re: DVD & Truganini video

Beth Curran bcurran@columbus.rr.com
Sat, 3 Aug 2002 08:18:43 -0400

Barbara's quoted article wrote:

Gary Morris, the manager of Midnight Oil responded
that Truganini had been used as a "metaphor for
injustice", and was not a "comment on aboriginality".
After discussions with the Tasmanian Aboriginal
Centre Midnight Oil agreed to remove the description
from the liner notes declaring publicly that they
recognised that Tasmania still had a population of
about 7,000 indigenous Australians, and that the claim
that Truganini was the last Aboriginal Tasmanian,
diminished the Aboriginality of these people.

The Oils have long been recognised as a white
Australian band that fosters and promotes Aboriginal
musicianship, and who themselves use Aboriginal
instruments and imagery to deliver an intelligent
polemic in support of Aboriginal rights, and in
promotion of Aboriginal issues. Their empathy
notwithstanding, the appropriation of Aboriginal
history and Aboriginal culture and its re-use in a
white cultural context runs the risk of perpetuating
the cultural exploitation of indigenous

This kind of argument whereby artists from one "cultural group"
(whatever they mean by that) are accused of "appropriating" or
"co-opting" from another group if they dare to venture outside their own
group's norms is just plain narrow-minded.  This accusation is almost
invariably applied across racial groupings - and it continues to sound
suspiciously racist to me to claim that only one group has legitimate
claim to an issue or style of expression.  Feh!

On a related subject, the magazine section in today's Columbus, Ohio
paper has a slobbering article about Creed, claiming they're pioneers in
thought provoking songs with Christian-relevant content although not an
evangelical band.  I am not making this up, as Dave Barry would say -