Friday, March 13, 2009

Quoting a Favorite Scholar

I think the Saturday Night Live skit, Hawaiian Hotel, was brilliant!

Contrary to the saccharine sweet tourist ads about Hawai'i, many Hawaiians are not exactly enthused about the tourist industry.

To quote one of my favorite scholars, Haunani-Kay Trask, I offer you this gem from her book From A Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i,
In Hawai'i, the destruction of our land and the prostitution of our culture is planned and executed by multinational corporations (both foreign-based and Hawai'i-based), by huge landowners (such as the missionary-descended Castle & Cook of Dole Pineapple fame), and by collaborationist state and county governments. The ideological gloss that claims tourism to be our economic savior and the "natural" result of Hawaiian culture is manufactured by ad agencies (such as the state-supported Hawai'i Visitors Bureau) and tour companies (many of which are owned by the airlines) and spewed out to the public through complicitous cultural engines such as film, television and radio, and the daily newspaper. As for the local labor unions, both rank and file and management clamor for more tourists, while the construction industry lobbies incessantly for larger resorts....

My use of the word tourism in the Hawai'i context refers to a mass-based, corporately controlle dindustry that is both vertically and horizontally integrated such that one multinational corporation owns an airline and the tour buses that transport tourists to the corporation-owned hotel where they eat in a corporation-owned restaurant, play golf, and "experience" Hawai'i on corporation-owned recreation areas and eventually consider buying a second home built on corporation land. Profits, in this case, are mostly repatriated back to the home country. In Hawai'i, these "home" countries are Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, and the United States. In this sense, Hawai'i is very much like a Third World colony where the local elite - the Democratic Party in our state - collaborate in the rape of Native land and people.

In this book is an entire chapter devoted to tourism, "Lovely Hula Hands": Corporate Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture. It is a powerful chapter that affirms what I contemplate on the daily!

1 comment:

"Love or Perish" - W. H. Auden said...

i never looked at tourism in such a harsh light, even though i too hate tourists (mostly because they spark my road rage)...POWERFUL INDEED!