Good Morning! It is a Monday and the weekend has not quite left the edges of my mind as new matters and concerns push their way to the front of the stage, trying to attack a crazy looking front-man who has been chugging a hefty bottle of Coca-cola and singing his heart out. Aren't there guards at this concert? Probably not, the last few rushes by the mob like crowd pushed them out long ago. Should this surprise you? No, I don't think so at all.

I said that I would publish how my paper went on Friday, but to be honest I never got around to it, so yes I technically lied. The weekend presented some very interesting opportunities for me. The University hosted a multi-cultural fair on campus. This has been a fairly long standing tradition, and the weather was perfect for once, surprisingly so really. I performed with the drum club on the steps of George Washington. We played our traditional beats such as kuku and fenga (bah can't spell tonight). I felt this almost long forgotten surge as I began to tell the crowd to sing out loud with us. "Alright alright get clapping!" Raising my hands above my heads with my eyes locking with every member of the surrounding crowds, pulling them into the vortex of rapid beats, strong pulses and a desire to shed away cares, suspend the issues for a moment. Take a reprieve. Grades, jobs, futures, pasts, present(s), all of it liquidated into nothing, replaced by a strong connection with music and the crowd. There is something to walking away from a good show, regardless of how low key.

I walked up and down campus walk talking with the many vendors that lined the brick walkway. Everyone seemed to enjoy the sunny April day to its fullest. Wouldn't be easy if a multi-cultural world really worked like that? However, that does not fly, because at a certain point, it is an elaborate illusion, albeit a pretty one. Cultures are a valuable commodity when someone can sell a traditional African drum for 250 bucks. Does being multi-cultural mean we just have parties and eat "ethnic" food? I can't say such is the case. The matter of becoming diversified would be an easier matter entirely if such were true. No, I am sorry that I just cannot accept that. Multi-cultural fair and other like events are a start but not near enough to a final product. Just because you eat thai food does not make you close to the Thai people. Bubble tea? Yes, it is delicious but it doesn't draw you any more. At that point I am really only talking to myself. Are you, am I, willing to work with the implications and problems that arise from two worlds colliding? Let me say this as a closing thought on such a series matter, no item worth having has ever come without work. Good Music, Good Food, etc etc. shows some fun parts of a culture but will not connect them beyond cheap novelties.

Can I move beyond the ideal? Am I ready to dispel the dream for the reality no matter how grim it may be? I sadly cannot say for sure.


chrispy said...

I loved the first part of this post ...your description of the experience of the music.

As for the second part ...one has to ask which culture we are trying to portray with funnel cakes.

(sorry for all the ellipses ...I'm working on a computer without a comma key)

-Chris Payne

Bakhtin's Jali said...

That's a good point...re: funnel cakes. Could it be said that we have to take a culture and channel it through what we consider to be normal American fair atmosphere? Large Signs reading: Gyros that once used to read HOTDOGS. It changed, but it is still the same sign.

At least there was Bubble tea!