Secular sins


From the time people began moving beyond their tribes, intermingled and intermarried, we have been learning and borrowing from other people’s languages and cultures.

That ought to be a good thing but in the madness of modern living it is no longer, it’s now the secular sin of cultural appropriation.

Auckland restaurant Coco’s Cantina is considering a name change after being accused of appropriating Latin culture.

It comes days after the eatery’s co-founder accused a competitor of appropriation.

On Sunday, the Herald reported that Coco’s Cantina co-founder Damaris Coulter had accused Auckland restaurateurs Tom Hishon and Josh Helm of appropriating the Māori word for king in their new Britomart restaurant.

Hishon and Helm – who own Orphans Kitchen – have always maintained the name Kingi is a colloquial shortening for kingfish.

But in several heated Instagram comments, Coulter accuses Hishon of “ignoring” the concerns of Māori over the name.

Now, the restaurant Coulter founded with her sister Renee has received several accusations online that the name Coco’s Cantina is offensively appropriating Latin culture.

In response, Renee Coulter, posted on Instagram yesterday that they are having conversations about changing their name this week.

“One of the Kingi advisers [to Hishon and Helm] asked us to respond to his concerns around the name of our restaurant, as he and others find it offensive,” she wrote.

“If our eatery name has ever offended anyone, we are deeply sorry, we have never intended to ever upset, offend or disrespect anyone, and it’s important that we understand if we have.” . . 

Good grief, how high will this peak madness go?

Jonathan Pie shows how bad it’s got (if you’re sensitive to bad language, you might be offended):


Cultural appropriation is one of the sects of identity politics and that, in Antonia Senior ‘s words is  Christianity without redemption:

 . . .Identity politics has become a secular religion, and “white privilege” is one of its shibboleths. . . 

To be woke demands faith in certain creeds, with the twins Equality and Diversity as unassailable deities. It demands a knowledge of the right language. You must believe in certain disprovable evils — like the existence of a malevolent patriarchy — and like many strict sects, it punishes its apostates most severely. The Twitter storms are fierce for those who express a non-woke view but should have known better than for those outside of the faith altogether. . . 

But the problem with identity politics as a secular religion is precisely its failure to allow for absolution. The faith that Saad  espouses is utterly bleak, even cloaked as it is in words of love. It utterly fails to allow for redemption, and its most direct  religious antecedent is found in Calvinist predestination.

Under this doctrine, God has predetermined whether you are damned or elect. From the second that the right sperm hit it lucky with the most fecund egg, your place in the woke hierarchy was decided. In the modern progressive world, informed by intersectional feminists, it does not matter what you say or do, the only defining factor in your state of grace is your skin, gender and sexuality.

This is a profoundly depressing outlook for three main reasons. The first is the essential nihilism in the creed. Your intent? Irrelevant. Your deeds? Likewise. The sum of your experience, desires, longings, beliefs? Your humanity itself? Nah, not relevant.

The second dispiriting message is that the problems its aims to address are insoluble. White people are racist by their nature, and inherently incapable of seeing their own racism or addressing it. Men are misogynists, by default, witting or unwitting bulwarks of the patriarchy. If they don’t believe they are individually at fault they are in denial. And if they try to say, actually, I’m not sure the patriarchy exists, they are mansplaining misogynist bastards. This is the politics of perpetual antagonism, of a  kind of bleak acceptance that all relationships between different categories of human are necessarily fractious.

Most of us accept that racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination exist. Most of us accept that it would be infinitely preferable if they did not. But as progressive politics grip, and the more the Pandora’s box of vile isms is talked about, the  fewer of us seem to believe that it is possible to eradicate them.

The bigoted and ignorant have always been with us, and now the new bigots are those who show no tolerance for anyone who doesn’t sign up to all the tenets of their woke religion.

The third problem with Puritan wokeness is that it sinister echoes in the history of predestination. When the creed reached its zenith in the seventeenth century, the logical hole at its centre became insanely obvious. If it does not matter to God how you behave, because your salvation was pre-determined at birth, why not behave however the hell you want to?

A society which does not allow for people to atone, to be redeemed, and to be judged on their intent and actions is a miserable place. Most people interact with each other without antagonism most of the time. We should start being a bit more forgiving to each other, ditch the Puritanism and learn to cherish the well-meaning stumble towards decency. Even if, sometimes, we fall.

Some of the words in the 60s song Melting Pot would be regarded as offensive now, but surely the message is still relevant:

If you lump it all together
Well, you’ve got a recipe for a get-along scene
Oh what a beautiful dream
If it could only come true . . 

It won’t come true if identity politics with its doctrine of dissection, division and adherence to the creed that makes cultural appropriation a sin is allowed to triumph.

Rural round-up


Dr Doug Edmeades responds to Green Party agriculture policy:

The Green Party’s plan to help Kiwi farmers transition from traditional agriculture to regenerative and organic practices is a bit redundant, according to Dr Doug Edmeades.

Most farmers are already using many regenerative agriculture practices, such as rotational grazing, and zero tillage, the soil scientist told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.

“Let’s not delude ourselves that if we follow RA, we will improve soil health, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality – that’s nonsense.”

Edmeades listened with interest to yesterday’s interview with Green Party co-leader James Shaw, where the Minister said regenerative agriculture would result in better profits for farmers. . . 

‘This just cannot happen’: $9.5 billion at risk as horticulture sector struggles to fill $25-an-hour jobs – Bonnie Flaws:

The shortage of horticultural workers due to Covid-19 border restrictions is putting $9.5 billion of the country’s economy at risk, says New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard.

About 10,000 seasonal workers would be needed starting from next month to prune and pick $1 billion worth of fruit across Hawke’s Bay alone, he said.

The shortage had the potential to cripple the region’s economic recovery.

“This just cannot happen.” . . 

Fonterra set to return to profit, but will it pay a dividend? – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra’s annual result this week is expected to show that the dairy giant is back in the black, but will it pay a final dividend?

The co-op last year posted a net loss of $605 million, driven mostly by writedowns of its overseas businesses, dwarfing the previous year’s shortfall of $196m, and sparking a major change in direction.

Fonterra did not pay a dividend in its previous financial year but in its latest earnings update, it said it would reassess a payout at the end of the latest year to July 31. . . 

The future of food – Greg Bruce:

Most of New Zealand’s lowland areas are now devoted to food production. How we produce food for consumption, sale and export continues to shape our landscape and lives, but the 90 per cent of New Zealanders who live in cities have little contact with those processes and the social and environmental considerations they create.

Can farmers improve yields and use resources more efficiently? Can consumers reconnect with the land and farm practices to make more informed choices and reduce waste? What is the future of our food?

THE LATE MAY EVENING my wife and I went to Coco’s Cantina for dinner, it was appallingly cold, probably the coldest night of the year. I wore a long black double-breasted wool coat, which I call ‘The Aucklander’ because it so obviously marks me as a stereotypical city person, which I am—lacking DIY skills, any sort of self-sufficiency, and any idea of what it takes to survive without a supermarket within easy driving distance. . .

Ewe’ll be seeing spots with quintuplets – Daisy Hudson:

You could be forgiven for thinking you were going dotty.

Sue Rissman certainly did when one of her ewes delivered five spotted black and white lambs on Sunday.

The quintuplets, four girls and a boy, seemed perfectly unaware of the interest in them yesterday as they trotted around after their mum on the 21ha lifestyle block Mrs Rissman and her husband, Grant, own inland from Palmerston.

The pair have 47 ewes, which have overwhelmingly delivered twins and triplets. . .

Two farming families form state of the art dairy business :

Two farming families from the Conwy Valley in Wales have gone into a partnership to run as a single state-of-the art dairy business.

The families decided to join together for a better work-life balance, more stock, less pressure and the prospect of new opportunities.

Young farmer Emyr Owen, 30, from Bodrach, near Pandy Tudur, farms in partnership with his parents on a 185-acre former beef and sheep farm.

He joined up with his next door neighbour Gwydion Jones, 38, whose family formerly farmed a herd of 150 dairy cattle at the neighbouring 95-acre Ty’n Ffynnon farm.. . 

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