Harper Collins is about to release a children’s book called The Daring Book for Girls(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) in Australia. It contains a very short section on how to play a didgeridoo — and wouldn’t you know it, someone is offended.
But the general manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, Dr Mark Rose, says the publishers have committed a major faux pas by including a didgeridoo lesson for girls.
Dr Rose says the didgeridoo is a man’s instrument and touching it could make girls infertile, and has called for the book to be pulped.
I think Dr Rose has confused aboriginal belief with reality. The didgeridoo is a long piece of hollow painted wood. Go ahead, girls, you can touch it and it won’t hurt you, no matter how much someone claims its magic powers will do weird things to your gonads.
I would think that he could, possibly, make a case for cultural insensitivity if it were true that it would the book violated native taboos, but even that wouldn’t be grounds for demanding that the book be destroyed — it would just mean that members of a culture that rigidly defines women’s roles would not be buying the book. But this Rose kook goes further — he’s not just saying it violates a tradition, he is arguing that it literally has magic powers. What next, will Catholics start claiming that pieces of bread literally turn into pieces of a god? That would be ridiculous.
“I would say from an Indigenous perspective, an extreme mistake, but part of a general ignorance that mainstream Australia has about Aboriginal culture,” he said.
“We know very clearly that there is a range of consequences for females touching a didgeridoo, it’s men’s business, and in the girls book, instructions on how to use it, for us it is an extreme cultural indiscretion.”
Dr Rose says the consequences for a girl touching a didgeridoo can be quite extreme.
“It would vary in the places where it is, infertility would be the start of it ranging to other consequences,” he said.
“I won’t even let my daughter touch one…. as cultural respect. And we know it’s men’s business.
“In our times there are men’s business and women’s business, and the didgeridoo is definitely a men’s business ceremonial tool.”
Heh heh. He said “ceremonial tool.” I know who’s playing the tool here.
(via Josh Reviews Everything)