‘Cultural Plagiarism’ is pervasive from clothes to food to entertainment

Dear Editor,

First we are being “mimic men,” and now we are engaging in “cultural plagiarism” (see the letter “Celebrating Halloween is cultural plagiarism” (07.11.06).” In academia and in the intellectual property rights’ domain, plagiarism is considered a serious act of impropriety, which in some cases can lead to jail time, expulsion and isolation from peers. Is it proper for Halloween and Thanksgiving partiers to wear the same cloak as those who violate intellectual property or is this some special form of plagiarism? I would like the writer, Mr Ravin Shivnauth, to tell us.

In the meantime, I would pretend to accept Mr.Shivnauth’s discretional opinion and use the phrase cultural plagiarism.

At cursory glance it appears that this cultural plagiarism is rampant and pervasive in Guyana. Just take a look at the garb that our businesspeople and politicians wear. Why is the suit and tie so dominant? I remember our President being chastised for not following “protocol” and dressing “appropriately” when on international engagements.

What about the coffee houses, French bread bakeries, bowling alleys and other non-traditional forms of business springing forth (and very successfully so I might add)?

Later this month, a group of “rap” and “hip hop” (which is certainly not an indigenous art form in Guyana) artistes from the US are scheduled to perform in Georgetown to a sell out crowd.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the point. So, give Halloween and Thanksgiving a break.

Before I conclude, I just want to briefly comment on the writer’s point that in the US (and other developed countries) foreign customs and culture are not “plagiarized” or adopted. Well, I know for sure that in the US, St. Patrick’s Day has become a national cultural phenomenon, even though the holiday has its cultural underpinnings in Ireland.

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Urling

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