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dynamicafrica:

DOCUMENTARY: The United States of Hoodoo

Written by Darius James and Oliver Hardt and directed by Hardt, the documentary The United States of Hoodoo explores the influence of African spirituality and religious customs, brought to the Americas by the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade centuries ago, in American popular culture.

Excerpt from the official synopsis:

The United States of Hoodoo is a road trip to the sources of black popular culture in America. The film’s main character is African-American writer Darius James who is known for his often bitingly satirical and self-ironic texts on music, film and literature. The film’s story begins when Darius´ world is turned inside out after his father´s death.

Uprooted from his life in Berlin, he unwillingly returns to his childhood home. All that remains from his father is his mask collection and a cardboard box filled with ashes. His father had been a painter and sculptor, his work drawing deeply on manifestations of African-based spirituality.Yet while he lived he fiercely rejected any idea of being inspired by the old gods of Africa.

Back in a house that is now his, but not quite, Darius finds himself confronted with many questions about his own life. In need of answers he sets off on a search, not for his roots but for traces of the spiritual energy that fueled and informed a whole culture.

(read more)

In Morocco, where men are responsible for most of their country’s artisanal production, women have maintained the age-old craft of  weaving.

Until recently these rural Moroccan women have remained all but invisible behind the warp threads of their looms, single-handedly passing down the weaving tradition from mother to daughter. In this way designs, colors, and patterns are preserved like family heirlooms, within each family, each town, and each region.

Untangling Threads: Female Artisans in Morocco’s Rug Weaving Industry, offers a glimpse into rural Moroccan life as it documents the culture and craft of female weavers, specifically focusing on artisans from three rural weaving communities: Ain Leuh, Ait Hamza, and Taznakht.

(cont. reading)

At this moment, whilst stuck in the Bible Belt of the US, I feel morally obligated to express my discontent with this holiday and our traditions surrounding it.

**SPOILERS** I give birth to Jesus & stick him in a cattle trough.

The last thing I feel like hearing right now is a lecture on how I’m not a happy enough person to enjoy Christmas, or that this is a problem resulting from my inability to accept Jesus as my lord & savior. Thus, I’m going to go down a short list of these traditions, the problems I see with them, and why you’re full of shit if you can’t understand them (Notice how I didn’t say you had to agree with me - you really don’t, but if you can’t look at this subject from someone else’s viewpoint, you need a reality check). 

#1 - The Continuation of the Christmas Origin Lie

Let us be honest here - we all know that Christmas has about as much a historical basis in the birth of Jesus as it does in the birth of Hooters. It was an attempt by the Christian Church under the Roman Empire to make Christianity more popular amongst the Pagans of Northern Europe and the remaining Pagans of Rome proper. It’s a winter solstice festival, just admit it. It smacks of denial to me, personally. Yes, every ethnic group has a pre-Christian history, and no, you and your bloodline are not an exception. We were all Pagan people at some point, and in all honesty, chances are your people were bullied into the Church. It’s not something intrinsic to Christianity - it’s how every good religion starts up - the threat of good old-fashioned ethnic and/or religious cleansing. It doesn’t mean that Christianity (or any religion, for that matter) was or is inherently evil, it means that people are assholes. So don’t hand me the discrimination argument. 

Now, with this knowledge in hand, what I want to know is why do we have to continually bullshit 6 year olds everywhere with the whole story about how Jesus was born on December 25th. Aside from the fact that it’s a lie, it strikes me as cheapening to the story of world religious history, particularly that of ecclesiastical history, to keep this crap up. 

#2 - The Mandatory Christmas Prozac-Attack

If there is one thing that most people find ultimately more annoying than any other feature of Christmas, it’s probably the social requirement that you act like you’ve snorted a goddamn line of crushed happy pills. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas personally, you’re expected to act like it’s the greatest holiday ever. If you aren’t jumping for joy at the prospect of a creepy drunk in a Santa costume coming to your local mall, you are referred to as “grinch”, “scrooge”, or some other holiday reference to an “evil” character that, ironically, has a very real, upsetting reason for hating the holiday. The fact is that Christmas is the one holiday of the year that allows people to be the most insensitive dicks they can possibly be. Ever think that the supposed “scrooge” might actually hate the holiday season not because he has to be the quintessential evil villain, but because he has no family and is constantly reminded of that fact? Does anyone ever consider the implications of forcing someone to pretend they’re thankful for everything in their lives, when in fact they may be borderline suicidal? Of course not. Ever think that rubbing your happiness in someone else’s face might just be cruel and kind of fucked up? Certainly not. That’s the danger in promoting the prozac-attack. For a holiday that supposedly promotes the generosity and triumph of the human spirit, this approach ultimately turns it into a facade. 

#3 - Murdering Your Light Bill to Impress the Neighbors

There are 3 things that ultimately symbolize the arrival of the holiday season: Santa-themed everything, corny Christmas songs on the radio and the mandatory god-awful yard in every neighborhood that has more bright lights than it does yard space. Say it isn’t tacky, and I’ll call you a lying whore. We all have that neighbor, and if you don’t think you do, then surprise! You’re probably that neighbor. Mind you, for this particular pet peeve of mine, I don’t have any particular logic behind my hatred of it other than the fact that it’s tacky and wasteful, and thus totally not worth the effort. That is, unless the sole purpose of your display is the continuation of your pissing contest with your fellow tacky neighbor.

             Pictured: Probably a better holiday decoration than your Christmas lights display.

On that note, I am off to appear happy in front of family members for the sake of not being nagged at for the next 6 months. Peace.