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The children that you bear from this marriage will all be bastard swine
October 28, 2010 7:52 AM   Subscribe

"You fornicate and make a lot of children. You drink and you eat pork. Most of the children that you have are marked with spots and blemishes… these children that you have are bastards,” - a cautionary tale for anyone getting married or renewing their vows in a country where they do not understand the language. [YT video]
posted by MuffinMan (147 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
“Before buggering a chicken, check if the hole is clean.

Hey, he's a MeFite!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:56 AM on October 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


The hell he is. The real MeFite is the guy who comes up to him after the services to tell him that chickens have cloacae, not assholes.
posted by griphus at 8:00 AM on October 28, 2010 [33 favorites]


I was reading this earlier and it is solid gold:
“Aren’t they going to suck mouth?” someone is heard asking. “Make them suck mouth”, it is urged.
posted by ninebelow at 8:02 AM on October 28, 2010


So a bunch of low-paid hotel workers made a little video and uploaded it to YouTube.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:02 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Methinks that Vilu Reef Resorts' special $1,300 ‘wedding package’ (includes the services of a ‘celebrant’, a sailing trip and Maldivian music and dancing!) business is dead, as is the $440 offer wherein the "happy couple can obtain photographs of their beautiful ceremony in the Maldivian sunset."
posted by ericb at 8:03 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, this is one of those things that people will be angry with me for, for pointing out that it is both horrific and hilarious.

So I won't point that out.
posted by Xoebe at 8:04 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me a moment after I post, that it would be really funny to take a video of a wedding conducted in a foreign language, and put phony joke subtitles in.
posted by Xoebe at 8:07 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


...and put phony joke subtitles in.

What's funny is that if you overdub the wedding video with the actual translation (I assume it's subtitled, I don't have YT at work), it turns into a What's Up, Tiger Lily? absurdist comedy.
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on October 28, 2010


MetaFilter: you are all bastard swine
posted by bwg at 8:12 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So a bunch of low-paid hotel workers made a little video and uploaded it to YouTube.

It appears these 'wedding packages' are a selling point for the resort.

Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives, accounting for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts.*

So, this video stands to harm not only the reputation of the Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort (and its sister properties), but that of the entire country.

"The celebrant ... is an assistant Food and Beverage Manager named Hussein Didi. ... [The role of celebrant] is done on a rotating basis. We have been doing it for ten years now, and from a very small start, it has grown into a very successful part of what we offer at Vilu,” [resort’s Manager Rasheed] said. ... Rasheed said he had become aware of the nature of the ceremony conducted by Didi shortly after it happened. He had banned Didi from performing any more ceremonies, but did not feel it was necessary to take any further action, until the video appeared on YouTube. ... The 'celebrant', Didi, however is currently under investigation by the Head Office in Male, Sun Travel and Tours."
posted by ericb at 8:13 AM on October 28, 2010


Hmm. Brown residents of tropical island highly dependent on revenues from tourism get fed up and take the piss out of some white tourists. Film at 11.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought you were another guest at cousin Fearghall's nuptials in Maynooth for a minute there until I clicked the link. And in fairness to Father Devlin, he wasn't far wrong, though it was bacon not pork.
posted by Abiezer at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Manager Mohamed Rasheed told the AFP news agency: "The man had used filthy language. Otherwise the ceremony was OK."
posted by ninebelow at 8:18 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh and their wedding cake?

Not frosted with buttercream.
posted by felix betachat at 8:18 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Authorities in the Maldives are taking this matter seriously.
"A police investigation has been launched into the incident while management at the resort have said that the employees have been sacked and evicted from the resort altogether.

... In a statement the resort expressed its 'deep concern and regret' over the incident. Set on its own exclusive island in the Indian Ocean, the Maldive resort is a popular destination for couples intending to renew their marriage vows.

A stay at the Vilu Reef beach and Spa costs from $1,335 per person and it is advertised as a place where couples can 'celebrate and capture the special moments of your life and mark a milestone in your amazing journey together or wish to rejoice another year of life'.
The video has sparked outrage from tourism authorities in the country. Deputy Tourism Minister Ismail Yasir said 'we are investigating the matter through the resort management.'

'The management informed us in writing that it would send us its findings as the matter involves the company’s employees.'"
posted by ericb at 8:20 AM on October 28, 2010


Didi is in big doodoo.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:20 AM on October 28, 2010


Every culture has their assholes.
posted by iamck at 8:20 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hmm. Brown residents of tropical island highly dependent on revenues from tourism get fed up and take the piss out of some white tourists. Film at 11.

Well, their neighbors are not pleased:
"Locals expressed shock and disgust on social networks for disesteeming local laws, customs and Islam."
As well, such an act of stupidity and "taking the piss" could very well have direct material impact on others who make a living in the tourist trade. relying on it for their primary source of income.
posted by ericb at 8:24 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's funny because it's not me.
posted by ColdChef at 8:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


And honestly? We've all eaten McNuggets -- we probably DO know what a chicken's asshole tastes like.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


Whoo boy ... now the blame game starts!

Maldive Today Free Press:
Minivan News Wants to Destroy Maldives Tourism Industry.

"...Minivan News operated by president Mohamed Nasheed translated in exact words the statement made in the video. This would damage the toruism industry of Maldives. The main purpose of Minivan News is to deface Maldives and gain political weight for Nasheed. How can they do something like this. This is not professional journalism one of the reader commented. President Nasheed, David Hardingham once ran a campaign boycott Maldives tourism. Now they are in power. News sites operated by them are again damaging the tourism industry. The person who operated Minivan News before is appointed as the head Maldives Tourism Promotion Board. He is silent on the issue. Is he promoting or demoting Maldives. Its not a coincidence when Vilu Reef was a resort in the list of resorts to be boycotted in 2006. The list was prepared by Mohamed Nasheed and David Hardingham. Now this is personal vengeance because Mr. Ahmed Siyam is getting ready for presidential campaign. He is also going to marry soon. This incident aimed at Shiyam by Minivan News
posted by ericb at 8:30 AM on October 28, 2010


As well, such an act of stupidity and "taking the piss" could very well have direct material impact on others who make a living in the tourist trade. relying on it for their primary source of income.
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on October 28 [+] [!] Other [4/4]: «≡·


Yep, that's true. I'm not saying they didn't behave awfully. I'm just disturbed by the notion that white westerners think they can go all over the developing world and exploit the "quaint native traditions" of these places for their own purposes, then get mad when something, predictably, goes awry.

Why would you want a wedding ceremony in a language you don't speak and a theology/tradition you know nothing about? Isn't that something like going to get a tribal or Asian script tattoo just because it's cool? Should you be surprised and offended if your tattoo actually says "Pork Fried Rice"?
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of that Couples Retreat movie--only I won't get that 90 minutes back. Will the couple here get their $1300 back?
posted by beelzbubba at 8:32 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


‘Sucking mouth’ is a term used by Maldivians to denigrate the act of kissing.

They don't like kissing? What are they into, bellybutton poking?

Also, and maybe this is just me, but I just don't see the appeal of going through a ceremony in which I don't understand a word of what's being said, even if it was just a tourist-y thing and not something as deeply personal as a wedding.

In conclusion, ugh. This is like the Extreme Jackass version of getting a kanji tattoo you think says "Courage" but it's really "moo shu pork."
posted by Gator at 8:34 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of the comments at Maldive Today Free Press website:
Ahmed:
'Minivannews is a clique of British people affiliated with MDP. They are using the ignorance of MDP to destroy Maldives and Islam. Typical British way.'
Saeed Mohamed:
'This is a shameful thing to the whole country, not only for the Tourism Industry. I urge Maldivian government and Tourism board of Maldives to eliminate such unprofessional staff from all the resort and Hotels. We Maldivian respect all tourists who visit our country. We don’t hate them no matter what their religion is or black or white. They are our respected guests as long as they stay in our country.

I personally apologize the victim couple. And wish if the government invite them for a holiday and ask apology on behalf of the government.'
Ahmed rameez:
'This is done by a MDP activist in the island. It’s a organized crime against Shiyam by Nasheed. Nasheed wants to get money from Shiyam for local council election.

In addition he is also jealous because Shiyam is going to marry an 18 year old girl in few days.'
posted by ericb at 8:36 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just disturbed by the notion that white westerners think they can go all over the developing world and exploit the "quaint native traditions" of these places for their own purposes, then get mad when something, predictably, goes awry.

I am not sure assuming that things will necessarily go awry in developing nations is actually any better. And it strikes me that whoever owns the hotel is doing the exploiting -- simulatenously exploiting native traditions and tourist dollars for their own profits. Aren't the owners from the Maldives?

And this didn't strike me so much as taking the piss as passively aggressively censuring two people on religious grounds, as well as blatantly mocking the woman's sexuality. I find it somewhat less than hilarious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:38 AM on October 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


I'm just disturbed by the notion that white westerners think they can go all over the developing world and exploit the "quaint native traditions" ...

But, Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort specifically advertises itself as a place where couples can renew their wedding vows. Too bad, white westerners choose such a service.
posted by ericb at 8:38 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why should the couple complain? They obviously don't give a damn about the actual vows themselves, or they might have bothered, you know, learning some of the language. This is like Westerners getting a Kanji tattoo. They've been told it means Brave Tiger and it really means Chicken Penis. You got your cultural appropriation, you had an "exotic" wedding ceremony where an "officiant" "chanted" in an "exotic language". Spoken by 200 million people. But you can't be bothered to actually learn anything about the culture you're exploiting for your own liturgical kicks. feh.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:41 AM on October 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Eerily familiar attitudes on display here:

Minivan News operated by president Mohamed Nasheed translated in exact words the statement made in the video. This would damage the toruism industry of Maldives. The main purpose of Minivan News is to deface Maldives and gain political weight for Nasheed. How can they do something like this. This is not professional journalism

How dare those journalists report these statements accurately! They must hate our freedoms tourism industry!

The only part that feels off is the bit where the journalists are reporting statements accurately *rimshot*
posted by ook at 8:41 AM on October 28, 2010


Will the couple here get their $1300 back?
"Sun Investments [which owns the resort] ... said work is being carried out to apologise to the couple and offer compensation for the abuse."*
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on October 28, 2010


How dare those journalists report these statements accurately!

In related (and derailing news): Christine O'Donnell Threatens To Sue Radio Station WDEL For Posting Interview.
posted by ericb at 8:43 AM on October 28, 2010


How many people on Metafilter had their services in Latin, or Hebrew? How many speak those languages?

Now, you travel, you take your risks. But that doesn't mean these people weren't treated horribly, or that they should be blamed because of some nebulous concept like cultural appropriation. They weren't having a Muslim wedding. They were having a regular wedding in another country. People do that all the time, and the ceremony is often in a foreign language. If they had gone to France or Germany and had been treated the same, we would rightly consider it a colossal insult. But they go to the Maldives and, well, those third-world folk can't be expected to do any better, can they? What with Westerners coming in and spending money! How dare they!

Come on. This was rank misbehavior.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:45 AM on October 28, 2010 [48 favorites]


I live in a place with a big tourism industry. In fact I've always lived in places with big tourism industries, and I'm with the natives. Tourists are awful. Even when they're from the same country as you, speak the same language, and more or less share the same culture.

David Foster Wallace put this better than anyone else ever has: "As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing."
posted by rusty at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I know I'd feel differently if this happened to me, but I kinda think this is pretty funny.
posted by seanyboy at 8:48 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I lived in New Orleans and worked at the Virgin Megastore, a tourist mecca. Yes, it was a bit much that they all thought blues and Cajun music were indigenous New Orleans music, and yes, it was nice having some spots that tourists didn't know about or go to. But New Orleans would die were it not for tourists, the city explicitly invites them in and markets itself to them, and a lot of us made our living off those tourists. It's just bad form to invite somebody in as a guest and then insult them for not knowing as much about your home as you do.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:49 AM on October 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


"[Deputy Tourism Minister Ismail Yasir] told the BBC most people in the Maldives were furious about what had taken place and he hoped the couple would be given compensation.

'We are embarrassed as well, and very outraged,' he said of the tourism ministry.

He said tourism was vital for the country and denied that the incident was a symptom of antagonism between local people and tourists.

'I am sure almost all Maldivians are aware that tourism is the main industry in the Maldives and is very important.'

Mr Yasir said wedding and vow renewal ceremonies were held successfully all the time and that he was sure the incident at Vilu Reef had been a one-off.

'We would like to assure everyone who would like to come to Maldives that we will take such incidents seriously and we will take action.

'We don't want for such incidents to be characterised as normal in the Maldives and I am sure it is not so.'

Vilu Reef hotel, run by Sun Hotels and Resorts, charges $1,300 (£820) for the ceremony, which it says offers couples the chance to 'mark a milestone in your amazing journey together'".*
posted by ericb at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2010


“Once I sat on the steps by a gate at David’s Tower. I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. “You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head there’s an arch from the Roman period.”

“But he’s moving, he’s moving!”

I said to myself, redemption will come only if they are told: “You see that arch from the Roman period? It’s not important, but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who’s bought fruit and vegetables for his family.”


– Yehuda Amichai
posted by felix betachat at 8:53 AM on October 28, 2010 [17 favorites]




Mind you, I might feel differently if the Maldives were a colony and these guests were just showing up where they are not wanted and there was some sort of Colonial appropriate here. But even when they were a British protectorate, they were self-ruled as an Islamic sultinate, and have been Presidential Republic for more the 50 years. And tourism is the largest economic industry in the country.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:55 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


And tourism is the largest economic industry in the country.

"Muslim-majority Maldives, a nation of 1,192 tiny coral islets scattered some 550 miles (880 kilometres) across the equator, is one of South Asia's most expensive holiday destinations and is popular among Western honeymooners."*
posted by ericb at 8:58 AM on October 28, 2010


colonial appropriation, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:00 AM on October 28, 2010


Minivan News operated by president Mohamed Nasheed translated in exact words the statement made in the video. This would damage the toruism industry of Maldives. The main purpose of Minivan News is to deface Maldives and gain political weight for Nasheed. How can they do something like this. This is not professional journalism

As I read the article, I was wondering what the point of translating the offending statements word by word. I actually do contract marketing work for similar resorts, in a different part of the world, featuring weddings etc., and your Google reputation is pretty key. Minivannews has effectively dealt a serious blow to the tourism industry of the Maldives (or at least the resort in question).

It's a stupid prank, nothing more. But the article is clearly malicious.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:00 AM on October 28, 2010


Isn't that something like going to get a tribal or Asian script tattoo just because it's cool? Should you be surprised and offended if your tattoo actually says "Pork Fried Rice"?

My more immediate concern would be to protect myself from the organ harvesting thugs who are no doubt on their way. Maybe I should hire some protection with the money I'll receive by forwarding this email by Bill Gates.
posted by ODiV at 9:02 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


How many people on Metafilter had their services in Latin, or Hebrew? How many speak those languages?

Presumably they had those services in the context of their own religious/cultural traditions and knew what they were about, rather than thinking, "gee, those Latin-sounding ceremonies seem really exotic! Let's pay someone to give us one of those!"
posted by deanc at 9:04 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


My more immediate concern would be to protect myself from the organ harvesting thugs who are no doubt on their way. Maybe I should hire some protection with the money I'll receive by forwarding this email by Bill Gates.

Except this is real.
posted by griphus at 9:06 AM on October 28, 2010


How many people on Metafilter had their services in Latin, or Hebrew? How many speak those languages?

I really don't think that's the same thing, though -- getting married in your own faith, even if you're not really devout, usually involves a certain amount of "This is what the words mean" prep work. Sure, you can go to Vegas and have Black Lesbian Elvis marry you in Klingon if you want, but I don't think you can make the same kind of appointment for a "traditional Jewish wedding" at a normal synagogue without talking to the Rabbi, going through the ceremony, and (probably? I assume? at least one of you?) actually being Jewish.
posted by Gator at 9:06 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


>I live in a place with a big tourism industry. In fact I've always lived in places with big tourism industries, and I'm with the natives. Tourists are awful. Even when they're from the same country as you, speak the same language, and more or less share the same culture.

David Foster Wallace put this better than anyone else ever has: "As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing."


I know where you're coming from with this statement, both on an emotional and logical level. When traveling to places I don't know, I often wrestle with feeling embarrassed and conspicuous in my cluelessness. I also acknowledge that tourism, particularly first-world tourism to the developing world, encodes a whole bunch of serious political issues. The anthropology of tourism is a fascinating vein of literature to explore in this regard.

That said, I really recoil when people denigrate the very act of tourism. Often I hear this line of argument from people who claim there's a difference between being a "real traveler" and a "tourist." This distinction, to me, seems not only to be deluded but also self-serving. I think here of the backpackers I encounter who prate that they're not tourists but travelers because they eat at roadside stalls and stay in cockroach-infested dives instead of five-stars. In India, I've encountered too many of them to count, and they're usually terribly proud that they're making their $1500 stretch for three months. They're staying in the sorts of places that the (thoroughly middle class) Indians I know would shudder and run away from. They bargain more fiercely and angrily than any local. Often I get the feeling that their travels are less about meeting Indians and getting to know the places they stay, and more about winning their Big Budget Adventure Challenge.

Anyway, I think that just as with any other activity, there are best practices for tourism. But there are *no* practices that make staying at home as educational (in regard to learning about the world) as going abroad, and I think we should encourage people to do so in whatever manner is comfortable for them.
posted by artemisia at 9:08 AM on October 28, 2010 [18 favorites]


Wait!!! Nobody posted this yet!

Best. Frasier. Moment. Ever.
posted by Xoebe at 9:10 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really don't think that's the same thing, though -- getting married in your own faith, even if you're not really devout, usually involves a certain amount of "This is what the words mean" prep work.

There was a second part to my comment, which is that people who get married in France or Germany will often have the services done in French or German.

The couple may well have thought they were being respectful. You go to another country, you have services in their language, rather than demanding they learn yours. Should they have learned Dhivehi first? When you travel, do you learn every language of every country you go to? Do you insist tourists that come to the United States learn English first?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


iamck: Every culture has their assholes.

I saw this closer to people who get tattoos in "exotic" languages, then get mocked for mis-spellings or unintentional meanings. If you're going to get something done in a foreign (to you) tradition or language, learn and understand it first. Instead of decrying the ceremony as a sham, the officiant could simply be telling an unrelated tale, and acting the part at the appropriate times, emphasizing certain words or phrases to make it seem real.

"And then Goldilocks tried the second bowl of oats, but it was too cold"
*the officiant lowers his hands, shakes his head*
"but the third bowl was just right!"
*the officiant grasps the hands of the couple, raises them to the sky, and some little kid throws flower petals in the air*
"Congratulations and salutations, you are now re-married in the local customs."

When it comes to cursing someone in a language foreign to the recipient of the curse, the curse loses some of it's oompf. It's like cursing a dog or cat - the recipient knows nothing of the meaning, only the energy of the words. Same for blessings and such.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2010


MetaFilter: Germs of anger and hatred will breed and drip from the tips of your penises.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:18 AM on October 28, 2010


If you're going to get something done in a foreign (to you) tradition or language, learn and understand it first.

So I presume you've learned Spanish for those moments when you want Mexican food.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:18 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


You go to another country, you have services in their language, rather than demanding they learn yours. Should they have learned Dhivehi first?

A little, yeah. Speaking only for myself, I just think the whole thing is a silly thing to do in the first place. We're not talking about ordering Mexican food, we're talking about a wedding ceremony, and if you're not going to take the time to learn at least a few smatterings of the language and culture so that you know what's being said to you, you are being a silly person.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think these people deserved to be humiliated this way, at all. I just think it's silly to have "services" in a language and context you know absolutely nothing about. What's the point?
posted by Gator at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


But there are *no* practices that make staying at home as educational (in regard to learning about the world) as going abroad

I volunteer teaching English to immigrants in the USA. I daresay that this experience has taught me far more about the world than if I had flown halfway around the world to participate in a "traditional" ceremony put on for my benefit by a resort catering to foreign tourists.

Certainly, one can learn a lot about other cultures through traveling, but it's not an automatic process.
posted by Tsuga at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am not sure assuming that things will necessarily go awry in developing nations is actually any better. And it strikes me that whoever owns the hotel is doing the exploiting -- simulatenously exploiting native traditions and tourist dollars for their own profits. Aren't the owners from the Maldives?

I don't mean that things will go awry because it's in a developing nation; I'm saying they go awry because of the exploitation and trivialization of local customs on by part of the rich Western visitors.

I also think it's an oversimplification to point out that the resort owners are/may be from Maldives. You have to remember the difference between the country's elite, people of generational wealth and ties to rich Western nations, who are less bound by their national/ethnic laws and traditions, and the ordinary people who actually work there, who, sure, are getting money for putting on folk dances but go home each night sick to death of performing for whitey.

For a closer to home comparison, watch the movie "Y Tu Mama También" or take a look at the Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño - these are countries/places we associate with mostly brown/Indian/"ethnic" people, and yet they are run by a white ruling class whose surnames are the same but whose priorities are not much aligned with the people they govern.

Have you ever had an unpleasant tourist experience in Puerto Rico or Mexico? Whose fault do you think that is? (Hint - there's plenty of blame to go around.)
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


But they go to the Maldives and, well, those third-world folk can't be expected to do any better, can they? What with Westerners coming in and spending money! How dare they!

Thanks for injecting some sanity into this discussion, Astro Zombie. The knee jerk attitude that because these people are white folks visiting a country of brown people, they must be exploiters, bothers me...can't they all just just be people? I know, I'm so naive. There's something condescending about it, as though non-white skin implies automatic victim status, no matter what.
posted by Edgewise at 9:30 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm saying they go awry because of the exploitation and trivialization of local customs on by part of the rich Western visitors.

And, again, it seems to me the resorts are the ones doing the exploiting, and that if you have an issue with it, maybe take it up with them.

The resort offers a "renewal of wedding vows" as an upsell at their resort. I presume this is what these folks were doing, as they don't offer marriage ceremonies. The packet doesn't download, but the description is pretty vague. Nothing about "You will be partaking in an ancient ceremony traditional to our islands in our native language." No, here's the description: "Renew your wedding vows on the beach of the tranquil island of Vilu Reef, just the two of you hand in hand against a golden sunset backdrop."

There is no reason to assume these folks showed up on the island determined to take part in some sort of vague, cosmic, hippie, the whole world is just my buffet approach. It's quite likely that they heard the Madives are beautiful, got a package deal, their travel agent upsold them on getting their vows renewed with only the vaguest of descriptions, they showed up for the event and got insulted. It's hardly the same as getting an Asian character tattooed on your body. It's a lot closer to going to a spa, finding out they have mud baths, and then getting dropped in a pile of shit.

Out of curiosity, those of you who think they should learn a foreign language before they travel, did you bother to check out the spa's web site, or do any additional research before commenting? Or does it only behoove others to learn something before they dive in?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:38 AM on October 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


So I presume you've learned Spanish for those moments when you want Mexican food.

Quiero un plato de frijoles, por favor.
posted by felix betachat at 9:40 AM on October 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


those of you who think they should learn a foreign language before they travel

Nobody said that, I don't think.
posted by Gator at 9:40 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have to remember the difference between the country's elite, people of generational wealth and ties to rich Western nations, who are less bound by their national/ethnic laws and traditions, and the ordinary people who actually work there, who, sure, are getting money for putting on folk dances but go home each night sick to death of performing for whitey.

Wow, what a tremendous lot of generalizations about pretty much everybody. Do you know there are rich nations that are not western? That there are hotel owners that are not elites? That people have to perform for paying customers that are not white?
posted by oneirodynia at 9:40 AM on October 28, 2010


Well, perhaps I should limit it to those who think you should learn a foreign language before getting a renewal of vows ceremony in a foreign resort.

I should say that I actually think it's a good idea to learn a foreign language before you travel. But languages are hard, and there is only so much you can prepare for a few days in another part of the world.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 AM on October 28, 2010


BTW, the Maldives tourist board does not allow tourists to stay on Male, basically in order to insulate the indigenous Muslim people. Presumably those being exploited by whitey could simply move to Male.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:45 AM on October 28, 2010


perhaps I should limit it to those who think you should learn a foreign language before getting a renewal of vows ceremony in a foreign resort.

How about those of us who think you should "learn at least a few smatterings of the language and culture so that you know what's being said to you" if you're going to "have 'services' in a language and context you know absolutely nothing about"? I don't see what's onerous about that, and it's nowhere near "You must learn the language before you step outside your own borders."
posted by Gator at 9:46 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't that something like going to get a tribal or Asian script tattoo just because it's cool? Should you be surprised and offended if your tattoo actually says "Pork Fried Rice"?

That's an easy target, but even there, I've never once been tempted to take advantage of a foreigner's ignorance for kicks. I live in a tourist town; I've certainly had the opportunity.

There's a difference between "should know better" and "deserved it".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:49 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


50 years later -

"honey, i think it'd be great if we could go back to the maldives and stay in the same room where we got married"

"i'd love to dear, but they said bad things about us when they married us"

"but it was just a joke - i'm sure they weren't really serious"

"besides, we're far too old to learn scuba diving"

"scuba diving? oh, it's all under 10 feet of water now, isn't it?"

"yes - it turns out that you can make a inflatable raft by blowing air into the assholes of chickens - i meant to send them some bicycle pumps, but i decided they could just use their mouths"

"isn't that cloacae?"

"no, that's didi - but with his big mouth, i'm sure he was alright"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Again, we don't know that they thought the language was going to be in a foreign language, or that they expected to be participating in some ancient ritual. There are a whole lot of unsupported assumptions about these people, when the only thing we actually know is that they were treated pretty shittily.

And I'm am not sure what good a "smattering" of a foreign language would do. I speak about 3,000 words of Spanish and couldn't follow a wedding ceremony to save my life.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


FWIW -- the couple are from Switzerland.
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on October 28, 2010


Oh, then I take it all back. Fucking Swiss. They get what's coming to them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:55 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


We've all eaten McNuggets -- we probably DO know what a chicken's asshole tastes like.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:29 PM on October 28


I have never eaten a "McNugget" in my life, and I never will. I've had a few doners though, so I almost certainly know what something's asshole tastes like.
posted by Decani at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie -- poitning out that tidbit had nothing to do with your comment. I was merely addint the detail which has since been learned beyond they being "Westerners."

They -- and no one -- deserves the treatment they received. And, locals are rightfully pissed in that this video will likely have impact on their primary industry.
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on October 28, 2010


Actually, I think that's my definition of asshole: someone who doesn't see a difference between "should know better" and "deserved it". Applies to all kinds of situations.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:02 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Spoken by 200 million people.

360,000, but who's counting?
posted by mayhap at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2010


In related news: Russell Brand, Katy Perry honeymoon in Maldives.
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2010


AZ, please note, I'm not joining the "oppression" brigade on these people, I just think they made a silly choice.

And yeah, since we can't download the package we don't know how the resort pitches that "service." But I really can't believe the couple didn't know in advance what sort of service it was supposed to be, honestly -- for something that expensive, you don't just "wait and see" what you're going to get when you get there. I'm not forking over $1300 for a vague promise of "renewing my vows" without knowing what form that renewal will take. It seems to me that they opted to take part in a "service" that was completely alien to them, which just baffles me. I repeat, what's the point? And if you were choosing to get married in Spanish for whatever incomprehensible reason, you'd bone up on the language a little, wouldn't you?
posted by Gator at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2010


And this didn't strike me so much as taking the piss as passively aggressively censuring two people on religious grounds, as well as blatantly mocking the woman's sexuality. I find it somewhat less than hilarious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:38 PM on October 28


Yeah, it struck me very quickly that these "mischievous" Maldivians are getting a pass on aspects of their "mischief" that would have generated a classic outrage-a-thon here had the people saying them been white and western.
posted by Decani at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


In conclusion, ugh. This is like the Extreme Jackass version of getting a kanji tattoo you think says "Courage" but it's really "moo shu pork"

Funny you should say that, according to Wikipedia the "moo shu" characters used on menus in many American Chinese restaurants translates to "wood whiskers" instead of the intended "Sweet Osmanthus."

Anyways, kanji is Japanese and it's not like the Japanese haven't misapplied plenty of English words and language because people there think it looks and sounds cool. It takes a real jerk to mock someone like that, expecially for something permanent like a tattoo or as important to people as a wedding. I'd be outraged if we mocked tourists and recent immigrants like this in Canada, too. When I lived in Japan I taught English and I wouldn't have even dreamed of messing with and insulting people who'd come to me asking about something as simple as how to say something in English. Because it was my job and I'm not an asshole.

I realize tourists are often complete jackasses, but a lot of people choose resorts based on what's advertised on Travelpedia or whatever rather than a cultural experience. Tropical vacations in particular, a lot of people are more interested in the weather and beaches than local customs, and the resorts are set up to let them lounge about in comfort in the sun. There's no secrets there. If you're advertising a service to people, and when someone buys it you sell them something else and publicly mock them and post it to the internet, you don't get to complain when it hurts your reputation.
posted by Hoopo at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


artemisia: That said, I really recoil when people denigrate the very act of tourism.

Oh, I agree, and I think Wallace ultimately agrees too, in the broader context of the article. I think the point he's trying to make is sort of that what the traveler gets from the people and places they visit is not free, right? It's not a renewable resource -- there's a price paid by the place visited. Something is lost. Some authenticity, some independence, some kind of essential realness. The traveler's gain, in understanding of the world, is the world's loss in some way. No one tourist can "ruin" any place they visit, but you can see the aggregate effects very clearly when you go somewhere that gets a lot of tourists.

Which isn't to say no one should travel. It's to say that travelers should be aware that what they "get" from traveling is being taken from where they go. This kind of mindset suggests some things you probably should and should not do when traveling, and encourages you to be aware that you are not an invisible floating eyeball observing some foreign culture. You are really there, with those people who actually live there, and you can be damn sure they know you're not from around here and either resent you for being there or are looking for a way to make money from you.

Just getting across the idea that you really are here in this place with other people would probably help a lot. There's this peculiar aimless tourist drift they do, which involves a lot of stopping randomly and moving off in one direction while looking in another, and clustering in big groups in the middle of busy areas. The only explanation for it that I've come up with is that somehow tourism encourages people to think of themselves as not quite present in the same way they are when they're at home. It's sort of the grownup equivalent of the toddler putting a blanket over their head and becoming "invisible."
posted by rusty at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


How many of us on MetaFilter have ever been a tourist. Raise your hands, please.
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2010


Good lord I just wrote "expecially"
posted by Hoopo at 10:11 AM on October 28, 2010


Except this is real.

Wow. That's both funny and sad.
posted by ODiV at 10:13 AM on October 28, 2010


Eep. I realize my "Extreme Jackass" comment above may have come across in a way I didn't intend. I didn't mean that the victims of these stupid jokes are jackasses at all, but that the people who perpetrate them are. I had in mind that stupid "Jackass" TV show with people pulling stupid pranks on others. Sorry if I offended anybody with that.
posted by Gator at 10:15 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I'm am not sure what good a "smattering" of a foreign language would do. I speak about 3,000 words of Spanish and couldn't follow a wedding ceremony to save my life.

Quoted for truth. Learning enough of a language to be even a little bit useful takes a long time and a lot of effort. Learning how to say "hello" and "where's the bathroom?" isn't going to help you know the difference between a real wedding ceremony and a fake one.
posted by shponglespore at 10:16 AM on October 28, 2010


When I lived in Japan I taught English and I wouldn't have even dreamed of messing with and insulting people who'd come to me asking about something as simple as how to say something in English. Because it was my job and I'm not an asshole.

Oh hell, the opportunities for "mischief" in that situation are endless (I did the same).
But, you know, I'm not an asshole.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:20 AM on October 28, 2010


How many of us on MetaFilter have ever been a tourist.

I once posted a comment on Fark
posted by The Discredited Ape at 10:21 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're advertising a service to people, and when someone buys it you sell them something else and publicly mock them and post it to the internet, you don't get to complain when it hurts your reputation.

QFT
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know I'm not arguing well, probably because I don't get enough practice. So, here's what I'm *not* saying:

- All tourists are mean victimizers
- All tourism workers are victims
- The hotel workers who abused those Swiss guests were not assholes (that means I already conceded that they were assholes and what they did was wrong)

What I am saying is:

- There is a tendency in the tourism and services trade for the people receiving the services to believe and act as if the people tendering the services are less intelligent, less important, sometimes even less human than they.
- On rare occasions, a service provider runs out of forbearance and shows his ass. When that occasion coincides with the service recipient also showing his ass, we laugh and say the outcome was well-deserved. When it does not, we point our finger and say, "Bad service provider, you will kill the tourism that your fellow countrymen depend upon."
- I suggest that on these occasions, we also say, "Boy, I bet there was a lot of ass-showing on the part of service recipients prior to this incident that may have contributed to this particular occurrence."
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:28 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's this peculiar aimless tourist drift they do, which involves a lot of stopping randomly and moving off in one direction while looking in another, and clustering in big groups in the middle of busy areas.

That's how all humans act in a public place when they're not sure where they want to go. People do it in their very own mall, in the neighborhood grocery store, on the street of their own home town if they're unsure about something or if they see someone they know. The only reason we notice tourists doing it is because they're obviously tourists, they're dressed "funny" or they're talking "funny," or they're in a group of other "funny" looking people. Otherwise they're just the average asshole on the street in our way because we know where we're going and we'd better get there quick or there will be hell to pay because we've got a job to do dammit and don't have time for all this lollygagging!
posted by Floydd at 10:28 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


You are really there, with those people who actually live there, and you can be damn sure they know you're not from around here and either resent you for being there or are looking for a way to make money from you.

Who gives a fuck? That's because they're bad people. Having moved around a lot and not really being a native of anywhere, I've been resented as an outsider everywhere I've ever lived, (including the town where I was born, because my parents hadn't lived there long enough for some people's tastes). Who cares? Fuck 'em — why on earth should I make an effort to be "aware" of their idiot xenophobia?
posted by enn at 10:31 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can only conjecture, knowing nothing about the couple in the wedding ceremony, but it's possible that this woman and man work very hard, have children, feel stressed out and at times overwhelmed. Their lives are so mundane, and like all of us, they entertain dreams. A dream to go and be somewhere else, to do something beautiful -- and yes, exotic -- like they see in the movies. Perhaps they saved up all year for this trip. They might not have had time to pack much for the trip, let alone learn a new language.

Then again, my conjecture could be completely off base. I'm sure some people would argue that the locals don't have the luxury of saving up for a year for an 'exotic' getaway.

My point is, however, that no human relations can be on good footing without acting in good faith. People simply aren't perfect. People don't have time to do or learn everything. What we have to hope for and expect is that when people act, they will act in good faith and with good intentions. When their good intentions lead them astray, then it is incumbent upon those of us who think we know better to act also in good faith in a compassionate manner to increase understanding in this world.

As long as we continue to divide ourselves into 'us' vs. 'them', the world will never be at peace.
posted by PigAlien at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is why I stay home!
posted by cjorgensen at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2010


>There's this peculiar aimless tourist drift they do, which involves a lot of stopping randomly and moving off in one direction while looking in another, and clustering in big groups in the middle of busy areas. The only explanation for it that I've come up with is that somehow tourism encourages people to think of themselves as not quite present in the same way they are when they're at home. It's sort of the grownup equivalent of the toddler putting a blanket over their head and becoming "invisible."

Whoa! I know exactly what you're talking about -- you describe it very well. I've talked with my partner about this very thing, in fact. (We live in a town that gets a lot of summer tourists, and you're right, they clump unpredictably, and dash into the street without warning, and make me very nervous when I'm driving.)

The Significant Other actually thought if it had something to do with the suburban nature of the tourists in our area -- that there might be a particular way of being that one acquires when living in a city that disposes one to a greater awareness of one's surroundings. But I wonder if you're right and it has more to do with the mindset of being on holiday. Interesting to think about! I'll have to suggest this explanation to him.
posted by artemisia at 10:34 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie -- poitning out that tidbit had nothing to do with your comment. I was merely addint the detail which has since been learned beyond they being "Westerners."

To calcify, I didn't think it did. For some reason, it struck me as funny to suddenly start hating on the Swiss.

I've been to Switzerland once, by the way. Skiing, when I was 10-years-old. My 3-year-old brother was out in a sort of tourist's day care for the week, where they made him watch The Muppet Show in Swiss and learn some basic Swiss phrases.

He's never recovered. He still looks askance at Kermit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:37 AM on October 28, 2010


Calcify? How the hell to did I type that?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:39 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


While I couldn't get married in the Maldives since the US doesn't recognize Maldivian weddings, I did honeymoon there after getting married in Sri Lanka. The Maldives is not some third world hellhole with downtrodden, poverty stricken people eking out an existence.

And this guy's an idiot...according to some of the employees we met, the last thing you want is to be blacklisted from working in the resorts since that's where all the decent paying jobs are. In fact, almost a third of the workers we met were actually from Sri Lanka and moved to the Maldives specifically for the decent salaries and work accomodations.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:39 AM on October 28, 2010


My 3-year-old brother was out in a sort of tourist's day care for the week, where they made him watch The Muppet Show in Swiss and learn some basic Swiss phrases.

"My hovercraft is full of eels"
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:40 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So a couple (one of whom is apparently an atheist) was mocked and insulted by religious zealots, and folks on MeFi say they deserved it or should have known better?
posted by rocket88 at 10:41 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I stand by my point. Here, I'll culturally appropriate a term about cultural appropriation. These people are wasichu - they're capitalizing on what they deem a "worthy" aspect of another's culture without putting in any of the work. "Oh but I can't be bothered to actually learn any of this weird foreign language." It's white people with dreadlocks. Or middle-managers having a "spiritual adventure" sitting in an inipi. They're stealing the fat - taking their favorite parts of a foreign culture without having to do any of their own work. It's an I Ching tattoo without having actually read the Book of Changes. It's the damned Boyscouts with all their "Order of the Arrow" nonsense. Speaking as a former recipient of the Vigil Honor, wowee I got a real injun name and everything. It's all the teepees and none of the smallpox blankets. It's like spiritual colonialism. It's Israeli hoummous, or every time I see kanafeh marketed as a "traditional Israeli delicacy," or hipsters wearing keffiyehs. It drives me nuts (as I'm sure I've demonstrated by now with this ridiculous rant.)

What's wrong with a traditional Swiss wedding ceremony? Is your own culture - that of your parents and their parents, so boring and vapid that you have to steal things from another culture? Taking, of course, only those things from the culture that you deem worthy or interesting.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:44 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Almost anytime there's a post about how someone was mocked and insulted some people on MeFi say they deserved it. It's like a rule or something. And then someone comments on how it wasn't polite for them to say that, and they say "Stop censoring me!" and then the poster concerned with politeness points out that his request was not an order and then the original posters say "Well your frequent posts on this issue might as well be censorship." and then... wait, where was I?
posted by ODiV at 10:46 AM on October 28, 2010


There's even an article at cracked.com about this. Indeed, if there's one thing Metafilter needs, it's appropriating more links to articles at cracked.com.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:48 AM on October 28, 2010


Don't we have a military base there? If not, why not? If so, bring the matter to the post commander and threaten them with the full power of our military.
posted by Postroad at 10:49 AM on October 28, 2010


Or middle-managers having a "spiritual adventure" sitting in an inipi. They're stealing the fat - taking their favorite parts of a foreign culture without having to do any of their own work.

I now feel very bad about enjoying Mexican wrestling movies, I have never made a mask.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:50 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


taking their favorite parts of a foreign culture without having to do any of their own work

Yeah, I'm kind of in favour of this. Take the awesome, ditch what you want, and try to have someone around to steer you away from making a fool of yourself. Chances are you'll make a fool of yourself sometimes anyway, but there are much worse things in life and a little humility is good for character.
posted by ODiV at 10:51 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


You are hereby banned from all ethnic restaurants, except those pertaining to your own ethnicity. Better speak the language, though. We aren't translating the damn menu for you.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:53 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


What's wrong with a traditional Swiss wedding ceremony? Is your own culture - that of your parents and their parents, so boring and vapid that you have to steal things from another culture? Taking, of course, only those things from the culture that you deem worthy or interesting.

Don't you see how deciding that everyone should be limited to the culture of their birth can itself be pretty damn problematic? No, I'm not going to get married in a fundamentalist evangelical ceremony, thanks. I'm doomed to "appropriate" some other culture no matter what.
posted by enn at 10:53 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


So THAT'S what our guy said to us on the beach when we were exchanging vows. Kick ass!
posted by stormpooper at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2010


In related news: Russell Brand, Katy Perry honeymoon in Maldives.

If Mr Didi had done this to Russell Brand, it would have been no less than cosmic justice.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:56 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


baby_balrog--I was with you up until the bit about hummus. Really? Hummus?
posted by everichon at 11:03 AM on October 28, 2010


artemisia: I'm glad you got what I was trying to convey. It seems to have missed the mark for some others.

I've observed the tourist drift thing in Plymouth, MA and Williamsburg, VA, neither of which are big metropolises. And my current reference example is Portland, ME, which is sort of a city, but only by Maine standards. So I don't think it's a city-mouse / country-mouse difference. And I do sort of sympathize with it -- I mean I've been a tourist too, and sometimes you're just confused. But there is something just willfully oblivious about some of them.

--

enn: Way to project, dude. Please take it to your therapist next time.
posted by rusty at 11:04 AM on October 28, 2010


enn: Way to project, dude. Please take it to your therapist next time.

I'm not projecting anything. You're saying people should know their place and stay where they belong. Those of us who don't belong anywhere are just supposed to conveniently vanish, I guess. I disagree with your idea.
posted by enn at 11:07 AM on October 28, 2010


Please, please, please let there be video of Russell Brand's ceremony.
posted by zippy at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2010


rusty: Way to project, dude. Please take it to your therapist next time.

That's out of line. Seriously.

baby_balrog--I was with you up until the bit about hummus. Really? Hummus?

weeeeell my rant was kind of tongue-in-cheek, I didn't make it obvious enough. There's no way that I, a white American, can possibly make it through my day without some level of appropriation. We all do it, everyone does it everywhere. It's part of being a human. But yeah, the re-branding of traditional Middle-Eastern dishes as "traditional Israeli" dishes - as though they were served in King David's court 3,000 years ago - really kind of gets my hackles up. Maybe not the hummus thing so much. But it's all part of the colonial outlook. If you can't force a cultural artifact to vanish, you appropriate it.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:22 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Enjoy this bison and hominy! A traditional American food.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:24 AM on October 28, 2010


I am fairly sure King David ate hummus. It's one of the world's oldest foods.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2010


At the risk of sounding trite, all cultures borrow from contact with other cultures. But I understand the distaste expressed above; it kinda bugs me when people act like a book they read or a vacation they took grants them full membership or whatever. Try-hards are annoying whether they're being pretentious about a foreign culture or their authenticity as goths or punks or political radicals.

It's one of the world's oldest foods

well, the bowl of hummus I found at the back of my fridge might have been. God, that stuff smells bad when it goes off.
posted by Hoopo at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2010


And this didn't strike me so much as taking the piss as passively aggressively censuring two people on religious grounds, as well as blatantly mocking the woman's sexuality. I find it somewhat less than hilarious

"In the Muslim-majority nation of Maldives, a man stunned an audience during questions and answers period in a lecture given by an Islamic cleric, by stating that he had chosen freedom of conscience not to follow Islam. The man, Mohamed Nazim, was promptly attacked, taken into custody, and has been threatened with death and beheading, or other punishments for choosing his freedom of conscience.

...

"The Maldives constitution mandates that all citizens of Maldives must be Muslims. A December 2009 study showed the Maldives (with a 99 percent literacy rate) to be in the top 5 percent of the worst nations for religious freedom. It is a nation that has been building its criminal law based on Sharia law, and whose Parliament bans non-Islamic houses of worship. There have been repeated reports on Maldives government publicly whipping of women and the Maldives is in the bottom rankings of nations with a global gender gap."

- "Man Attacked, Threatened with Death, for Freedom of Conscience"


I wonder if the U.S. is planning an invasion.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay. Henceforth hummus shall be taken as a universal, with all cultures having equal access to its creamy goodness, whether it be derived from the chickpea, garbanzo, ceci, Bengal gram, or Indian pea. All humanity shall unite beneath the banner of hummus - it is the formal condiment of celestial kinship. This, perhaps, is the key we have all been searching for.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: all the teepees and none of the smallpox blankets.
posted by ericb at 11:43 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


King David most certainly ate hummus. I direct your attention to 2Sam 17:28. "Beans" there is the hebrew fol, cognate with the arabic ful and the chief ingredient in hummus.
posted by felix betachat at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, I just realized that that was a quite literal overthinking of a plate of beans.
posted by felix betachat at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


Enjoy this bison and hominy! A traditional American food.

I just don't buy this. Everyone has always appropriated bits of other cultures. If I make Al Pastor -style pork in the slow cooker, I'm appropriating a "Mexican" food that was appropriated by them from Armenian immigrants who possibly appropriated it from Ottoman Turks or whatever. So what? Mexicans and Armenians and Turks are not denigrated by that. The Maldives made a conscious decision to capitalize on the tourist trade- it's fairly regulated. Are they sellouts? Are the people that want to celebrate their love by having a ceremony there stealing something from their culture? I don't know how anyone can know for sure without knowing the people involved. Maybe this couple chose the Maldives because they are neo-colonialists who live in a Swiss yurt, do yoga, and eat hummus. Maybe they have a Japanese friend who always vacations in the Maldives. Maybe their travel agent suggested it. Maybe they want to support a Muslim country because their country banned all building of minarets. Who the heck knows. People who make the effort to go somewhere besides their hometown are a net good, in my opinion. I'll take even a passing interest in the rest of the world to provincialism any day. In my country, people are losing their minds over a Muslim community center being built in a multi-cultural city. People going to a Muslim country to get married instead would at least indicate a wee skoche of an more open mind.

And yes, when I saw a picture of Katy Perry in the airport with traditional Hindu jewelry in her nose, I thought, "WTF?". But you know, people liking other things about other people is ultimately fine by me. For whatever reason, no one gives people in the Maldives or India crap for appropriating American culture. I guess you know you're no longer third world when you can sell your crap to anyone, and first-worlders don't howl about cultural colonialism.



These people are wasichu - they're capitalizing on what they deem a "worthy" aspect of another's culture without putting in any of the work.

And the Maldiveans are capitalizing on the couple's willingness to throw down three grand to do so.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:49 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


... and you know, I don't mean to say that it is perfectly okay for say, trading post owners to buy Navajo jewelry from impoverished people at an outrageous discount and sell it for outrageous prices to people who have never spoken to a Native American. But just looking at a squash blossom necklace around the neck of a white woman and assuming that shitty scenario is objectionable, as is assuming any Indian who sells jewelry is a welfare-collecting alcoholic.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2010


Please, please, please let there be video of Russell Brand's ceremony.

Brand had proposed to Perry in Jaipur over New Year's Eve, and the couple decided to get married in India.

The week-long wedding was held at the Aman-e-Khas wildlife retreat (Ranthambore National Park, India). They both wore traditional Indian clothes and were married by a longtime friend who is a Christian minister.*

Insensitive clods for appropriating only those cultural aspects of "another's culture without putting in any of the work."
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on October 28, 2010


Terrible. But I can imagine it becoming a new tourist attraction. Book your own hilarious original ranting insults wedding with Hussein Didi himself - as seen on YouTube!
posted by Segundus at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gator: "‘Sucking mouth’ is a term used by Maldivians to denigrate the act of kissing.

They don't like kissing? What are they into, bellybutton poking?
"

English speakers have terms that denigrate sex (fucking, porking, shagging, etc.) You think English speakers don't like sex?
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


enn: You're saying people should know their place and stay where they belong.

See, that's exactly not what I'm saying. It's, like, precisely the opposite. Hence my comment about projection, especially since you framed it in terms of your own sense of not belonging anywhere. But read it again, till you get beyond how you feel and all the way down to what I actually said. What I said was that you should make an effort to be present wherever you are. That I should, that everyone should. I said you should be aware that where you are is not "somewhere else" even if you're not at home. Even if you don't feel at home anywhere. You are not an observer, anywhere -- you're always a participant. The particular tourist mindset I'm critiquing here is the one where the tourist views himself as "not really here, just observing."
posted by rusty at 12:55 PM on October 28, 2010


Baby_balrog: "xenophobic idiocy" is perfectly ok by you, though? I'd like to get a sense of what's not out of line, so I don't offend.
posted by rusty at 12:57 PM on October 28, 2010


Hmm. Brown residents of tropical island highly dependent on revenues from tourism get fed up and take the piss out of some white tourists. Film at 11.

Metafilter is always useful for reminding me just how callous and cruel people feel they can be if the people whose ruined wedding they're mocking happen to be white. Oh, they were white tourists, it's hip to laught at the fact that some assholes fucked up their wedding vows. It's definitely their fault for creating the only jobs that economy can produce.
posted by Dasein at 1:07 PM on October 28, 2010


If you read the comment thread on the original article, the local commenters are almost universally disgusted and appalled at the behavior of the people in the resort - this would tend to fly in the face of the analysis which thinks the theme of this mock wedding ceremony is that privileged white people get tweaked on the nose by struggling locals.

I've also worked in the tourist industry, lived in the "third world", and stayed in all-inclusive Caribbean resorts -- nobody deserves this treatment. If this Swiss couple were acting like assholes, the appropriate revenge is to ignore them when they try to order drinks or food. I’ve seen enough resort workers forget how to speak English when somebody is giving them a hard time. I can't recall intentionally mistreating any hotel guest, in all my years in the tourist industry.

There is also no patch of ground on this earth I can stand on and call myself a "native" (mixed Euro-Asian mutt, born in Canada - and a native Canadian is something else) of - I can't go anywhere without appropriating someone else's culture or land. Not saying this entitles me to much, other than my basic human dignity. I try to provide people this level of respect, and I expect the same. I shouldn't be made to feel bad when I am living or visiting in someone else's country - I do this everyday of my life. If the resort or its staff resented staging little wedding rituals, they shouldn't offer them and double up on the snorkeling packages or something to make up the revenue. If they want to be isolated they can close the resorts, refuse to work there, or stage protests at the resort property.

Cultures have been sharing, "appropriating" if you prefer, since the dawn of time. Little statues of Buddha have been found in some Viking graves. Can someone explain to the me the power structures of that relationship? Who was exploiting who?

Also if you could point out a spot to me where I can be considered a native, that would be super. I dislike the weather in my current home, and I would really like to spend some time among people like me.
posted by Deep Dish at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I said was that you should make an effort to be present wherever you are.

What you really said was:

...I'm with the natives. Tourists are awful.

David Foster Wallace put this better than anyone else ever has: "As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing."

...you can be damn sure they know you're not from around here and either resent you for being there or are looking for a way to make money from you.

In response, I said that I don't care if people resent me for being there and that that indicates their xenophobia rather than my somehow being an intruder. I still don't know what you think I'm projecting.
posted by enn at 1:39 PM on October 28, 2010


You think English speakers don't like sex?

Have you seen the English?
posted by zippy at 2:53 PM on October 28, 2010


English speakers have terms that denigrate sex (fucking, porking, shagging, etc.) You think English speakers don't like sex?

Yes, but we are more respectful. We say "suck face."
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:04 PM on October 28, 2010


In response, I said that I don't care if people resent me for being there and that that indicates their xenophobia rather than my somehow being an intruder.

No. Foreigners don't suck. Other ethnicities don't suck. Tourists suck.

There is a difference between travelers and tourists. Tourists = self-absorbed travelers.

I am occasionally a tourist myself and I suck.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:27 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


How many people on Metafilter had their services in Latin, or Hebrew? How many speak those languages?

I had half of my first marriage in Icelandic. This did indeed come back to bite me in the ass when, during the divorce, I tried to "reason" with my now ex-husband by reminding him that we had agreed to "For better or worse." His response? "*I* didn't! MY vows were in ICELANDIC!"

Clearly the language barrier was kind of the least of our problems, but still, when I remarried, I was relieved to have the ceremony entirely in a language (English) that both parties speak fluently.
posted by sonika at 3:59 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


A good friend of mine used to quote a comedian (who's name I don't remember), "There are only two kinds of people in this world, creeps and assholes..."

I laughed so much that I almost cried reading this article. For I am an asshole.
posted by Kloryne at 5:53 PM on October 28, 2010


Pallas Athena If Mr Didi had done this to Russell Brand, it would have been no less than cosmic justice.

If he had, Russell Brand (and presumably Katy Perry, since she likes him enough to marry him) would probably have found it hilarious, and used it in a comedy act.

I think the hotel manager had the right idea, before the news tornado ripped the roof off. What Didi did was a dumb prank, for which he should have apologized (and probably did), not an act of class warfare or deliberate sabotage to the tourist industry. People are blowing it way out of proportion.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:19 PM on October 28, 2010


you become economically significant but existentially loathsome

loathing is in the heart of the loatherer

also what artemisia said
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 6:35 PM on October 28, 2010


Lots of Japanese come to Hawaii to get married, and it is often a traditional 'American' style wedding. Can you imagine if the staff horribly insulted the non-English speaking Japanese couple all through the wedding ceremony?

Some people here aren't holding the Maldivians up to much of a standard. I think that is more insulting than anything the Maldivians have said in the video.
posted by eye of newt at 8:26 PM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some people here aren't holding the Maldivians up to much of a standard.

I would argue that judging "the Maldivians" as a whole by the actions of one ("GUYS WATCH THIS it'll be so FUNNY") jackass in one hotel is even more inappropriate. Even if he was outright malicious, he's still just one guy. As for the others watching, it does put them in a bind: (1) clearly the tourists aren't aware of what's really going on; (2) if they were made aware of it, it would probably offend them and totally spoil the whole thing; (3) it probably did strike a lot of the Maldivians watching as funny, so they smile and laugh, which the foreign couple would have reasonably enough interpreted as enjoyment of the ceremony.

From the point of view of the crowd it's not much worse than this. The couple not being in on the joke makes it somewhat crueler ... but on the other hand, the couple aren't in on the joke.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:08 PM on October 28, 2010


(Aren't in on the joke at the time.)

Now obviously any responsible prankster, inasmuch as that isn't a total contradiction in terms, ought to contemplate what happens when the butt of the joke is let in on it. Indeed, part of the fun of a prank is what happens when the butt of the joke gets let in on it. Perhaps Didi had done this many times before though, and the foreigners never noticed, or if they noticed, thought it was funny.

Personally, I think even as a prank, it's in pretty poor taste. (So is this one). But different people, and importantly, different cultures, have different understandings of what is acceptable in a pranking context.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:16 PM on October 28, 2010


English speakers have terms that denigrate sex (fucking, porking, shagging, etc.)

Not seeing how any of those terms denigrate sex.

They're stealing the fat - taking their favorite parts of a foreign culture without having to do any of their own work.

They're not exactly stealing -- more paying through the nose for the fat. But I do agree that this kind of sharp lesson will teach many, many people that wasting their money by spending it on Maldive wedding ceremonies is a bad idea, and that can only be a good thing -- though not so much for the people of the Maldives.

Curious how nobody has commented on the racially/religiously charged nature of the insults here either. If the tables were turned and this was a couple of Muslims getting married in a Western civil ceremony, and the person officiating spent a the whole ceremony going on about how this old goat fucker was following in the way of their so-called paedophile prophet by marrying somebody young enough to be his daughter, and how the victim was probably the first of many who'd be sold by their families into sexual slavery for a couple of sheep -- nobody here would think such a thing was defensible.

But as others have said, when the perps are brown people and the victims are white, the cultural anxieties of some appear to automatically have to cast the brown people as victims.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:05 PM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wasn't this a skit on the Carol Burnett Show?

Wait, not Carol Burnett ... Dave Chapelle. I always get them mixed up.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:06 AM on October 29, 2010


ericb: But, Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort specifically advertises itself as a place where couples can renew their wedding vows. Too bad, white westerners choose such a service.

I did a journalist junket once to a Caribbean island "weddings + vow renewals in paradise" resort and the three most memorable occurrences:

1. White British brides with the most awful scarlet sunburn stripes across their scalps. (They all got their hair braided Caribbean style when they arrived, and didn't realize how tender the newly exposed skin would be).
2. Hotel staff hauling a groom out of the pool. He'd fallen in, arseholed on rum at breakfast, on his way to the sunrise vow-renewal ceremony on "lucky horseshoe" beach. I'd picked him (and his wife of several years) to interview because they looked so loving and sweet. The interview was canceled.
3. An ugly fight between a newly married first time bride and a mature divorcee. The divorcee was great fun, I thought - and was marrying - after a "whirlwind courtship" an odd chap she'd only just met on a cruise. She got it into her head that she HAD to borrow this bride's white meringue frock for her own last-minute ceremony, and the bride refused, very rudely. So the divorcee sort of slapped at the bride's face, and the bride got mad back. And their men got very heated too (they were all drunk.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:19 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think we can all agree that the British are the scum of the Earth.
posted by Catfry at 2:25 PM on October 29, 2010


Scum of the Earth! Those guys ROCKED.
posted by Gator at 2:42 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think we can all agree that the British are the scum of the Earth.
posted by Catfry at 10:25 PM on October 29


It is so nice to be recognised. *Sniff*.
posted by Decani at 2:12 PM on October 30, 2010


Metafilter is always useful for reminding me just how callous and cruel people feel they can be if the people whose ruined wedding they're mocking happen to be white. Oh, they were white tourists, it's hip to laught at the fact that some assholes fucked up their wedding vows. It's definitely their fault for creating the only jobs that economy can produce.
posted by Dasein at 9:07 PM on October 28


Yes, but it's okay, see, because the nice oppressed non-white people didn't call the horrible white exploiters pussies. That would have been monstrous and inexcusable. Cultural relativism for all!

I love everyone, me. Everyone! Yes, even Christine McDonnell. In fact, I had a one-night stand with her once. I recall she had a quite magnificent bush. I swear, that woman kick-started my interest in topiary. Because of that, I can never entirely hate her, try as I might.
posted by Decani at 2:18 PM on October 30, 2010


Just to be clear, this wasn't a "Muslim wedding", it was a Maldivian themed wedding. There are no "weddings" in Islam, there is a marriage contract. Various ethnic groups superimpose their local customs on top, but at the core the contract, or nikah , is a pretty straightforward business-like thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:49 PM on November 21, 2010


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