PSYTRANCE SCENE IN UPROAR AFTER UNFLATTERING DOCUMENTARY RELEASED
Montreal’s psytrance scene is in an uproar after an unflattering documentary was released over the weekend that portrays the community as privileged and racist.
Raving Colonists was directed by Marshall Louis, a raver turned sociologist who was fed-up with racism is in the psytrance scene. His documentary chronicles the community's long and sordid history of cultural appropriation, a criticism that many psytrance ravers feels is unfair.
“Just because we are overwhelmingly white doesn’t mean we are racially insensitive”, says psytrance promoter John Leblanc. “This documentary is a hatchet job that attacks a community dedicated to peace, love, unity, and respect. It’s like that director went out of his way to piss over nice people.”
Marshall, however, disagrees. “The psytrance community has a long and sordid history of appropriating other people’s cultures, cultures they don’t understand, don’t appreciate, and don’t respect,” says Marshall. “They wear native american headdresses without a clue as to how offensive that is to actual members of that culture. They practice poi fire without respecting or understanding the Māori traditions that gave birth to that practice. They emblazon all their clothing with Om symbols without having any actual understanding of Hinduism or Buddhism. They are culture tourists, and they fail to appreciate how their actions negatively impact the communities that they are copying and borrowing from.”
John insists that cultural appropriation isn’t a big deal. “Look, we live in a post-racial society. Racism doesn’t exist anymore,” says John. “Psytrance is all about universal brotherhood. There’s no such thing as institutional privilege or racial inequality in the eyes of psytrance. It’s okay if we copy historically oppressed cultures and use their symbols and values, because we’re just honouring them. We copy their sacred traditions because it enables us to live lives of decadent, hedonistic excess. I think I speak for all the people who’s cultures we’re allegedly appropriating that it’s alright, since we’re only copying their culture for fun.”