Friday, December 26, 2008

Post #100: Why I Always Get Into Trouble When "Culture" Gets Involved

Thus far, the highlight of my trip to New Mexico was the "cultural field trip" my family took to Santa Fe this afternoon. None of us could stomach the thought of being cooped up in the house for another day, so all five of us packed into my parent's SUV and headed off into the snow.

Yes, snow. Its fucking snowing here, too.

Three hours, two lattes, one lunch stop in a tavern that served as a backdrop for a scene in the critically acclaimed feature film "Wild Hogs" later, we arrived at Museum Hill in Santa Fe. Having lived my entire life in the Pacific Northwest, its hard not to look at Southwestern architecture and culture as kitsch. But apparently pink stucco is normal is some regions of the world. And don't ask me to understand why rich white women bitching about the price of jewelry handmade by people living below the poverty level somehow isn't irony. Its all I can do not to snicker out loud.

That's not to say that I didn't come close a few times today. We visited two museums: one specializing the Southwest Native American cultures and one housing a collection of International Folk Art. I have nothing against museums, and have been known to enjoy a educational exhibit in my time, but I really think the whole experience would be a lot more entertaining if there was an open bar. And more interactive exhibits with actors, weaponry and live animals. I'd totally be down with that.

The Native American Museum had two exhibits that I really liked: one on couture jewelry (lots of bright and shiny objects) and one on comic book and manga art. It was in the latter exhibit where I got into a bit of trouble.

I was roaming around the museum by myself, a bit surly about the fact I couldn't share this with the only other person that I know that would get how cliched this whole set-up was. My family was probably getting tired of my Crabby McPartypooperton act and, wisely, was leaving me to my own devices. Which, today, involved snickering at my own lame jokes and wishing I had a receptive audience.

I was fascinated, however, by the use of a modern medium (anime and comic books) to tell ancient stories. Pottery is pottery is pottery. but give me something with bright colors and some swear words and I'm hooked. I spent a good twenty minutes in that exhibit.

One of the pieces was a series of comic strips by a young Hopi woman, complete with some life size renditions of the central characters, all of whom broke cultural stereotypes, and two of whom were lesbian.

I had been sitting there contemplating this for a few minutes when a two women strolled up with a gaggle of small children between 4 and 10 years old. Both of them were about my age and were wearing sweater jackets, lots of makeup, $200 jeans and pointy-toed boots. One of the kids was on a leash and was wearing a shirt that said "Tallahassee Youth Choir." There was a lot of screaming. I was not pleased.

Blond bob with frosted highlights looks at blond bob with bangs and says in a loud voice, "I really don't think that kind of imagery is appropriate for children." Obviously referring to the life size image of two women embracing.

"Yah, heaven forbid that we ruin the next viewing of Pocahontas with some goddamn ed dyked-out brown people." The words were out of my mouth before I had a chance to connect my lips to my brain. Shit.

"Excuse me." Frosty blonde shoots me with dagger eyes.

Now, the most appropriate thing to do in this situation would have been to walk away. I'm not feeling very appropriate these days.

"Seriously, you bring children to a museum that might not even need to exist absent mass genocide and you get offended with some subtle and exceptionally creative girl-on-girl action? Nice."

Then I walked away quickly, before they could call security and before I started pounding my own forehead with my fist.

It didn't get much better after that. In the International Folk Art Museum, I ran into the same women as my brother and I were making comments about a sculpture of a mermaid that was more or less tweaking her own nipple. Right about the time he said something so funny that I farted. Not quietly.

And, with that, I decided that that was enough culture for one day. And probably the next two years.


kristin said...

i laughed so hard i almost just pissed my pants. awesome

(0v0) said...

I bet the docents secretly wanted to kiss you.

mikey said...

You've got to paint "Crabby McPartypooperton" on the top tube of your favorite bike, europro style.

Fiona Graham said...

Thank you, as an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation,I say thank you.I know just the type of women your talking about,and they annoy the shit out of me! Next time just fart at them! lol
Fiona's mom