Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The welcome of the west

Discussing multiculturalism and western individualism with Tariana Turia one evening a couple of years ago, I pointed out that the real joy and great strength of western individualism is that it's open to everybody, and has nothing to do with race.  Unlike the tribal culture she promotes, Western culture is a culture of welcome -- it doesn't say "Go away," it says "Come in."  Naturally she demurred politely ("I've never heard anything so unintelligent," she sniffed), but I explained that I couldn't stay to finish the discussion as I had to go to concert in the Town Hall that rather demonstrated my point: a concert of Russian classical music performed in Auckland, conducted by a Peruvian, with a young Chinese soloist on piano and played by an orchestra containing people hailing from at least a dozen different countries.

I thought of that again when I saw this piece promoted on the Samizdat blog under the heading 'The Plus Side of Multiculturalism': its Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water, performed by a Japanese kabuki orchestra...

Not even a Grammy award for New Zealand's fourth-most popular folk-comedy duo could be as unlikely.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I wonder if perhaps the world is becoming bi-cultural. Ie. there is an international global culture that everyone can take part in and the more localised form which is largely off-limits to foreigners. Case in point, Japan.

    They have done a fantastic job of exporting their culture globally but yet there are certain elements of it that are seemingly impentrable.


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