Thursday, June 11, 2015
Mad Rant: Whoring Your Culture
It should be remembered that while this particular display is certainly shocking and has grabbed some headlines, the Palace of Versailles is often used by the French government as the setting for events which, while usually less offensive, are just as inappropriate. Last year sex video star Kim Kardishian and her rapper husband Kanye West stayed at Versailles with an entourage of friends prior to their wedding. For the right price, anyone can rent out a piece of Versailles for practically anything. What has been done to the Palace of Versailles is even worse than the Red Chinese putting a Starbucks in the Forbidden City. This is what I call ‘whoring your culture’ and republics (that used to be monarchies) are experts at it. From east to west, it happens all over the world to varying degrees of offensiveness. Republican governments take the magnificent monuments of the monarchies they usurped and whore them out like pimps. They take what has great cultural significance, even sacred, spiritual significance and put them up for rent like the owner of a seedy motel with a sign that says “hourly rates available” -wink, wink. To these people have any idea what something like Versailles “means”?
And yet, to lesser degrees, this sort of thing happens all over the world. In Korea, China and Vietnam they have paid actors to reenact ceremonies at their imperial palaces. In India, the Red Fort is used as a backdrop for political speeches and former royal residences across Europe are regular tramped through by hordes of sweaty, gum popping tourists who may simply wish to mark it off their “Things to See” list. Now, I must hasten to add, I am not trying to shut down tourism to these places but there should be some decorum observed and there should be some limits as to what one can do. Yet, all of these things tend to happen to a palace when there are no longer any royals residing in them. They overthrow their monarchy, seize the property of the royals and then make money selling tickets for people to come see it and even paying people to dress up like the former royals and impersonate them. It reminds me, particularly when speaking of a case such as that of Queen Marie Antoinette, of murderers who sign book or movie deals and end up profiting from their crime. However you look at it, it’s positively disgusting.