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Tags Aboriginal Culture , didgeridoo , Nicole Kidman

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Old 16th December 2008, 02:45 AM   #1
BillyJoe
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Should Women Play the Didgeridoo?

Nicole Kidman upset aboriginal groups by playing the didgeridoo on a German television program:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/...189533076.html

Quote:
Allen Madden, cultural and educational officer at Sydney's Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, said Kidman ought to know better. "I presume she doesn't know, otherwise she wouldn't be playing it.
Quote:
Richard Green, an award-winning actor, screenwriter and Dharug language teacher, said he was disgusted.
"People are going to see Nicole playing it and think it's all right. It bastardises our culture. I will guarantee she has no more children. It's not meant to be played by women as it will make them barren."
Quote:
Kwini elder Ambrose Mungala Chalarimeri accused Tourism Australia of "telling the rest of the world that it is OK to trample all over our culture".
Perhaps women the world over should play the didgeridoo and prove the lie to this superstition.
Culture? No, I don't think so.

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Old 16th December 2008, 03:35 AM   #2
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As my brother put it, when you see someone walking into a music session carrying a didgeridoo, why is it the words "arse" and "shove" come to mind?
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Old 16th December 2008, 03:37 AM   #3
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I wouldn't support Kidman if she, say, went to the house of someone she knew was offended by women playing didgeridoos and played a didgeridoo at them. That would be rude.

However if someone doesn't like seeing her on TV playing a didgeridoo, they should switch it off and get over it. We've no responsibility to pander to their daft and sexist superstitions.
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Old 16th December 2008, 03:58 AM   #4
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Scazon,
You cultural chauvinist!

Kevin,
Quote:
We've no responsibility to pander to their daft and sexist superstitions.
Superstition, yes. But, at this point, I'm unclear as to whether it's sexist. The responses seem to indicate that the authors are concerned for women's fertility if they play the didgeridoo, not that women should not play the didgeridoo because they are women.

BJ
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Old 16th December 2008, 04:03 AM   #5
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Traditional aboriginal culture is misogynous in the extreme. If it takes women playing the didgeridoo to expose this, let it happen.

Unfortunately, we will see Nicole Kidman apologise profusely for this "insult".
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Old 16th December 2008, 04:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Kwini elder Ambrose Mungala Chalarimeri accused Tourism Australia of "telling the rest of the world that it is OK to trample all over our culture".


From Wikipedia:


Quote:
Some Muslims believe that only vocal music is permissible (halal) and that instruments are forbidden (haram). Hence there is a strong tradition of a cappella devotional singing.

Other Muslims will accept drums, but no other instruments.


Presumably these people would be offended by ANYONE playing a didgeridoo.

Will Mr Chalarimeri be advising male didgeridoo players that they risk telling the rest of the world that it is OK to trample all over Islamic culture with their disgusting public perfomances?
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Old 16th December 2008, 04:25 AM   #7
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You know what the stupidest part of this is? In the parts of Australia where aborigines actually played the didgeridoo, WOMEN PLAYED AS WELL. These guys are just boneheaded attention whores who, if it wasn't for the Europeans wouldn't even know what a didgeridoo was since it was never played within 500 miles of Sydney.
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Old 16th December 2008, 04:30 AM   #8
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From wikipedia:
Quote:
Cultural significance

The didgeridoo is sometimes played as a solo instrument for recreational purposes, though more usually it accompanies dancing and singing in ceremonial rituals. For Aboriginal groups of northern Australia, the didgeridoo is an integral part of ceremonial life, as it accompanies singers and dancers in religious rituals. Pair sticks, sometimes called clapsticks or bilma, establish the beat for the songs during ceremonies. The rhythm of the didgeridoo and the beat of the clapsticks are precise, and these patterns have been handed down for many generations. Only men play the didgeridoo and sing during ceremonial occasions, whilst both men and women may dance. The taboo against women playing the instrument is not absolute; female Aboriginal didgeridoo players did exist, although their playing generally took place in an informal context and was not specifically encouraged. Linda Barwick, an ethnomusicologist, says that traditionally women have not played the didgeridoo in ceremony, but in informal situations there is no prohibition in the Dreaming Law.[6] On September 3 2008, however, publisher Harper Collins was obliged to issue a public apology for its book "The Daring Book for Girls", scheduled to be published in October, which openly encouraged girls to play the instrument. [7] Some sources state that the didgeridoo had other uses in ancient times.

There are sacred and even secret versions of the didgeridoo in Aboriginal communities in parts of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, and the surrounding areas. These sorts of instruments have specific names and functions and some of these are played like typical didgeridoos whereas others are not
The only restriction on Women playing was in traditional ceremonies. Other than that they are allowed to, it's just not encouraged..
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Old 16th December 2008, 04:33 AM   #9
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Shades of Hindmarsh Island again, isn't it?
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Old 16th December 2008, 05:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
I wouldn't support Kidman if she, say, went to the house of someone she knew was offended by women playing didgeridoos and played a didgeridoo at them. That would be rude.

However if someone doesn't like seeing her on TV playing a didgeridoo, they should switch it off and get over it. We've no responsibility to pander to their daft and sexist superstitions.
Nicely put.
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Old 16th December 2008, 06:50 AM   #11
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Nicole Kidman didn't really play the didgeridoo, she couldn't play a single note.
She was pushed to try it by the german Showmaster (Gottschalk) because she and Hugh Jackman lost a bet during the game show.
Jackman had to jump on one leg while Kidman tried to play the didgeridoo.
Btw the showmaster also lost his bet and had to stand in front of a target board while a 70 year old artist was throwing 7 or 8 knifes.

Last edited by gambling_cruiser; 16th December 2008 at 06:52 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 16th December 2008, 07:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gambling_cruiser View Post
Nicole Kidman didn't really play the didgeridoo, she couldn't play a single note.
She was pushed to try it by the german Showmaster (Gottschalk) because she and Hugh Jackman lost a bet during the game show.
Jackman had to jump on one leg while Kidman tried to play the didgeridoo.
Btw the showmaster also lost his bet and had to stand in front of a target board while a 70 year old artist was throwing 7 or 8 knifes.

That show sounds better than anything I've seen on TV here for years.
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Old 16th December 2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
Nicole Kidman upset aboriginal groups by playing the didgeridoo on a German television program:
How do aborigines get German TV?
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Old 16th December 2008, 07:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Akhenaten View Post
That show sounds better than anything I've seen on TV here for years.
"Wetten dass....?" ("I bet you ...") is good entertainment.

You have people proposing a "bet", i.e. they claim they can do something unusual. (Recognize all their vinyl records by looking at the grooves, opening x bottles of Champaign in so many minutes with a sabre, tearing apart telephonebooks, etc.)

The guests of the show (Kidman, e.g.) are assigned to one of these tasks and must place a bet, i.e. say if it will be done or not. If they lose, they must "pay" - usually by doing some silly performance often for charity.

Also, the audience gets to challenge the showmaster. He and the team usually have whatever time the show lasts (always longer than scheduled, it's famous for that!) to do or achieve something.
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
Should Women Play the Didgeridoo?

Call me old-fashioned, but no! (I also think women should be made to ride skidoos sidesaddle. Otherwise, they will never have husbands.)
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Last edited by blobru; 16th December 2008 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:27 AM   #16
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I wonder what makes something an official didgeridoo? If I fashioned one myself out of some bamboo or PVC or something would that make it still a didgeridoo? Or even if I made it out of what they traditionally make them out of, would it be one? Suppose Nicole played an instrument that merely looked and sounded like one, but wasn't officially one, would that count?
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Old 16th December 2008, 10:11 AM   #17
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It seems that perhaps the Abiriginal men are afraid of the standard that the didgeridoo may set. I mean, after blowing on an 7 foot pipe, an 7 inch pipe seems quaint.
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Old 16th December 2008, 10:25 AM   #18
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Seems to me that, if a woman wants to get pregnant, she's going to have to play with at least one didgeridoo.
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Old 16th December 2008, 11:23 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by screensnot View Post
Seems to me that, if a woman wants to get pregnant, she's going to have to play with at least one didgeridoo.
Being male I would happily offer to assist in a scientific test series, properly double blinded and all!

We need to have women who have sex with men who play the didgeridoo, others who only have sex with men who don't play the didgeridoo and then some who abstain from sex and only play the disdgeridoo. We'll then check at which rate they all become pregnant ...

I wonder if we can devise placebos for both having sex and playing the digeridoo...
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Old 16th December 2008, 11:34 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
I wonder if we can devise placebos for both having sex and playing the digeridoo...
I believe they are called 'marital aids'.
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Old 16th December 2008, 11:54 AM   #21
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ISTR the old rock group, "Didgeridoo and the Don'ts".
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Old 16th December 2008, 12:00 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
I wouldn't support Kidman if she, say, went to the house of someone she knew was offended by women playing didgeridoos and played a didgeridoo at them. That would be rude.

However if someone doesn't like seeing her on TV playing a didgeridoo, they should switch it off and get over it. We've no responsibility to pander to their daft and sexist superstitions.

Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Nicely put.
.
Back in the olden days, at a desert testing site, some of the hootches had 24-hour dirty movies on a UHF channel.
One had to select UHF instead of VHF and select the channel with the porn to see it.
A couple of fundies went to the Base Commander and complained about the porn.
He had them moved to a hootch without that selection option.
Later, with a new Base Commander, the fundies tried again, and the BC knuckled under and closed down the porn channel, apparently not being intellieent enough to tell these guys to stop looking for it!
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Old 16th December 2008, 12:02 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by triadboy View Post
How do aborigines get German TV?
.
It's the same knee-jerkers that complain about movies showing Jeebus as human, without having seen the movie, just relying on their bible-thumping pastor to tell them how to bleat.
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Old 16th December 2008, 12:13 PM   #24
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The correct response to this is "we are offended that they are offended".

In some societies we have fought for and won certain freedoms. One of them is that our women can freely play Didgeridoos. I don't see why we should respect the Aboriginals' sentiments more than they should respect ours.
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Old 16th December 2008, 12:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by BillyJoe View Post
Kevin,
Superstition, yes. But, at this point, I'm unclear as to whether it's sexist. The responses seem to indicate that the authors are concerned for women's fertility if they play the didgeridoo, not that women should not play the didgeridoo because they are women.

BJ
Yes, and many muslims will argue that they require women to wear burqas to "protect" them from horny men. It's just an excuse to be sexist.
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Old 16th December 2008, 01:58 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by billydkid View Post
I wonder what makes something an official didgeridoo? If I fashioned one myself out of some bamboo or PVC or something would that make it still a didgeridoo? Or even if I made it out of what they traditionally make them out of, would it be one? Suppose Nicole played an instrument that merely looked and sounded like one, but wasn't officially one, would that count?
I have 2 of them.

I believe to be "authentic" it needs to be 1) wood 2) from a termite infested tree and 3) hollowed out by the termites themselves. You can easily check this by simply looking inside the 'doo -- if it looks like termites ate it out, it is probably authetic.

The didg is one of the greatest instruments around. I urge all women to start playing them.

They are also very useful for bothering your pet dog if you have one.
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Old 16th December 2008, 02:00 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
The correct response to this is "we are offended that they are offended".

In some societies we have fought for and won certain freedoms. One of them is that our women can freely play Didgeridoos. I don't see why we should respect the Aboriginals' sentiments more than they should respect ours.
If an aboriginal told me that my wife was forbidden to play my didges, I would hit him with them. They are quite heavy, and make very good blunt melee weapons.
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Old 16th December 2008, 02:07 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
You know what the stupidest part of this is? In the parts of Australia where aborigines actually played the didgeridoo, WOMEN PLAYED AS WELL.
Damn. Beat me to it.

I said as much in the other thread on this topic - Aboriginal culture is not a homogenous mass where all tribes practice the same traditions. Up in Arnhem land, most of the tribes that involve didgeridoo playing also believe it is 'men's business'. If a woman encroaches on men's business, she will face severe punishments, of which infertility might be one (depending on the group). Likewise, there are practices and places which are considered female-only, or 'women's business', and men would suffer equally for having anything to do with that.

Such practices vary all over the country. There are some cultures that don't hold to those traditions, where it's acceptable for a woman to play a didgeridoo (or rather, it isn't strictly men's business). Some have even relaxed that aspect of their tradition.

We have a distinct misperception in this country of there being 'Aboriginal Australia' as a single, unified body. Hell, the representatives in councils can hardly ever agree. The real problem is that it only takes one loud-mouth elder who can't be shut-up because of his respected standing who embarrasses everybody else.

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Old 16th December 2008, 02:21 PM   #29
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Inflicting "infertiliy" as a punishment... just how does do that?
Not do the nasty with her?
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Old 16th December 2008, 02:31 PM   #30
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I think it would be fair enough to explain the context where a didgeridoo was traditionally used, but attaching this superstition about physical harm to a woman using one or even just touching one is daft and I have no sympathy with that.

The fuss about the taboo also came up earlier in the year:

Quote:
An Aboriginal academic has accused publisher Harper Collins of gross cultural insensitivity over a new book which includes didgeridoo lessons for girls.

The publishing house is preparing to release an Australian version of an American book called The Daring Book for Girls.

"We present stories and projects galore, drawn from the vastness of history, the wealth of girl knowledge, the breath of sport and the great outdoors," an excerpt of the book reads.

But the general manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, Dr Mark Rose, says the publishers have committed a major faux pas by including a didgeridoo lesson for girls.

Dr Rose says the didgeridoo is a man's instrument and touching it could make girls infertile, and has called for the book to be pulped.

"I would say from an Indigenous perspective, an extreme mistake, but part of a general ignorance that mainstream Australia has about Aboriginal culture," he said.

"We know very clearly that there is a range of consequences for females touching a didgeridoo, it's men's business, and in the girls book, instructions on how to use it, for us it is an extreme cultural indiscretion."

Dr Rose says the consequences for a girl touching a didgeridoo can be quite extreme.

"It would vary in the places where it is, infertility would be the start of it ranging to other consequences," he said.

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Old 16th December 2008, 06:28 PM   #31
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Didgeridoo, didgeridoo, didgeridoo. This is just about to become my favoriest word ever! I had met it before, but it gets better with some controversy, right...
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Old 16th December 2008, 07:27 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
You know what the stupidest part of this is? In the parts of Australia where aborigines actually played the didgeridoo, WOMEN PLAYED AS WELL. These guys are just boneheaded attention whores who, if it wasn't for the Europeans wouldn't even know what a didgeridoo was since it was never played within 500 miles of Sydney.
Which is one of the points in Sydney's favour.
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Old 16th December 2008, 07:34 PM   #33
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"..general manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, Dr Mark Rose, ".
One might expect the quality of education beyond mere hunting and gathering in this guy's area of influence might be minimal.
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Old 16th December 2008, 08:14 PM   #34
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Dr Rose's bio is here:

Quote:
As an academic at RMIT University's Portfolio of Business, Mark teaches predominantly in postgraduate programs in Australia as well as Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. He has four academic degrees including a PhD, which is centred on issues of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander management education.
Some more on the alleged taboo:

Quote:
This aims to clarify some misunderstandings of the role of Didjeridoo in traditional Aboriginal culture, in particular the popular conception that it is taboo for women to play or even touch a Didgeridoo.

While it is true that in the traditional didgeridoo accompanied genres of Northern Australia, (e.g. Wangga and Bunggurl) women do not play in public ceremony, in these areas there appears to be few restrictions on women playing in an informal capacity. The area in which there are the strictest restrictions on women playing and touching the Didgeridoo appears to be in the south east of Australia, where in fact Didgeridoo has only recently been introduced. I believe that the international dissemination of the "taboo" results from it's compatibility with the commercial agendas of New Age niche marketing.

My understanding of Aboriginal culture in Australia has been formed as an academic ethnomusicologist, through acquaintance with the ethnomusicological and anthropological literature as well as through personal contact, during classes and fieldwork, with the Aboriginal people in a number of communities in South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

It is true that traditionally women have not played the Didgeridoo in ceremony. However let us review the evidence for Aboriginal women playing Didgeridoo in informal situations. In discussions with women in the Belyuen community near Darwin in 1995. I was told that there was no prohibition on women playing and in fact several of the older women mentioned a women in the Daly River area who used to play the Didgeridoo.

In a discussion with men from Groote Eylandt, Numbulwar and Gunbalanya it was agreed that there was no explicit Dreaming Law that women should not play Didgeridoo, it was more that women did not know how to. From Yirrkala, there are reports that while both boys and girls as young children play with toy instruments, within a few years, girls stop playing the instrument in public. There are reports that women engage in preparation of Didgeridoos for sale to tourists also playing instruments to test their useability. Reports of women playing the Didgeridoo are especially common in the Kimberley and Gulf regions the Westerly and Easterly extremes of it's distribution in traditional music. The Didgeridoo has only begun to be played in these areas this century where it accompanies genres originally deriving from Arnhem Land (Bunggurl) or the Daly region (Wangga, Lirrga and Gunborrg)

The clamour of conflicting voices about the use of Didgeridoo by women and by outsiders has drawn attention to the potential for international exploitation and appropriation of traditional music and other Aboriginal cultural property. In addition, the debate has drawn to international attention the fact that there are levels of the sacred and the secret in traditional Aboriginal beliefs, many of them restricted according to gender. Perhaps the Didgeridoo in this case is functioning as a false front, standing in for other truly sacred and restricted according to Aboriginal ceremonial life that it can not be named in public. In this way, the spiritualising of the Didgeridoo not only panders to the commercial New Age niche, but also serves as a means of warning non-Aboriginal people to be wary of inquiring too closely into sacred matters.

Link
Interesting that the taboo is strongest where the didgeridoo was not traditionally played but has been fairly recently introduced. I note that Dr Rose is from western Victoria.

Last edited by Magenta; 16th December 2008 at 08:32 PM. Reason: added 2nd link
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Old 16th December 2008, 08:30 PM   #35
Kevin_Lowe
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It occurs to me that if didgeridoo-playing did indeed function as an effective contraceptive (or means of sterilisation) this would in fact be enormously useful.

We could have mandatory didgeridoo-playing sessions in high school to cut down on unwanted teen pregnancies, women who react badly to The Pill could buy a didgeridoo instead, and potentially dangerous hysterectomies could be replaced by intensive didgeridoo camps. Possibly on sacred sites, just to make extra-sure that the women involved become barren.
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Old 16th December 2008, 08:32 PM   #36
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Bloody awfull sounding things, My advise... Male or Female...didgeridont
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Old 16th December 2008, 08:38 PM   #37
Marquis de Carabas
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Should Women Play the Didgeridoo?

Depends. Are the dishes put away?
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Old 16th December 2008, 08:53 PM   #38
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A gentleman is one who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't.

I'm sure there's a similar sentiment about women and didgeridoos.
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:06 PM   #39
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Should women play the didgeridoo?

Well, I guess. Assuming they can play with themselves...

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Old 17th December 2008, 08:22 AM   #40
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Should women play the didgeridoo?

Originally Posted by Marquis de Carabas View Post
Depends. Are the dishes put away?



>>Should women play the didgeridoo?

Yes, playing the Didgeridoo is the other thing I can think of that will shut her up for three minutes.

Last edited by triadboy; 17th December 2008 at 08:26 AM.
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