December 1, 2018

"Unlike Unesco’s World Heritage List, which includes sites considered important to humanity like the pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Taj Mahal in India, the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity..."

"... documents elements and practices of different cultures that are deserving of recognition. Another, Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, includes endangered elements of a culture that are at risk of fading away. Reggae, which rose to prominence in the 1960s, often celebrates Jah, or God; ganja, or marijuana; and Ras Tafari, also known as Haile Selassie, the former Ethiopian emperor, whom Rastafarians revere as the messiah. It is also meant to put listeners in a calm groove."

From "Reggae Music Is Added to Unesco Cultural Heritage List" (NYT).

I'd never noticed the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, and it's interesting to think that part of humanity's cultural heritage involves putting us humans in "a calm groove."

What else is on that list — and what else has gained this stature by putting us in a calm groove? Here's the Wikipedia article about the list. It says there were 429 things on the list as of 2017.

Also on the list: Oxherding and oxcart traditions in Costa Rica, Cultural Space of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit of the Congos of Villa Mella, Opera dei Pupi (Sicilian Puppet Theatre), the Hudhud Chants of the Ifugao, Xooy (a divination ceremony among the Serer of Senegal), the manufacture of cowbells (in Portugal), Al Azi (the art of performing praise, pride and fortitude poetry in the United Arab Emirates), the coaxing ritual for camels (in Mongolia).



Here are the 31 things added to the list this year, including reggae, which is described officially without mentioning marijuana:
Originating within the cultural space of marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston, the Reggae Music of Jamaica combines musical influences from earlier Jamaican forms as well as Caribbean, North American and Latin strains. Its basic functions as a vehicle of social commentary, as a cathartic experience, and means of praising God remain unchanged, and the music continues to provide a voice for all. Students are taught how to play it from an early age, and festivals and concerts are central to ensuring its viability.
We often speak of the "drug culture," and I don't think UNESCO wants to recognize drug use as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, but it is.

58 comments:

gilbar said...

... documents elements and practices of different cultures that are deserving of recognition.
What else is on that list ?

How long before Gang Raping infidels gets put on the list? It's Already a legal justification in europe; and it certainly deserves recognition (at least, it does if you're a young woman walking home)

rhhardin said...

Unesco’s Incorrigible Cultural Heritage, for Islam.

David Begley said...

Nothing from the United States! What belongs there?

Nebraska one room schools. Nebraska cattle drives.

tim maguire said...

You know what matters in cultural heritage? Things that help our society function—democracy, honesty, respect for law, the courts and other people, a well-rounded education. This is the heritage worth preserving.

Reggae? Puppets? No. If people value it, it will survive. If it doesn’t survive, it’s because people don’t value it. This is a list not worth keeping. Which makes it perfect for the UN.

gilbar said...

wow! I figured David meant there was nothing from the USA on the list of 31 new things...
but out of 429 things on the list as of 2017; Not ONE is from the USA

not big macs, not rock 'n' roll; not even Hopi kivas and Kachinas... Not Even Rap music!

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Wannabe hippy chicks into reggae were less insufferable than wannabe hippy chicks into the Grateful Dead.

Mark said...

Anti Islam hate in the very first post. That's like a grand slam for Althouse trying to provoke her racist commenters.

Anti-Islam hate must really bring in Amazon revenue for her. Why else so deliberately cultivate it?

Molly said...

I'd like to add some intangible cultural traditions from Wisconsin: outdoor toilets in place of indoor plumbing; milking cows by hand; picking potatoes by hand. Any volunteers?

My more serious point is that economic progress is a natural enemy of "cultural traditions" and some (UNESCO?) want to sentence certain populations with "cool" cultural traditions to lives of relative poverty, so that when we rich people travel to visit, we'll have some photogenic (or audio) experiences to record and bring home to brag about with our friends and family.

rhhardin said...

Traditions are always a choice and an imposition both.

If the choice is taken out, it's no longer a tradition.

David Begley said...

How could I forget? Husking corn by hand.

RK said...

"Not ONE is from the USA"

One thing from Ireland. Otherwise, nothing else from the white Anglosphere.

Henry said...

The list is a perfect list for aspiring Documentarian filmmakers.

Documentarian filmmakers will be on next century's list.

But still, it's a good list. Almost all the most interesting things I read are about intangible culture of some kind.

Jupiter said...

We really need to stop funding this shit.

rhhardin said...

Cultural insensitivity is an American tradition.

gilbar said...

hey Mark?
Other than YOU, who mentioned Islam?

Is there something in YOU (or something in Islam) that makes you ASSUME that if someone mentions Gang Raping Infidels, that they are talking about Islam?

Otto said...

Can someone please explain what" the intangible cultural heritage of humanity"is.

rhhardin said...

Unesco, from -esco, Latin suffix for adjectives to make verbs, become (adj). I suppose become one would be the translation.

Shouting Thomas said...

Can someone please explain what" the intangible cultural heritage of humanity"is.

My guess would be posh foundation jobs for nice white ladies with liberal arts degrees from prestigious colleges.

rhhardin said...

The problem with Islam is that it's unamerican. Everybody seems agree that shiria law is the way to go, even the non-terrorists. Death for drawing the prophet instead of do what you want. A tradition whose tradition is killing other traditions.

RK said...

Not only is there nothing from the white Anglosphere, but the cultures of their indigenous populations are ignored as well. How about Maori tattooing or the didgeridoo from Australia?

Roger Sweeny said...

rhardin,

UNESCO is an acronym for United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization.

Kevin said...

How are deep frying turkeys on Thanksgiving and driving monster trucks through deep troughs of mud not on the list?

RK said...

Three things on the list that are in no danger of dying: yoga, Argentine tango, and "Beer culture of Belgium". Well, I guess the last one would be in danger if islamists took over Belgium.

EDH said...

"...the manufacture of cowbells (in Portugal)..."

Obviously, The Bruce Dickinson sits on the UNESCO Cultural Committee.

William said...

Why does reggae rate higher than ragtime or Dixieland jazz? I'm glad to see modern jazz, pubic hair, and rap are not protected.

stevew said...

The more things you put on the list the less notable and valuable are the individual items.

RK said...

Hmm, I don't see female genital mutilation on the list.

Fernandistein said...

It's so cute when primitives tell their simple tales, sing their simple songs, jump around wearing their funny hats and perhaps even make some adorable little trinkets, like artisanal AA batteries.

rhhardin said...

The radiant past has made brilliant promises to the future: it will keep them. To scrape together my sentences I needs must employ the natural method, regressing to the savages so they may give me lessons. Simple and majestic gentlemen, their gracious mouths ennoble all that flows from their tattooed lips.

- Lautreamont

wildswan said...

Why isn't eating cotton candy at the county fair and riding on the ferris wheel age five on the list? And what about cowtipping? - you want intangible, that's intangible.

Ralph L said...

Reggae is one with Nineveh and Tired.

gspencer said...

"I'd never noticed the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list"

You were better off for not knowing.

Known Unknown said...

Althouse posted this so people could complain about it even though it's meaningless and no one really knows about it.

Dave Duffy said...

"the programme aims to draw attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage"

From the list
Member State: Mexico
Element: Traditional Mexican cuisine

We need a UNESCO program to safeguarding tacos? How much taxpayer money is paid to these friggin' idiots to sit around and think up this stuff?

gilbar said...

Dave Duffy said ...
How much taxpayer money is paid to these friggin' idiots to sit around and think up this stuff?

and There you Hit It. This isn't about safeguarding tacos, or cowbells, or gang raping infidels: This is about safeguarding the salaries of these friggin' idiots who sit around.

like most (all?) left wing ideas, the True Beneficiaries are the Administrators.

gilbar said...

Mark? Mark? I asked you a question?

Is there something in YOU (or something in Islam) that makes you ASSUME that if someone mentions Gang Raping Infidels, that they are talking about Islam?

Fernandistein said...

Sicilian Puppet Theatre[sic]

The old "Punch a Guido" routine, beloved by blood-thirsty children the world over?

It's intangible in the hippocampus.

Leland said...

UNESCO's World Heritage site is a bit broad. It mentions the Pyramids and Taj Mahal, but also include Blaenavon, Wales, known for its landscape created from the mining of iron and coal (otherwise known as, let's make this a heritage site to prevent any more mining of iron and coal). Also World Heritage sites already have a cultural component.

Rory said...

How about the little hand wave after someone lets you cut in front of them? Is that ours?

Fernandistein said...

We need a UNESCO program to safeguarding tacos?

If you end up getting an intangible taco you should climb over the counter and attack the cashier, which act itself is Cultural Heritage though perhaps not in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

That'll learn 'em about intangible.

Fernandistein said...

How about the little hand wave after someone lets you cut in front of them? Is that ours?

It is if you're waving a gun.

And what about trailer courts, dwelling place of more marginalized groups than you can shake a stick at? Or are trailer courts Canadian, and therefore not actually cultural?

Ice Nine said...

Yeah, I know, politically-motivated lists, violin music, etc....but that camel thing was lovely.

Ann Althouse said...

When do we get to edit out every tradition that is sexist, racist, or homophobic?

Dave Duffy said...

I was trying to think of cultural practices from my youth that I never hear about anymore: matchbook collecting, homemade bomb shelters, hula hoops... A quick search and they are all going strong.

Matchbook collectors even have an annual convention. As far as I can tell, without U.N. support. Do businesses advertise on matchbooks anymore?

Ann Althouse said...

Frankly, that camel ritual expressed patriarchy.

gilbar said...

Dave Duffy said..Do businesses advertise on matchbooks anymore?

yes! yes of course they do. Bars do at least
Match books are FAR better than napkins for writing phone#s on.

Dave Duffy said...

"When do we get to edit out every tradition that is sexist, racist, or homophobic?"

Just as soon as we invent that mind-reading machine so we know exactly what is motivating someone. I would say that should come along any day now.

Darrell said...

Frankly, that camel ritual expressed patriarchy.

Send your camel to bed.

gilbar said...

Dave Duffy said...Just as soon as we invent that mind-reading machine so we know exactly what is motivating someone. I would say that should come along any day now.

It's really quite simple. During the 2 minute's Hate; look for two groups of people
Those not participating very much
Those participating too much
Take those people and send them to Room 101.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...


“It's so cute when primitives tell their simple tales, sing their simple songs, jump around wearing their funny hats and perhaps even make some adorable little trinkets, like artisanal AA batteries.”

Really. The first thing that struck me was Wealthy White Bureaucracies Creating Cool Jobs With Lots of World Travel and Sweet Expense Accounts. This shit couldn’t be more transparent.

Dave Duffy said...

"Match books are FAR better than napkins for writing phone#s on."

Now there's a cultural practice worth preserving. The UN needs to put that on the list just above tug of war in Cambodia (it's on the list).

I think I'll go get a matchbook and next time one of my vendors gives me a number, rather than punching it into my phone, I will pull out my matchbook and write it on the inside cover (I've been married 30 years so I don't pick up chicks anymore). I'm looking forward to the reaction.

tim maguire said...

Known Unknown said...Althouse posted this so people could complain about it even though it's meaningless and no one really knows about it.

It ain’t free, ya know. We get to complain about it because we’re paying for it.

Fernandistein said...

Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, USA style.

Rabel said...

The US stopped funding UNESCO in 2011 due to Congressional action.

Trump pulled us out of UNESCO entirely in 2017.

Winning.

ALP said...

I think Christopher Walken should announce the cowbell being added to the list. MORE COWBELL!

Tom T. said...

If they get reggae, I get to put Miley Cyrus on the list too.

dustbunny said...

We’ve been traveling for over a week and arrived yesterday in Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit the temples of Angkor Wat. Now that I’m here and preparing to spend the day in the complex, I just want to go back to sleep.

Mark said...

Gilbar, your use of the word infidels (and your history) made it clear what you were talking about.

What a joke.