Ronja Maltzahn and the dreadlocks of cultural appropriation

In Germany, a concert by Ronja Maltzahn in Hanover was cancelled because the organiser suddenly realised that she had dreadlocks, and a white person with dreadlocks is not allowed in his or her world view. That would fall under the term cultural appropriation, so the organisers said on their website even after the media frenzy, thus showing very little awareness of what cultural appropriation really is.

Take me, for example. For a good part of my life, I have been using a philosophical-magical system put together by Toltec Indians and Aztecs. What an average white gentleman would do is to suck up such a system, re-label it and re-sell it as his own product.

That is cultural appropriation and it does exist. It is dishonest and dishonourable – a bit like plagiarism, flaunting someone else’s feathers and not mentioning the sources. However sympathetic Wim Hof may be, he did not invent ice bathing, and his knowledge is simply a mishmash of Kneipp and some ancient breathing techniques from the Himalayas. I don’t know if Wim ever attributed anything to those sources, but I started reading Kneipp’s book because I do research the sources of everything and that was a learning experience for me.

The knowledge I use was not developed by white people. That’s exactly what touched me in my teens – this knowledge is so different, it’s a radically different way of approaching our reality, from the idea of a gathering point that can move. I was enormously impressed by the ingenuity and tension of the philosophy described, which is also called the magician’s explanation of reality. This was an explanation that I could grasp and that gave me a real idea of how the universe around me worked, something that the boredom machine they called ‘school’ never knew how to offer me. Learning to begin to see the golden edge of boredom – that was how Nietzsche described school, which he saw as an instrument of society for the endless cultivation of civil servants.

How come the White Universities have no competition? They have personally set that competition on fire. The enormous library of the Aztecs went up in smoke, as did the library of Alexandria. An incredibly dirty trick to put a whole continent at a disadvantage, and if people are still angry about it, that is completely understandable. So cultural appropriation and heritage do exist as a phenomenon, and honestly naming your sources of inspiration is the least anyone should and can do.

I grew up with mostly coloured heroes, Prince, KRS-One – those were my role models. But what would be a typical psyborg mistake is to start identifying as a man of colour. Pretending that I have a different skin colour because I had black role models is of course out of the question – and would only get me jeers, but it’s not fundamentally different from going around demanding that everyone else should address me differently based on my own idolatry.

This is also the case here. For how can you name the source of a hairstyle? Do you have to tattoo it on your forehead, this hairstyle started in Jamaica? By the way, I think it was the Aborigines who can lay claim to this hairstyle. But this news item is another excellent example of the psyborg disease: not being able to tell the difference between a psychological-digital layer and reality.

The problem is that everyone knows the origin of the dreadlock. It would only be cultural appropriation if the person in question gave it another name and pretended that she personally invented the dreadlock. That is cultural appropriation, and if you don’t even understand the term you shouldn’t use it, especially if you start discriminating against people with it.

It’s hard enough for people of colour to get rid of the ones who are really faking it. I can’t see who was behind this ‘decision’, but I think you’ll often find that it’s frightened white people whose fear images distort reality with nonsense that only makes it all worse.

Mountains, giants and mushrooms – in this fairytale-like collection, magic whirls and swirls, yet another reality breaks through as well – the whole world turned into The Shining, and the pilgrimage to Szymborska’s grave, a simple stone in Krakow, fails at the last minute; a journey without check marks across sixteen national borders to his daughter, however, succeeds. In its combination of fairy-tale nature, historical background and eerily topical reality, this collection of poems is Benders’ best since he lost count.

 

You have no time to read this, but that is because you are no longer human. If something of the original person were still alive in you, the old mycelia of childhood, then you would learn a lot from this book, indeed, with its magical knowledge, it might become your most useful possession. A book about the human imagination, and how it managed to get into the iron grip of trans-dimensional cockroaches. Furthermore, there are also magical tips to substantially improve your life and your time acceleration, and M.H.H. Benders also makes light-hearted mincemeat of the entire Dutch literature, what more could you want!

If you don’t want to crawl around mars like a cyber insect under a scrubbed boot – which is on the agenda – then you’d do well to read this book.

The first collected work of Martinus Hendrikus Hogervorst-Benders comprises no fewer than 712 pages and weighs in at least 1.4 kilos in thin print. It is the most ambitious collection written in the last thirty years, and certainly one of the highlights of Dutch literature as a whole, in line with Snoek and van de Woestijne. Anyone with a heart for literature and who wants to read an ambitious book brimming with cast-iron poems instead of yet another typical Dutch-language ‘masterpiece’ will be delighted with the purchase of this brick.

The Microdose Bible is the worlds most comprehensive and complete oversight of mind altering substances, teacher plants and mushrooms. Dutch mycologist and philosopher M.H.H.Benders takes you on a magical journey full of wonder about what teachers nature has to offer. Includes the Psychosupersum, a guide that describes all known mental disorders and offers wisdom for their treatment. 

This book will be published end of 2022.