Polynesian Pop culture trumps the real thing

Target tikisTarget TikiTarget has a line of outdoor and garden stuff this year called “Mai Tiki.” I’m sure Wayne Coombs is furious! Thay sell a couple of styles of 3 foot plastic tikis for your yard.

Big Lots Big Lots has a new line of tiki stuff including these plastic statues which draw their images from Disney design, plus they have plastic cups that copy the classic Leilani mug seen in this picture.

It seems the people who design the new items are not looking to Polynesian cultures for their inspiration as much as they are looking at old tiki mugs and vintage bastardized Polynesian Pop culture.

So, it was very fitting to see in the news that United Airlines will begin serving Trader Vic’s food and, most importantly, Mai Tai’s, on their flights to Hawaii.

There is plenty of room to complain about true Polynesian culture being usurped by Americanized Polynesian culture. But I am glad to see vintage Poly Pop being promoted and 1950’s and 1960’s Hawaiian icons coming back in style, rather than the very bland American culture that washed away the traces of uniqueness that used to define Hawaii. At least bastardized Polyneisan culture has some roots in the original.

Now if they will just get the Coco Palms back open as it was when Elvis was filming there…

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