Forbidden Island, by John Lee/Aurora Select for The Wall Street Journal
We’ve done this time & again… an initial rush at the news that a major publication has written up an article about this nutty tiki craze thing… followed by an immediate let-down that the article was sloppily researched, full of inaccuracies, misses the point, and doesn’t really understand that this isn’t just a tacky, ironic thing to us, that there’s real quality and history here.
But over the past year or two (going back perhaps not-so-coincidentally to about the time that Forbidden Island opened) these articles have been improving, both in the quality of their research, and in the authors’ ability to find a bit of true appreciation; they’ve been coming closer & closer to seeing what we see.
Today, finally, comes the zenith of Polynesian Pop journalism. You can tell right from the title, “Tiki Doesn’t Have to Be Tacky,” that this article isn’t going to be the same old quickie, filler, throwaway article that confuses or even damages the public perception of Tiki.
The impetus for the article is the upcoming annual San Francisco Tiki Crawl, but the article touches on much more than that — aside from giving mention to several Bay Area tiki hotspots, it also explores the very essence of Polynesian Pop. It points out the difference between good tiki and bad tiki (yes! yes! oh, thank you, yes!). The author, Eric Felten, even mentions something I’ve long held to be true — that while yesterday’s PolyPop escapism was about eschewing formality, today’s escapism is more about eschewing informality.
So, thank you Eric Felten, thank you Wall Street Journal, and thank you to anyone and everyone who helped him write this beauty. You’ve done us all a great service, and I’d like to buy you a drink.