Cultural Trade-Offs
[ Issue 47 ]

Emily Bronto clearly approves of Cultural Trade-Offs

Bikwil is pleased to present Cultural Trade-Offs

Cultural Trade-Offs

Eileen Marshall here issues a long overdue challenge.

Its addressed to cultural chauvinists who wish to destroy such cherished traditions as fox-hunting, whale-catching, bull-fighting or Hara-Kari. 

I deplore the cant of xenophobic do-gooders. A nation’s repository of sacred customs must be revered. Without them a people are without dreams and succeeding generations are left to flounder in normlessness.

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Cultural Trade-Offs — Eileen Marshall


I deplore the cant of xenophobic do-gooders. A nation’s repository of sacred customs must be revered. Without them a people are without dreams and succeeding generations are left to flounder in normlessness.

We must support, not threaten, praxis — especially our own. Who of us does not hold in high regard those hunters who gather together to shoot wild fowl — the birds are doing nothing useful.

Watch how manfully these devotees maintain their stance in the face of animal liberationists, a band of fearsome desperadoes if ever I saw one.

Let us revere the British in their persistence in the hunt, a ritual that has kept generations of the ‘better’ classes occupied when nothing else could. What a sight it is. Hundreds in pursuit of one creature. Surely this pageant is worth any little inconvenience to the fox. Let us not forget the sacrifice of the fair sex — submerging their sensibilities in pursuit of a greater good. Watch as they follow, nay lead, their men to glory.

They are surely riding to a different drum.

Go further afield. To the Orient.

The attempts to stop Japan from hunting the whale shows a callous indifference to another nation’s ethos. One knows only too well how resonant memories of such quests can be. Just ask Captain Ahab.

Hunting the whale has long been a core part of the Japanese cultural imperative, vital to the development of their collective unconscious. The mere fact that they are combining tradition with scientific enquiry illustrates the purity of their motives. The claim that their only interest in whales is sushi, has been cooked up by the conservationists. When they exceed some arbitrary bureaucratic quota, they should be praised not damned: they have the courage to stand resolute.

Bull-fighting is another cultural institution that attracts opprobrium from the narrow-minded. How misunderstood is this drama between the animal and man. Watch as the picador, his cape a kaleidoscope of colour, teases the bull into the full extent of its rage, for the bull's final engagement with the matador. Writers, film stars and philosophers have all rejoiced over the eternal drama played out in the bull-rings of Spain.

Do-gooders and animal rights exponents who say bull-fighting is barbaric are missing the point. The great beast is elevated by his conflict with one, whom the Bible says, is only a little lower than God. If you are in doubt read Ernest Hemingway.

Other rites have been allowed to wither away. For instance, the practice of Hara-Kari. Whole generations of Japanese have grown up without any one of them personally experiencing this. You can blame Western Cultural Imperialism and karaoke for this tragic loss.

We must not sit on our hands while such things happen. It is not enough to preserve current rituals, we must revive ones that are, at this point in time, extinct.

To achieve this end I am proposing tradeoffs: Japanese follow their tradition of whaling as long as they reinstitute their ritual of Hara-Kari. The Spanish search out Torquemada's descendants to do for mankind what they are doing for the bull. The British reinstate the chastity belt. The BBC dramas on Aunty make one wonder if this is an impossible ask. Let them instead reintroduce the ancient practice of the pillory.

And we must not forget our own backyard. Australia must restore the lash as a trade-off for the dogma that it is mandatory for ‘real’ men to shoot anything that moves.

Finally, our politicians must do their part. At any cost, they must immediately reinstitute the Divine Right of Kings to ensure that the British monarchy persists into the third millennium. Any treatment of Republicans must stop. Immediately.

This will excite the Monarchists into a frenzy, reduce the Republicans to anarchy, put us streets ahead of the British and reap their eternal gratitude when we lead the charge backwards into the third millennium.

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