My chum Charles Pfeil just sent me a link to this video of Danny MacAskill, who is a famous Scottish trials cyclist from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. In his email to me, Charles spake as follows “If you have six minutes of time to see something impressive, check out this video. It is somewhat unbelievable, but at the end it shows his misses, which establishes that although his ability is great it isn’t perfect.”
Well, I must admit that Danny does things in a gymnasium that you won’t see me doing, not the least that I never go to a gymnasium. In the spirit of friendly competition, however, I took Charles’s Danny video and raised him two more.
First, we have the classic Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out video, which is how I first got introduced to Danny (metaphorically speaking) several years ago.
And if you want to cringe in terror while gasping in awe, you really should feast your orbs on this video of Danny flaunting his mountain bike skills on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline, which is to be found on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Since we are talking videos, I cannot stop myself from presenting three more of my all-time favorites (I know I’ve shared these before, but they are always worth another viewing). The first — Where the Hell is Matt? — always beings a smile to my face, plus I love the accompanying music.
The second is of the Rube Goldberg Machine in the This Too Shall Pass video by the American rock band OK Go.
And the third is the Jeb Corliss Grinding the Crack video, which always leaves me with my heart in my mouth and the hair standing up on the back of my neck. Once again, the music accompanying this video is awesome.
And, finally, it’s time for something completely different. My wife (Gina the Gorgeous) loves Indian music. One of her friends just sent her a link to this video asking, “What if Elvis Presley was Really Punjabi?” (An alternative spelling is “Panjabi,” but the old British spelling “Punjabi” remains in more common general usage than the academically more precise “Panjabi,” both of which mean a native or inhabitant of the Punjab region in India.)
I love Bollywood musicals like Bride and Prejudice and Monsoon Wedding, and I think the editing of this Elvis video — which (as one commenter noted) is a masterpiece of synchronization — totally captures the Bollywood spirit.
I immediately shared this with a couple of friends. One responded tongue-in-cheek, “Does this make Elvis guilty of cultural appropriation?” Obviously not, in this case, because Elvis had nothing to do with it, but this does open a whole new can of worms.
Cultural appropriation is one of the things I’m in at least two minds about. The main problem I have is that it’s a very subjective area — one man’s cultural appropriation is another man’s kilt, as it were. I’m certainly against the exploitation of another culture’s religious and cultural traditions, but I also think that we can quickly find ourselves tap-dancing on shaky ground if someone sees a dance that gets their feet tapping, or a style of clothing they find appealing, and they are told, “This is not for you!”
Where does cultural appropriation end and naysaying for the sake of naysaying begin? Is my wife not permitted to wear a sari because she’s not Indian? Am I never to don a kilt because I’m not Scottish or am I to be forever banned from sporting Lederhosen because I’m not Bavarian? Can someone born in the USA be barred from attending an event with the word “Culture” in its title because they are American?
Speaking on behalf of all Englishmen (as the oldest extant male in our branch of the Maxfield line, I have my dear old mother’s permission to do so), if anyone in the world wants to form a Morris troupe and sally forth in full Morris dancing regalia — including silly caps on their heads, bell pads on their shins, and waving their sticks and handkerchiefs with wild abandon — then they have my unreserved permission to do so without fear of waking up in the wee hours of the morning to find the cultural appropriation police pounding on their door.
How about you? Do you have any thoughts you’d care to share on anything you’ve seen or read in this blog?