Wait, their strip is All Black...and Pink?
August 9, 2009 6:44 PM   Subscribe

To launch their new "all black" away strip, English premier football side Everton hired a dance troupe perform a "flippant" version of the Maori haka with English lyrics. Ngati Toa, the iwi of the chief Te Rauparaha who penned the haka "Ka mate" performed by the All Blacks, have in the past attempted and failed to trade mark it to prevent commercial use (and misuse), and have had the issue addressed in their Treaty of Waitangi settlement. This follows controversy over the Spice Girls, an alcopop company, Italian models for Fiat, and the Royal Shakespeare Company all performing the haka inappropriately. And Jean Paul Gaultier deploying the moko on models in a French collection. Opinion over the Everton haka is naturally divided. Previously: Lego faced criticism for using Maori names for its Bionicles range, and we talked about the haka and about cultural IP.
posted by szechuan (90 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pink is just a lighter shade of black. Look it up.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:29 PM on August 9, 2009


Well, that's brave - considering they'll never have to answer for it against the All Blacks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:42 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is the hairy man who fetched the sun.
posted by schwa at 7:45 PM on August 9, 2009


I don't understand when it gets used by the All Blacks. Do they perform it every match? Is it part of a pre-game event?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:49 PM on August 9, 2009


Do they perform it every match? Is it part of a pre-game event?

Yes and yes.
posted by Jimbob at 7:51 PM on August 9, 2009


Does the opposing team do something, too, for their own morale? (I know baseball and ice skating but no other sports. I'm having a difficult time imagining the haka being performed at either of those. Especially "Here is the hairy man!" being shouted by a 14-year-old girl in a figure skating dress, although that would be awesome.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Cultural IP" Is ridiculous. I'm guessing the authors of this dance died more then 90 years ago.
posted by delmoi at 8:07 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does the opposing team do something, too, for their own morale?

Teams have tried various things to counter the haka - it's a bit of an ongoing issue in Rugby, and a talking point.

I remember one Australian Wallabies team standing right up in the All Blacks' faces- like, about a metre away, staring them down. Sometimes teams have turned their backs on the haka, or just messed about at the other end of the field, warming up & tossing footballs around.

These kinds of tactics of disrespecting the haka & trying to put the All Blacks off normally end with the opposing team getting smashed into tiny little pieces, which are then collected, trampled on some more, and generally made to become one with the muddy & bloody soil of the football field.

Other Polynesian nations like Western Samoa & Fiji have their own hakas, which is helpful for them - they & the All Blacks take it in turns to intimidate each other. Then the All Blacks grind them into a pulp, anyway.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:10 PM on August 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


Does the opposing team do something, too, for their own morale?

Well...this is the awesome power of the haka. Opposing teams have sometimes tried to do something in return, and have ended up looking like pathetic little girls. Other times they've just sort of stood there, ignoring it, turning their backs, which is of course incredibly rude. Although apparently, a long time ago, the Springboks used to do a Zulu war dance. That might be appropriate.

Oh look, Sportsfilter discussed it.
posted by Jimbob at 8:11 PM on August 9, 2009


"Cultural IP" Is ridiculous. I'm guessing the authors of this dance died more then 90 years ago.

Looking at it from a legalistic perspective is kind of a red herring, IMHO. Really we just want our culture to be respected, not co-opted and abused/misused for the benefit of alien corporates or irrelevent sports teams.

There are numerous haka, the All Blacks historically do just one, but sometimes do kapa o pango as well - which is brilliant but doesn't have the same heritage. And haka certainly aren't only done as part of sport, but that's where they're most regularly done.

When done right, a haka raises the hair on the back of my neck, and makes me swell with pride. I find the increasingly common misuse to be annoying at best, and upsetting at worst. If you think it's just a dance, or just a sport thing, then you won't possibly be able to understand how we feel about this.

When Manu Samoa do their war dance response, or the Fijians do their Teivovo, or the Tongans do their Sipi Tao, or even when the opposing team (mainly the Wallabies) simply front up and eyeball the All Blacks while they go through the haka, that is AWESOME. It's not disrespectful at all, it's perfect. The weakest response is for the opposing team to go off into a huddle. They can do it, of course, but it's pretty poor - and they tend to get steamrollered by way of recompense.

Anyone can do anything they want, but I think it's better not to ridicule other cultures. And particularly aspects of other cultures that they actually value quite deeply.
posted by The Monkey at 8:31 PM on August 9, 2009 [23 favorites]


We cheerfully appropriate anything we fancy, be it espresso or hiphop, but want to reserve the right to how others interpret the very things we want to be famous for. It's a poser. I don't like this kind of thing, but I struggle to find a consistent position that supports that feeling.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:36 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Strip" means "uniform"?

And they hired a dance troupe to do this dance? Would it not be more appropriate for the players themselves to do the dance?

I am probably the victim of a huge cultural gap here. I think this is the equivalent of a football team running through the giant paper banner of their logo, surrounded by cheerleaders being thrown 15 feet in the air? This is done before ALL their games, or just the home games? Gads, I even read all the links and I still feel horribly clueless. I think in the 1 Giant Leap DVD, the dance being done by Tehamua Nikora is a haka, so at least I have a tiny clue about THAT...

Sorry to have all the questions...
posted by hippybear at 8:41 PM on August 9, 2009


Couldn't they make like the Bundesliga and do this dance instead? (previously)
posted by Xere at 8:45 PM on August 9, 2009


I'm happy people are finally starting to talk about Everton but for all the wrong reasons.

Pink is just a lighter shade of black. Look it up.
That's true! Last night I dreamt I had to buy this strip because it's a thing of legend, so I will.
posted by kendrak at 8:49 PM on August 9, 2009


hippybear, sorry, yes "strip" means uniform.

And certainly when the All Blacks do the haka, the players themselves are the ones doing it. Here, I imagine an English football (soccer) team wouldn't have the first clue how to, so they hired dancers.

The All Blacks perform a haka immediately before every game (home and away), usually after the national anthems (international game) and prior to kick off. You can see them perform one here.
posted by szechuan at 8:54 PM on August 9, 2009


Trinity, Texas apparently has had an influx of Maori transplants recently. They've brought the chant to their high school football team. Frankly, it's cooler than all the other versions.
posted by nushustu at 9:25 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Much as I respect the Haka: tough shit lads. You have been assimilated.
posted by pompomtom at 9:26 PM on August 9, 2009


Much as I respect the Haka: tough shit lads. You have been assimilated.

'Cos you couldn't possibly find anything from your own culture? Maybe a nice morris dance? Oh, I see the problem.
posted by The Monkey at 9:31 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


They hired Maori dancers...how is this disrespectful to Maoris?
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:42 PM on August 9, 2009


Tonga responding to haka:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_BCKZqDLUM

(Check out the great crowd response on that one.)

First outing of kapa o pango, v. the Boks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpNfaVocfV8

Tonga v. Samoa:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mgs_rSuGW8

Samoan haka with All Black response:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idCAtVDRuLw
posted by The Monkey at 9:43 PM on August 9, 2009


"You've been assimilated."

Antipotroll.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 9:45 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Next reality show coming your way: So You Think you can Haka? Paula Abdul will be a judge.

Why can't women haka? Come now, if you're going to claim it's culturally insensitive to bastardize a haka, I'm going to claim it's...uh....genderally (whatever I'm calling it a word and it's on the internet now suckers) insensitive to claim it's offensive for women to do it.

Pink is fine in small quantities against black, but I am one of those people who thinks black + colour never looks as good as two complimentary colours together. I fear for the gear fans should wear. Just wanted to throw that in there as well, apropos of nothing.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:51 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]




They hired Maori dancers...how is this disrespectful to Maoris?

I haven't been able to find a copy I can view, the short answer is that I don't think it necessarily is. It's just that we're so bloody used to internationals getting it horribly horribly wrong - that the expectation is for this to be another bloody stupid pale imitation, or even a mockery.

Just for instance, the Trinity haka performance is fine by me (though that youtube video has some really horrible editing - I've seen other better versions of it), it's an authentic version, taken there by Maori, performed in te reo, and done with respect.
posted by The Monkey at 10:13 PM on August 9, 2009


'Cos you couldn't possibly find anything from your own culture? Maybe a nice morris dance?

I think the appropriate choice would be some Eckythoomp.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trinity, Texas apparently has had an influx of Maori transplants recently. They've brought the chant to their high school football team . Frankly, it's cooler than all the other versions.

That guy is in high school? Good lord. That reminds me of that time Beavis and Butthead were watching that metal video and they said the singer sounded like "the voice that would come out of Godzilla's butt."

If I was a high school kid on the other team I would just run out of the stadium and as far away as I possibly could before the game even started, pausing only briefly to discard my soiled pants.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:37 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Opposing teams have sometimes tried to do something in return, and have ended up looking like pathetic little girls. Other times they've just sort of stood there, ignoring it, turning their backs, which is of course incredibly rude.

How is this "incredibly rude"?
I mean, if you want to dance in the end zone, psych yourself up, call out to your ancestors, celebrate your cultural heritage, whatever, knock yourself out.

But I don't see how an opposing team has any obligation to cooperate with your attempts to intimidate or belittle them.
posted by madajb at 11:18 PM on August 9, 2009


Yes, on the odd occasion when I'm watching the All Blacks, the haka in all it's power can give me goosebumps. I can't imagine this English football troupe even coming close to what an authentic haka can do - plus they don't have the cultural heritage which gives it meaning.

So let them do it, if they can't get it right it'll be an embarrassment for them. It's just one more gimmick. Hate to tell you but the world is full of commercial rip offs, copycats, exploits, marketing ploys etc etc. There will always be companies and people pushing the boundaries and ignoring etiquette/respect for humankind and culture.

It's about money. The Everton marketing department want to make money, and the Maori tribe Ngati Toa wants to keep others from making money off a culturally significant dance.

I just don't see how you can stop people dancing. I don't know why you'd want to be so controlling. It might feel terribly disrespectful and maybe it is, but you can't stop everyone in the world from doing something you don't like.

If you were successful in stopping everybody performing the haka pretty soon you wouldn't have anyone who remembered what the haka was.

Just a mere Pakeha speaking here.
posted by Enki at 11:36 PM on August 9, 2009


Does the opposing team do something, too, for their own morale?

I will never forget seeing my first rugby match upon arriving in New Zealand. The game was the All Blacks vs. the Wallabies, and seeing as that we had both Kiwis and Aussies living together on our base, the tension (all in good fun) was high.

The All Blacks went down onto the field and performed the Haka: violent, loud, lots of tongues sticking out.

The Wallabies returned suit with a rousing rendition of...

Waltzing Matilda!
posted by litterateur at 11:50 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Cultural IP" Is ridiculous. I'm guessing the authors of this dance died more then 90 years ago.

The authors of most national anthems died more than 90 years ago. I suspect you wouldn't like seeing someone do a bad and insensitive parody of your national anthem, as part of a promotional gimmick for something completely unrelated to your country. The haka has the same meaning and status to us as our national anthem does. On a rugby field, it probably has more.

How is this "incredibly rude"?
I mean, if you want to dance in the end zone, psych yourself up, call out to your ancestors, celebrate your cultural heritage, whatever, knock yourself out.


Half-way line, not the end zone, whatever that is. Has nothing to do with "calling out to ancestors", either. But again, see my comparison with a national anthem. If someone sat down and talked while everyone else was singing the national anthem, I would think they were rude. If someone turns their back on the haka and throws a ball around, equally I think they're rude.

Unlike litterateur, I actually like the Aussies singing 'Waltzing Matilda'. It's a song that's got a lot of meaning to them, it's a statement of their identity and who they are. Seems like a very appropriate way to respond to the challenge of the haka.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:14 AM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, would a parallel to this situation be if the Cleveland Indians (baseball team for non USers) suddenly started doing Native American drumming and dancing before each of their games?

Or is that an off-base comparison?
posted by hippybear at 12:21 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


hippybear: I think that's broadly equivalent. Assuming you mean that they started doiung the drumming/dancing without any consultation/involvement of the local Native American community.

Though it's probably worse in this case, because you've got an English soccer team appropriating something associated with New Zealand culture, so two different countries are involved.

(Also, adding to what UbuRovois said, as a NZ supporter I love to see opposition players face up to the haka and try to stare the All Blacks down. It's an absolutely stirring sight, and something that we all respect).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:45 AM on August 10, 2009


The Haka is an immense thing to see, a lot of which is to due to how the opposing team react. Best one I've seen was the one at the 2008 Wales v New Zealand game. Kiwi team did their bit, then the Welsh players just stood their ground, ended with the Ref pleading with both teams to get on with the game. Spine tingling stuff. BBC Video of it

Of course, everything then followed as per UbuRoivas, they beat us...
posted by lloyder at 1:28 AM on August 10, 2009


Isn't the Anglo-Celtic equivalent of the Haka to mercilessly take the piss.. so wouldn't demanding the piss-taking to stop be also impinging on cultural IP?

This should be taken at once to the ministry of silly walks.
posted by zog at 2:43 AM on August 10, 2009


would a parallel to this situation be if the Cleveland Indians (baseball team for non USers) suddenly started doing Native American drumming and dancing before each of their games?

If a bunch of white, non-native-Americans started doing some war/rain/etc. dance at the beginning of a game, they would be booed off the field for it.

Are the All Blacks made up of Maori? Or are the All Blacks in actuality All White?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:17 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


If a bunch of white, non-native-Americans started doing some war/rain/etc. dance at the beginning of a game, they would be booed off the field for it.

Only because it wouldn't be racist enough.
posted by srboisvert at 3:24 AM on August 10, 2009


How is this "incredibly rude"?
I mean, if you want to dance in the end zone, psych yourself up, call out to your ancestors, celebrate your cultural heritage, whatever, knock yourself out.


There are a million and one ways to offend another culture and this is one of them - you just don't look away while you're being challenged, it makes you look weak and... well... rude.

A well done Haka is a huge source of cultural pride in Aotearoa (New Zealand), not just for Maori but also for the many other residents. To understand you only have to stand in a stadium, or in front of the TV at a pub or a room at a friends place when Kiwis are watching an All Black Haka performed - in general the room just goes silent.

Seeing it done poorly or without respect is a sad, sad sight.
posted by dp at 3:30 AM on August 10, 2009


What lloyder and Infinite Jest said -- watching the haka being stared down, especially during that Wales game, is immense*. I think during the England game that year, the fans began singing "Swing Low" while the haka was being performed, right? (What's the general verdict on that -- thrilling, or disrespectful?)

hippybear: yeah, I think that's essentially it. Except, pretend that there does exist an all-NA team that has drummed and danced in the centre of the field before every game since the beginning of the team, essentially. There is a huge tradition of not just the haka alone, but the All Blacks in particular doing the haka (before smithereening the other team).

Baseball's a funny comparison (and this is what tripped me up a little bit when it first came to rugby), because the players generally don't come from the city they're playing for, so a little of the...tribalism? I guess, is lost. All Blacks players all(?) come from NZ, have all dreamed of playing for the AB's their whole lives...there's a huge amount of national pride (and local pride, at the lower levels), and a huge amount of cultural pride that goes along with the team. The haka adds another dimension to this pride.


*Have fun with a repeat of the whole deal this autumn! *sob*
posted by kalimac at 3:31 AM on August 10, 2009


Are the All Blacks made up of Maori? Or are the All Blacks in actuality All White?

There are normally quite a number of Maori in the All Blacks, as well as some pakeha (whiteys). A large part of their general dominance of world rugby*, for a tiny nation of only a few million people - I think - stems from the fact that Maori are, typically, fucking huge & strong.

As far as I know, the haka is led not by the captain of the team, but by the Maori player who is highest up in the tribal royalty...? Perhaps somebody from the land of the long white cloud can confirm or deny this.

* World Cups excepted
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:37 AM on August 10, 2009


Are the All Blacks made up of Maori? Or are the All Blacks in actuality All White?

It's a mix, and there are always a good number of players from other pacific islands too. Check out any one of the videos linked above for an idea.

The point is not the race of the player - more important is the intent and the respectful way that the Haka is performed. This is coming from a Pakeha (white New Zealander) so correct me if I'm wrong, it's just the way I see it.
posted by dp at 3:38 AM on August 10, 2009


Check out any one of the videos linked above for an idea.

Just did, and yeah, the Cleveland Indians analogy isn't really apt.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:43 AM on August 10, 2009


I suspect you wouldn't like seeing someone do a bad and insensitive parody of your national anthem.

I personally wouldn't give a shit, but then if I were of a culture that actually possessed a dance of similar significance as the haka, I'd hate to see my fellows appropriate it for something as tawdry as amassing a few more points in some fucking ball game. Then again, probably the only reason anyone outside of New Zealand even knows or cares about the haka is because of rugby, so who am I to judge?

This has nothing to do with cultural theft. The haka is just a way for the All Blacks to psych themselves and their fans up, and demoralize the opposing team. Of course they want to stop other teams from doing it; if every team out there does the haka it'll lose its impact.
posted by Ritchie at 5:48 AM on August 10, 2009


Back in the '90s, a certain Boston rugby club dealt with pre-game hakkas, tribal dances and club chants by lighting up a cigarette and drinking beer. At that point it was comprised of North Irish terrorists and South African war criminals hiding out in Southie... I don't think they'd be impressed by anything short of a display of actual super-powers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:14 AM on August 10, 2009


er, I'm not a huge Sportie, but even I, Ritchie, can comprehend that it can well be both cultural and a way to psych themselves up. If you have read the other comments people have said that when done right an opposing haka is entirely appropriate, as is any ritual, symbolic challenge.

I am guessing you live in the US, where sport has become 98% commercial and a lot of the feeling has left. We don't value culture, and see it merely as something to appropriate at will as we desire, and most sadly most of us don't see anything wrong with it.
posted by edgeways at 6:14 AM on August 10, 2009


ah wait, I see Australia... well apologies.
posted by edgeways at 6:17 AM on August 10, 2009


I work in advertising clearance, where we try and prevent viewers from getting mislead or offended by what's on the TV. We always tell agencies to seek permission from the Consulate for use of the haka, given that it has such a strong cultural resonance - I'm sure the ASA will have ruled against its use after complaints.

Strangely enough, though, we let The Sun use references to Liverpool FC.
posted by mippy at 6:38 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aaaaargh. This thread keeps getting more and more tangled for me!

Infinite Jest: Though it's probably worse in this case, because you've got an English soccer team appropriating something associated with New Zealand culture

kalimac: pretend that there does exist an all-NA team that has drummed and danced in the centre of the field before every game since the beginning of the team, essentially

UbuRoivas: A large part of their general dominance of world rugby

Is this an English team, or New Zealand, or is it like the Canadian baseball teams which are really part of the American league and just happen to be in another country?

I was under the impression from the articles in the FPP that this dance was instituted because of new uniforms. Is that incorrect?

Are we talking about futbol or rugby?
posted by hippybear at 6:39 AM on August 10, 2009


hippybear: I'll do this from the top :). Please excuse any redundancy.

1. A haka is a Maori challenge/war dance. It is often performed in greeting (e.g. a visiting dignitary might be met with a haka as a welcome/challenge). There are many different haka (for example, my school had one, written by a teacher). [Maori being the native people of New Zealand.]
2. Te Rauparaha was a Maori chief (and a great warrior) who composed a haka titled ka mate ka mate (translates as "it is death, it is death") to celebrate his escape from his enemies.
3. This haka was adopted by the All Blacks, the national rugby team of New Zealand. The term All Blacks refers to their uniforms not their race (the team is made up of European New Zealanders, Maori, Pacific Islanders and those of mixed race). The All Blacks are historically the greatest team in world rugby (except at world cup time....) and the haka is a big part of their mystique.
4. The All Blacks have been performing the haka for well over 100 years, before each game. Some other teams respond by performing their own hakas (e.g. Pacific Island teams like Samoa or Fiji). Others respond by singing (Australia, England, Wales).
5. Everton, an English soccer team from Liverpool, have adopted a black uniform for their away games (e.g. when they are playing at another team's stadium, they may have to change from their regular blue uniform, to avoid clashes if the other team plays in blue, so they wear black).
6. To promote this black uniform, they invited fans to create a parody/pastiche of ka mate ka mate, only in English.
7. I, and others, see this as disrespectful.

(It's confusing because in this thread we are also debating the All Blacks' use of the haka, and its performance at New Zealand rugby games - which is where we get comments about the Welsh or Australian response to the haka - those comments are talking about the rugby games. There's also the argument that ritchie raised about whether the All Blacks should do the haka at all).
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:04 AM on August 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


The New Zealand rugby team performs the Haka before every match. It is a source of cultural pride for New Zealanders.

The English soccer team Everton hired dancers to perform a "flippant" version of the Haka at the launch of their new uniform.

So to unify the analogies: Pretend that the Cleveland Indians (baseball) actually consists of a lot of Native American players. They perform a Native American dance to psyche themselves up before every match.
Now, the Dallas Cowboys (football right?) hire some dancers to perform a flippant version of the Native American dance at the launch of their new uniform.
posted by minifigs at 7:04 AM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whoops, didn't preview. Infinite Jest explains it better and has a cooler username than me.
posted by minifigs at 7:06 AM on August 10, 2009


Oh, thank you SO much. I was really getting confused with all the different sports and countries and everything being all jumbled together. It all makes complete sense to me now. And minifig's analogy about the Indians and the Cowboys (very apt choice of second team there) really clarifies the situation for my poor addled mind.

Thanks for being patient with me. I know we can seem a bit culturally myopic at times, but we Americans do want to understand what happens outside our borders. We are just rarely afforded the opportunity. And it's those who take the time to help dolts like me who make MeFi so wonderful!
posted by hippybear at 7:11 AM on August 10, 2009


I'm finding this fascinating and, like hippybear, confusing. Thanks for the explanation. Poking around I found some responses to the haka -- I'm sure they're old news to rugby fans, but new to me. (Warning: YouTube commenters.)

The English crowd singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (huh?)

Ireland shuffling up to the haka

Wales and NZ have a staring contest

New Zealanders on an English team do the haka at (?) the All Blacks
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:03 AM on August 10, 2009


I always thought the uniform was called a "kit". I mean there is a kit manager on the team.

But yeah... maybe they should have had fish and chips instead of performing a tribal dance for a culture that well probably have no representation in the stadium that day. Then again I really don't see why people got all pissed off about these things. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
posted by Gravitus at 8:33 AM on August 10, 2009


I'm seriously wondering what Everton's Tim Cahill's perspective is on this. He's Australian. He's wearing an all-black (ok, and pink) kit that was launched by specifically referencing the Haka?

Lets see...., the new strip is for away games where the opponent also wears blue - I'm thinking Chelsea for starters. That's about a 4 minute tube ride from the most northerly suburb of Sydney, Earls Court. Will he get abuse from 1,056 off-duty bartenders?
posted by Nick Verstayne at 8:33 AM on August 10, 2009


Good thing rugby isn't popular in the US or the All Blacks might someday face the American haka, which consists entirely of calling in artillery support from a safe distance*. One must admit it's visually less impressive for the first fifteen or twenty minutes.

Actually it would be kind of awesome to watch them face down some squad of angry young American urbanites delivering truly expert yo-mommas at them.

*Under Dubya, it consisted of calling in artillery to strike the stands instead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The English crowd singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (huh?)

It's the England team's (unofficial?) rugby song, is all :)

(The baseball equivalent is, I believe, informing the pitcher that they suck.)
posted by kalimac at 9:34 AM on August 10, 2009


Really we just want our culture to be respected, not co-opted and abused/misused for the benefit of alien corporates or irrelevent sports teams.

This seems to me like it would be impossible on the level of world peace. Getting corporations to not co-opt culture for profit?
posted by ODiV at 10:37 AM on August 10, 2009


Infinite Jest - thanks for the play-by-play.

I wandered into this thread and have never in my life felt so alienated from my mother tongue.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:37 AM on August 10, 2009


Personally, I think the All Blacks manage to do it respectfully - they have a lot of respect for it as a team, and they're one of New Zealand's big contemporary cultural symbols. Besides which, they have at least a handful of Maori on the team.

The thing about the All Blacks and other Oceanian teams doing the haka is that it, yes, is used to intimidate, but it brings in an intriguing cultural element. Rugby, in the same way as American football and Rest-Of-The-World football, is ceremonial, non-lethal 'war' (which is better than real war, isn't it?) and is a competition, done hopefully with good sportsmanship in which there's a sense of camaraderie on the field between all the players while at the same time one side is trying to beat the other. It's FUN to try to scare the crap out of the other players, and it's entertaining to watch them bring bits of their culture into the whole spectacle.

I'd love to take a trip to New Zealand during rugby season and watch two Oceanian teams play against each other, if only for the pre-game stuff.
posted by kldickson at 10:55 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is a source of cultural pride for some New Zealanders.

Culture and associated pride can certainly be a good thing, but it can also be bloody silly. The minute you raise them to some sacrosanct status, beyond imitation, beyond satire, beyond reproach, it just becomes another form of self-important ideological wank. So some bugger made a different version of some type of song someone you may or may not share ancestors with used to write. Dry your eyes, princess, and have a can of harden up with your methode champenoise.
posted by Sparx at 10:56 AM on August 10, 2009


frack - by which I meant méthode traditionnelle, d'accord. Waste of a good rant, really.
posted by Sparx at 11:03 AM on August 10, 2009


Yes, of course. Because the French & the EU have banned other sparkling-wine producing countries from using the C-word.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:41 PM on August 10, 2009


(and, of course, Kiwis rightfully would be wanting to boycott French wines)

And a question I think hasn't been answered yet: the World Cup isn't like those American "World" series competitions, which are basically a bunch of American club sides, with maybe a Canadian, Japanese or Puerto Rican team thrown in for good measure.

In international rugby, as in cricket, actual nations play against each other - the main rugby nations being NZ, Australia, South Africa, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Italy & Argentina. Japan & various Pacific Island nations (eg Tonga, Samoa & Fiji) also play, but they're rarely very competitive against the other teams. The Canadians also pop up during world cups, but only as a kind of touch football training run.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:50 PM on August 10, 2009


Coincidentally (?), I believe Liverpool are switching to black for their 3rd uniforms this year.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 1:23 PM on August 10, 2009


Yeah, I'm always frustrated and ashamed at our baseball "world series". I mean, don't get me wrong, my life seems to take on color when Spring Training starts in March and seems to grow less lustrous when the championship has been decided in October... But it's just stupid to call it that, and not have other nations participating.

I guess the "World Baseball Classic" is supposed to somehow expand the competition into the global sphere, but mostly it's ignored by American sports fans, unless they really love baseball and not simply sports. (If that makes any sense.)

I've always envied the Futbol World Cup for its ability to transfix most of the globe with its intense gameplay and national fervor. But, looking at the US as it stands today, I'm not sure stoking the fires of nationalism right now would be the best thing. We nearly integrated with the world community in 2001, but by 2003 we turned into a bunch of crappy playground thugs bullying the kids on the swingset again.

Someday we will wake up and be part of the global family. Right now, we're that obnoxious neighbor with the huge house who can't keep his parties quiet enough for everyone to sleep at night, but who has too much clout with the cops for them to do anything when you call.
posted by hippybear at 1:45 PM on August 10, 2009


Yes, of course. Because the French & the EU have banned other sparkling-wine producing countries from using the C-word.

But, aside from basically trademarking the name and limiting it to those with grapes from the region, they don't prevent other people from making it - which was my opaquely referred to, roundabout kinda point. Not only that, but you're allowed to think a non-French sparkling wine is better than the French kind if you want.

(and, of course, Kiwis rightfully would be wanting to boycott French wines)

This, of course, because viciously, and without provocation, French vintners bombed a Greenpeace vessel moored in NZ.
posted by Sparx at 2:17 PM on August 10, 2009


Yeah. The Vintners Suck, perhaps?
posted by John Shaft at 3:11 PM on August 10, 2009


* World Cups excepted

Which of course makes the whole escapade utterly fucking hilarious. Total bottle jobs ;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:37 PM on August 10, 2009


you're allowed to think a non-French sparkling wine is better than the French kind if you want.

Oh, there's no doubt at all that a good Barossa Valley sparkling Shiraz runs rings all around that Frog piss.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 PM on August 10, 2009


I'm somewhat gobsmacked by those few here who reckon that it's totally OK for a bunch of marketing shills to misappropriate a highly culturally significant icon of a completely different culture, which they have no relation to or interest in, for short-term kicks. Given the long-standing trashing of indigenous cultures around the world, which continues to this day, I would have thought at least here on MetaFilter people would be sufficiently attuned to the extreme inappropriateness of this.

It’s pretty simple really. Hakas are for Māori and other Polynesian cultures and those who identify with them to use. Not for anyone else to commercialise. In rugby, opposing teams can do what they want, as long as it’s respectful.

Don’t you yanks get angry about your flag being misused? Same diff.
posted by wilful at 7:42 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's already been commercially appropriated by the All Blacks themselves, hasn't it? I mean, it's being performed by a group of guys with the Adidas sponsorship logo prominently displayed on their jerseys, on a sports field which probably has a bunch of anamorphic advertisements painted onto the turf, and is ringed by yet more advertisements.
posted by Ritchie at 8:36 PM on August 10, 2009


Rugby Union was an amateur sport until relatively recently (say, until about 15 years ago) and this tradition originated way before the sport was appropriated by commercial interests - something it actually needed to do, to save all the top players being stolen by the (professional) rival code: Rugby League.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:39 PM on August 10, 2009


>It's already been commercially appropriated by the All Blacks themselves, hasn't it?

Short answer, no.

while the All Blacks are 'commercial', they're a lot more than a for profit outfit, they are a deep part of new zealand culture, and have a long-standing, healthy relationship with Māori.
posted by wilful at 9:20 PM on August 10, 2009


In the grand scheme of things, any day in which the worst thing that happens to you is that you see someone using some commonly-known thing that derives from your culture in a way that you don't quite approve of is a pretty fucking awesome day.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:40 PM on August 10, 2009


Yes, shitting all over traditional cultures will always be ok, so long as disease, starvation, violence & wars exist.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:05 PM on August 10, 2009


And Jean Paul Gaultier deploying the moko on models in a French collection.

Odd synchronicity. I got a tattoo today (not exactly common, since it's my first), and at some point the artist mentioned his distaste for white boys that want maori facial tattoos.
posted by flaterik at 10:40 PM on August 10, 2009


at some point the artist mentioned his distaste for white boys that want maori facial tattoos.

Because it's so much more culturally sensitive if coloured people convicted of sexual assault get them
posted by Sparx at 4:12 AM on August 11, 2009



I'm somewhat gobsmacked by those few here who reckon that it's totally OK for a bunch of marketing shills to misappropriate a highly culturally significant icon of a completely different culture, which they have no relation to or interest in, for short-term kicks.
0

I have been somewhat snarky in this thread, for sure, but I'd be interested to know - in what way does a culturally significant element trump the laws of copyright. How would you define that? Should you really do that, bearing in mind the reasons why copyright exists? And if so - why?

I am seriously interested - this strikes me as a useful topic of discussion.
posted by Sparx at 4:23 AM on August 11, 2009


Culture isn't static.
posted by doublehappy at 5:29 AM on August 11, 2009


I don't think it's so much a legal issue as a moral one. Legally, it's clear: they (Everton) can perform ka mate ka mate (it's out of copyright); they can perform a new haka (no copyright protection on haka as a class of work); and even if it was still covered by copyright, they could arguably perform a version with English lyrics (trying a parody defence).

But should they? Given that it is simply a marketing gimmick, and that the haka has no connection whatsoever to Everton FC or the city of Liverpool, I'd say no. My answer would probably be different if this was, say, an English rugby league team with a large number of Pacific Island/Maori players, who were doing it as a way of acknowledging those players. That would be appropriate, it would be in an environment where the club and the players and the fans had some understanding of the significance of what they were doing.

[It's like, everyone should have freedom of speech. I don't think there should be a law against someone using that freedom of speech to troll or grief. But I sure won't respect the person who does that. And I'll call them out on it. Same deal here. Legally right, morally distasteful]

How do you define culturally significant? Tough call. I'd suggest maybe if one doesn't know the cultural significance of x, one should be very wary of incorporating or parodying x. [And what's the point of using someone where you don't know the significance or meaning?]. Other than that, I guess it's something that has to be learned by trial and error, by seeing how people react to something.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:52 AM on August 11, 2009


wilful: I'm somewhat gobsmacked by those few here who reckon that it's totally OK for a bunch of marketing shills to misappropriate a highly culturally significant icon of a completely different culture, which they have no relation to or interest in, for short-term kicks.

Actually, I was sort of trying to bring that concept into the conversation rather obliquely when I offered up the parallel of American sports teams appropriating Native American rituals as part of their pre-game show.

I grew up in southern New Mexico, in the same stomping grounds as Billy The Kid (who was held in jail in a little town nearly my hometown) and Geronimo (whose tribe's reservation was about 60 miles away). My involvement with Boy Scouts included a lot of contact with Native tribes in the region, and later in life I started brushing up against the Navajo and Hopi (who are mostly in NW New Mexico and NE Arizona). I have a good idea (although by all means not definitive or expert) what the rituals mean to the tribes who practice them, and why these tribes are so reluctant to allow many outsiders in for a lot of the ceremonies. During a sweatlodge ceremony once, the medicine man informed all of use inside the lodge that we were never to try to create this ceremony on our own for various reasons.

I guess the context of the native cultures here in the US is very different from that in New Zealand, because it seems as though most US folks would only recognize the dances and ceremonies in the abstract, and would have no touchstone to help differentiate between a Kachina dance and a Snake dance, etc.

Wasn't there a tiny uproar when Michael Jackson did NA dancing in his Black Or White video?

Regardless, the sense of what this dance means to New Zealanders, both Maroi and not, is likely lost on most of my fellow countrymen.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 AM on August 11, 2009


grrr. Maori.
posted by hippybear at 8:20 AM on August 11, 2009


Well said, Infinite Jest.

This is always something I've had a little difficulty with, myself. Some cultural elements (and I'm being general, not NZ specific) are domonstrablyvugly and wrong, so I've always had the opinion that cultural elements, per se, don't deserve any special protection in the marketplace of ideas. In that way, I equate it with religion - I have no real respect for it and consider it based entirely based on false premises (usually that there is something worthy about the way things have been done in the past above and beyond their relative practicality - cf. religious views on pork after the invention of refrigeration), and see an overt attachment to it as possibly unhealthy, much in the same way that I would consider excessive nationalism unhealthy.

But I recognise that I'm very much in the minority in this view. Plus I've got that whole 'white male' thing going on, so perhaps I haven't had to fight very hard for the luxury of holding it. Still, if someone wants to use a Shakespearian sonnet to advertise soap, I'd be all "whatevs".
posted by Sparx at 12:14 PM on August 11, 2009


domonstrablyvugly is too a real word and not a demonstrably ugly mispelling at all
posted by Sparx at 12:16 PM on August 11, 2009


Sparx, sorry I only just got back to this thread, and Infinite Jest has already replied more extensively and comprehensively than i will, but to put it to bed, there are for me no copyright issues here at all. I don't think there should be some formal process which decides whether there is a strong enough connection to Māori culture to allow or disallow the sort of stunt that Everton are doing. I just think Everton should know better.

As to your final point, this is something I have vacillated over myself, I'm without hard answers, and a lot of bullshit has been said and done in the name of cultural rights, but for me this one is too far.
posted by wilful at 7:46 PM on August 11, 2009


Fair enough, wilful. I guess I wasn't strictly referring to the precise (or imprecise) nature of copyright so much as the concept that, after a certain period of time, things should belong to the world, for good or ill, and that attempting to keep them under lock and key is ultimately counter-productive.

I also agree that one should, of course, be sensitive to the views of others - we all have to live on the same planet, after all - but I am less convinced that those sensitivities should be the ultimate decider in such matters. How I express that lack of conviction obviously changes depending on the hour and the amount of beer in my system. T'was ever thus.
posted by Sparx at 11:15 PM on August 11, 2009


Not an English team The corpse in the library but Munster, an Irish team, who have their own history with the All Blacks. They almost got a win in that match, but are still living off the win 30 years ago. Which is the only time an Irish team, club or full international, has ever beaten bloody New Zealand at rugby.

About the haka though, I love it. Think it is a great spectacle and its great to see it, but I do think that too much is made of how the opposition responds. After all this happens *after* the anthems, right before the game begins. Gives a huge psychological boost to New Zealand.

And even when the opposition do what they think is respectful some New Zealand players have accused them of disrespecting the haka. Sometimes you just can't win, no matter your response.
posted by Fence at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2009


I'm without hard answers, and a lot of bullshit has been said and done in the name of cultural rights, but for me this one is too far.

I'm still confused as to what 'culturally sensitive IP' is deserving of protection from appropriate here. No white boys doing hip-hop? No johnny foreigners reading our Shakespeare?

And who gets to decide what counts as 'culturally significant'? Do you operate by simple majority and ignore the views of those who don't give a shit? Is a single objector enough to put the mockers on something?

Truth is, this has fuck all to do with 'cultural significance'. As the article in the New Zealand Herald puts it:

"when it comes to commercial activity we feel strongly that we need to be sitting down at the table."

These guys just wanna get paid for stuff that's not protected by copyright.

Tough titty.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2009


It is tough if they want to get paid, because that certainly isn't going to happen.

But listen, we are a very young country, a nation of immigrants, immigrants with many cultures, but very limited shared culture. The haka, through use in sport, the haka has become one of the few shared elements that we can all identify as our own.

We don't have anything like the history or cultural depth of Northern Hemisphere countries, so having what little we have that is clearly identifiable as ours, by countries with thousands of years of their own history, and then being told tough titty when we object, is offensive.

Well I'm not one of the guys that wants to be at the table. I simply don't want my culture misused by foreign companies.

As far as sports go, I'd suggest that every team should have their own equivalent of the haka - it's great for the audience when our one is done, even better when we're up against another Pacifican nation, who have their own to do by way of response.

If you check one of the vids I posted the other day, you'll hear it happen - the crowd goes complete fucking apeshit. It's AWESOME.

(The elephant in the room is that the majority of haka abuse is perpetrated by pakeha, while out of their gourds, in England & Europe. But at least they're from here, and not doing it for commercial reasons.)

My solution:
- Any sports team that wants to use some equivalent of the haka come up with their own, with elements relevant to their culture, and in their own native tongue.
- Any commercial interest that wants to use our haka had better have New Zealand ties.

There are competing perspectives here, and not all of them are money grubbing.
posted by The Monkey at 7:53 PM on August 16, 2009


Peter McDermott, can you link to the NZ Herald article that you're quoting? I had a look on their website, and I could only find this one, which doesn't feature the quote that you describe. As far as I can tell, no-one associated with Ngati Toa is trying to get paid. Even the NZRFU was only worried about trademark confusion, but said that it clearly wasn't an issue.

And who gets to decide what counts as 'culturally significant'?

The representatives of the affected culture? Look, I appreciate that you're not from NZ, but the answer to your question is really simple, from our perspective. In this case, Ngati Toa [as the tribe of Te Rauparaha, who wrote Ka Mate] has the right to say what is culturally significant to them. No-one else does; not another Maori tribe, not other New Zealanders, not Everton or anyone else.

I come back to my previous point: one the one hand, you have Maori, for whom the haka has an important cultural significance; on the other hand, you have Everton, who have no connection whatsoever to Maoridom or to the haka, but chose to incorporate it because of a coincidence in shirt colours. It's very important to us, it has no importance to you - how about respecting our perspective on this?

[I am mildly amused that Everton lost that game 6-1, too]

Fence: And even when the opposition do what they think is respectful some New Zealand players have accused them of disrespecting the haka. Sometimes you just can't win, no matter your response.

Good comments in general - I'll go back to my comparison with the national anthem: if someone kicked a ball around, or had a conversation with their team, or turned their back on the singer, or got the crowd to start singing over the top of the national anthem, I suspect people would be offended. It's the same here. [I think that linked blog is wrong to say that we felt Cockerill disrespected the haka; facing up to the haka as he did is generally seen very positively].

Oh, and hippybear (a long way upthread): Thanks for being patient with me. I know we can seem a bit culturally myopic at times, but we Americans do want to understand what happens outside our borders. We are just rarely afforded the opportunity. And it's those who take the time to help dolts like me who make MeFi so wonderful!

I always find its the Americans who make comments like this who are actually very well clued-up about the rest of the world, for what it's worth. Thanks for your comments.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:00 AM on August 17, 2009


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