In this issue, we delve into stories that hold sacred meaning to Hawai‘i, broaching subject matter that may be considered forbidden.
Editor’s Letter: Derived from the Tongan word tabu or tapu and the Hawaiian kapu, “taboo” is deeply rooted in Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. On one hand, it refers to the idea of something being forbidden because it is sacred, to be held in high respect and esteem; on the other, it refers to something being forbidden because it is abhorrent, looked down upon by all members of society. There is such an idea as universal taboo, acts which are so vile you would think everyone to be opposed (i.e. murder, incest, cannibalism, rape), but culture – and human nature – dictates differently.
We are not endorsing or condoning any of the ideas put forth in this issue, but simply presenting topics that are weaved into our cultural heritage. Regardless of whether or not you agree with these practices, these are the experiences that have and will continue to infuse our everyday, some new (as in the case of graffiti’s resurgence as a tool for social change), some old (as in cock fighting’s plantation era history) and some really old (as in ancestral and genealogical kapu dating back to the days of Kamehameha).
The cover for this issue bears no images, and it was deliberately done so, because for most, taboo is relative. We will not find common ground with 100 percent of the people, 100 percent of the time. We will disagree. One person’s act of beautification may be another’s desecration; a lifestyle choice made by one may completely disagree with that of another. Still we must find ways to respect and care for one another. Because that is the only certainly, and one that’s truly Hawaiian.
Pakalolo Purveyors Growing and selling marijuana is lucrative business, but is it worth the risk? Jade Eckardt takes an inside look at Hawai‘i’s illegal cannibis market, and how it has been affected by the legalization of medical marijuana and the ever-changing drug market.
Homegrown Contemporary: Artist Keith Tallett Growing up in Hilo, making art wasn’t a part of Tallett’s life. In fact, the idea of being an artist didn’t occur to him until college, in Los Angeles, where he took his first painting classes. He realized his experiences in Hilo primed him for life as an artist.
Puttin’ in Work Aloha wear takes its place in the global fashion market. In Hawai‘i, aloha shirts and slippers are as commonplace as spam musubi and shakas. With the rise of “streetwear” over the last 20 years, traditional, even conservative, labels are collaborating with urban brands like Stussy, Supreme, Converse and Vans.
Pacifica Incognito Living in Hawai‘i, we think of ourselves as being well-connected to our Pacific Rim neighbors. At least half of us have family roots in Pacific islands or Asia yet.