The Nightmare Before Christmas And Cultural Appropriation

The Nightmare Before Christmas And Cultural Appropriation

It’s not only a lovely film but also a great allegory.
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Around Halloween, I always get the opening music from The Nightmare Before Christmas stuck in my head (“This is Halloween, this is Halloween…”). And the closer we get to Christmas, the more the rest of the songs will be in my head (“Making Christmas, making Christmas…”). But Nightmare isn’t really a Halloween movie, nor is it a Christmas movie. It isn’t about scaring your pants off or getting into the spirit of giving. Just like the recent Disney film Zootopia, Nightmare is an allegory. It’s about a social justice topic that a lot of people have a hard time explaining or understanding: cultural appropriation.

Culture is a fluid concept. It’s nigh-impossible for diverse people to interact without becoming exposed to and adopting aspects of other lifestyles. That is not cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is when one group exploits the culture of another group, taking their practices or intellectual property without first asking permission or even having any understanding of the purpose or significance of the culture. The appropriating group then benefits from the use of the appropriated group’s culture, repackaging it and misrepresenting it so it’s “theirs” now, while the appropriated group goes unrecognized.

In the United States, the white Christian majority appropriates minority cultures. For example, white people perform black people’s music styles without giving credit to their origins or recognizing the purpose of the styles, and white people dress in Halloween costumes that mimic many other cultures’ outfits, ignoring the significance of the outfits to the cultures they’re from.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington appropriates Christmas.

Jack is the king of “Halloweentown”, which sets up and performs Halloween every year. One year, he gets bored with his job and decides he wants to try something new. He stumbles across “Christmastown”, sees it as something cool and special, and decides he wants to be a part of it. But instead of talking to the people of Christmastown about it to learn more, he takes pieces of Christmas back to Halloweentown and tries to understand it there.

But it’s impossible to truly understand another culture from the perspective of one’s own culture, and Jack can’t figure out what Christmas “means” by looking at it through a Halloween lens. Jack eventually decides that it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t understand Christmas—he should just take Christmas for himself, and “improve” it by making it more like Halloween!

So Halloweentown sets about creating a twisted version of Christmas with gloomy decorations and monstrous toys (singing as they do so about how “it’s ours this time!”). They even kidnap Santa Claus so Jack can do his job for him, ignoring Santa’s protests. In our world, minorities protest white Americans’ exploitation of their culture all the time, and are similarly ignored.

Naturally, Jack’s Christmas is a disaster; the people of the world are terrified by his presents. Realizing his mistake, Jack and his friends hurry to return Santa to his role so he can fix Christmas. And because it’s a Disney movie, everything works out for the best: Christmas is restored to its proper form, and Jack learns that he can’t just go around stealing other people’s holidays.

Jack liked Christmas and thought it was cool, but that didn’t give him the ability to replicate it. It also didn’t give him the ability, or the right, to take it and “improve” it—Halloween and Christmas are different holidays with different purposes and meanings! Because of Jack’s meddling and theft, Christmas, and everyone who understood and would have otherwise benefited from Christmas, suffered. And the same goes for people of different cultures in the real world.

At the end of the film, Santa brings snow to Halloweentown, a gesture of willingness to share his culture with the curious Halloween people, who finally get a sense of what makes Christmas different from Halloween. Like I said before, it’s okay to share cultures, if all people involved are okay with the exchange, and if the group that really owns the cultural practices still gets to call their culture their own. Respect and understanding are key when interacting with other cultures. Unfortunately, in the real world, the practices and properties of the “Christmastowns” often continue to be exploited by the unrepentant “Jack Skellingtons”.

Cover Image Credit: The Daily Beast

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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A Beginner's Guide to Milwaukee Sports

Part I: The Bucks

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Being a college student in Milwaukee has its perks, especially for sports fans. Now, while some may have brought their hometown teams to college, others (myself included) may have warmed up to the Cream City teams without knowing much about them. If this is the case for you, then these pointers can help you start enjoying Milwaukee basketball without looking and sounding like a bandwagon fan.

Quick History

www.nba.com

Here are some facts about the Bucks that can make you feel more knowledgeable about the franchise:

- They have only won one championship (back in 1971) and have lost one NBA Finals series (1974) (Land of Basketball)

- They have only had one* MVP-caliber player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33) during the 1971, 1972, and 1974 seasons (Land of Basketball)

- Other Notable Players Include: Oscar Robertson (#1), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14) and Ray Allen (#34) (Land of Basketball)

*Giannis Antetokounmpo may win the MVP award this year

sited: https://www.landofbasketball.com/teams/milwaukee_bucks.htm

Gear Up

https://twitter.com/bucksproshop/status/982026548705415168

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Wearing team's colors or spirit wear is a must, especially if you're going to a game. Most items like hats and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and these are great if you're not trying to break the bank. Buying your gear from a sporting goods store will usually be cheaper than buying them from the team store (the main one of which is located in Fiserv Forum). Most online stores like NBA.com, Fanatics, Fansedge, and sometimes even the team's online store will have sales on sports gear, so getting a good deal on team wear is always a plus!

A Word of Caution: Jerseys

All three of these players are not part of the 2018-2019 roster and #77 and #3 have been reused by current players Ersan Ilyasova (#77) and George Hill (#3)

www.nba.com

If you're willing to go the extra mile, buying a jersey can really get you into locked in and pumped for the live action. However, it should be kept in mind that official Nike NBA jerseys range from $110-$250, so they definitely are an investment. While there are other options available like the FastBreak jerseys by Fanatics, they are a simpler (still official) knockoff of the Nike jerseys. Also; beware buying sale jerseys. There are usually three reasons why jerseys are ever on sale (aside from a storewide sale): a player is injured, a player doesn't play much and is about to be traded, or a player has been traded. While there is nothing wrong with having the jersey of a player who went on to another team (like Kareem and Allen), you are not exactly going to get brownie points for wearing a Jabari Parker or a Thon Maker jersey anytime soon.

Know The Current Squad

Fiserv Forum, Home of the Milwaukee Bucks

www.nba.com

Everyone in Milwaukee has heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is part of the supporting cast?

Starting Five for the 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks (Basketball Reference):

- #6 Eric Bledsoe at Point Guard

- #13 Malcolm "The President" Brogdon at Shooting Guard

- #22 Khris "Money" Middleton at Small Forward

- #34 Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo at Power Forward

- #11 Brook "Splash Mountain" Lopez at Center

Student Perk

www.nba.com

Using your university email, you can get special discount ticket offers for home games by signing up for the Bucks' Student Rush Program. Tickets usually start at $15 per ticket, and the seats available may depend on who the Bucks are playing (and how well they are doing during the season).

Get Involved and Have Fun!

Mascot Crawl GIF by NBA - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

Don't be afraid to get into it! The Bucks are an amazing team to watch and they love Bucks Nation. In addition to cheering at games, going to team events and player appearances can be great ways to make memories and even get an autograph or two!

Are You a Bucks Fan Now?🦌

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I think Giannis would agree!

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