Ever seen a domestic automobile? As an American, you own that.

The telephone? It’s yours, too.

Jaclyn Smith’s smart and sensible Kmart collection? You’re the rightful proprietor of all those clothes — what’s more American than Charlie’s Angels?

You own all that came from the same place as your DNA, past and present.

You just do.

Apparently, that’s the new rule.

These very words I’m writing: If you can trace a drop of blood back to England, you possess every letter.

Or you would…if there wasn’t an evident exception for white Europeans — y’all don’t own jack.

And that’s why anyone not like you can put on their K-Mart duds and hop into their Ford and drive to get a root beer float, open their Apple laptop, and type their rage against you in English — with complete impunity.

Or something like that — I haven’t quite figured it out.

But it’s for reasons such as these that Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson got blasted for stealing a culture by dressing up like an insufficiently-clothed Indian for Halloween.

In what kind of a confused world are we living when a girl who made a career posing for Playboy and running in slow motion in a swimsuit can’t throw on a skimpy getup without being taken to task about politics?

She’s Pamela Anderson — it’s her job to take photos in her underwear on staircases.

Nevertheless, here’s what happened.

The 52-year-old foreverblonde posted two images to Twitter with the joyous message of “Happy Halloween.”

One picture featured her in her drawers, wearing milk instead of a shirt — as one does.

-And holding an American Indian headdress.

In another, she was topless and looking back at the camera, still in her skivvies.

And sportin’ a big Village People noggin-topper.

For a full view of the (at least PG-13) display, you can cautiously click here.

As for the broad and serious implications of the situation, allow me to lay common sense like tile:

You own nothing.

Except what you create and what you earn. And what someone explicitly gives to you.

And in none of those ways does anyone own a culture.

Also, there’s a word for a foreign thing you wouldn’t normally ever wear: “costume.”

Here’s a little more from me, on a similar absurdity a while back:

He’s not in the mood, everyone — coddle accordingly.

Perhaps the dumbest part of the tweet isn’t its reference to culture theft; there’s nothing more inane than someone claiming to represent everyone of a particular race. “We in the black community.” If I have blue eyes, can I speak for Frank Sinatra? The notion is ridiculous, when done by “MamaSam,” Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or any ambassadork.

You sure don’t own a culture; not even the one that produced you.

What is a culture? It’s a set of ideas and an aesthetic. And it belongs to no one at all.

The Chinese don’t own the chopstick any more than Italians own the fork. The French have no sole possession of the éclair, and Greeks lack exclusive dibs on the wheel.

Even if one makes a significant cultural contribution, their endowment is but a penny in a massive well of other gifts, bestowed by a multitude. And those donations likely came by way of inspiration from influences abroad, in one way or another.

Furthermore, a worldview which rigidly separates humanity and its offerings according to race — or manmade property lines — is ridiculous.

So whoever you are, and whatever you’ve done, you don’t own a culture.

Nevertheless, witness Twitter’s response to Political Pamela:

And none of us are indigenous: The American Indians did not originate in North America, but Asia (or elsewhere before that) — they migrated via the Bering Strait.

But the bottom line, it seems to me, when it comes to anyone feeling that they own a fashion, a music, a language, an aesthetic, a culture…is this:

Goofballs and Millennials, get over yourselves. The fact that you fart doesn’t mean you own the wind.

-ALEX

 

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