Cultural appropriation

Who first committed ‘cultural appropriation’?

Culture clashes The pop star Adele was accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ for adopting a Jamaican hairstyle for the online Notting Hill Carnival. Who first committed this alleged sin? The concept has been traced to a paper presented by Canadian art historian Kenneth Coutts-Smith at a symposium of the International Association of Art Critics in Lisbon in September 1976 — he used the terms ‘cultural colonialism’ and ‘historical appropriation’. His earliest example didn’t involve black cultures, however, but the Medici adopting an ‘idealised view of Roman Republican Virtue’ in the construction of Florence. Bags of rubbish The mandatory charge for plastic bags is to be doubled to 10p and extended to

The sheer hypocrisy of the food culture wars

Alison Roman, a celebrity chef and Instagrammer, has come under attack from woke warriors because of her dish ‘#thestew’. Her crime? The recipe uses spiced chickpeas, coconut, and turmeric – and Roman does not call it a curry. Once again, we are witnessing the sorry sight of people, organisations and institutions crumbling in the face of those determined to bring ‘white’ culture to its knees. Food publishing companies are reviewing their recipes to check for cultural sensitivities. Last week, Bon Appétit magazine admitted that it was guilty of ‘decontextualizing recipes from non-white cultures’, while the editor-in-chief of ‘BBC Good Food’ and Olive magazine, told the Times that she is making

An open letter to the friend who dropped me after Question Time

I’ve put off sending a private email that’s been ready to go for weeks. Then last Sunday, I read Julie Burchill’s column in the Telegraph about the rigid ideological conformism amidst today’s purportedly ‘creative’ class, and it hit a nerve. Despite our sanctification of inclusivity and diversity, Burchill wrote, ‘exclusivity and groupthink still control the arts’. Because my own small experience of failing the progressive purity test this winter has been repeated up and down this country, it is not   small. Scaled up, the private becomes the public. So I’m finally sending my email as an open letter, allowing the Spectator readership in on a conversation germane to more than my