The impossibly fickle, selective and whimsical rules of cultural appropriation are hard to keep straight.
(Oops! I said "straight." Apologies to whomever. Oops, can I say "whomever?" Zimever? Verselves? Gah.)
According to the white people who run the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, eating tacos, drinking tequila and wearing sombreros on Cinco de Mayo "are textbook examples of cultural appropriation." Euro-privileged people at Gonzaga University similarly warned "non-Mexican individuals" on campus not to wear costumes insensitive to the "Latinx culture." No-nos included "serapes" and "fake mustaches."
An African-American writer at The Root, a website for "Black news, opinions, politics, and culture," counseled non-Mexican people on behalf of Mexican people to "cut it out with being a culturally appropriating jackass and leave the sombreros home."
According to the politically correct powers that be on Twitter, a white girl cannot wear a Chinese qipao dress to prom because Asian-Americans might be offended -- even though actual Chinese people are not. The cultural contretemps was set off by a Chinese-American man, Jeremy Lam, who fumed, "My culture is NOT your goddamned prom dress" -- while littering his own social media feed with ghetto slang ("N---- dayuum!") appropriated from rappers.
And a Korean-American restaurant owner came under fire recently for cheekily naming her business "Yellow Fever" (used to describe the condition of non-Asian males enamored of Asian females) to "embrace the term & reinterpret it positively."
To review the misappropriation mandates so far: Teenage white girls in Utah can't wear Chinese dresses to prom. Non-Mexicans can't wear sombreros on Cinco de Mayo. Wearing other groups' attire as costumes is insensitive. Re-appropriating phrases deemed inappropriate is inappropriate, even if done by a member of the aggrieved minority victimized by inappropriate appropriation. History shall not be trivialized. Identity must be respected.
So it is with extreme befuddlement and bewilderment that I sifted through pages and pages of photos from this week's Met Gala, whose theme was "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination."
Pop diva Rihanna came dressed as a stiletto-heeled pope in pearls, crystals and sky-high medieval headgear. (Will The Root writer scold her to cut it out with being a Catholic appropriating jackass and leave the bedazzled mitre at home?)
Nickelodeon alum Ariana Grande, draped in Vera Wang's cherub-adorned silk organza, chirped that she represented "the back wall of the Sistine Chapel" and felt "fairly important in this outfit, I have to say."