I agree with all of this except I'm not sure about the last part; I guess it depends what you even mean by "separate," all this is weirdly conceptual, but to me, off the cuff, it feels like you can say someone borrowed from whatever was most interesting at a given moment, and also that what's culturally interesting is often put out by somewhat marginalized people, so that the practice of "borrowing from whatever's interesting" gets you into "appropriating from the marginalized" land only because of the correlation between interestingness and marginalizationthis is related to that thread on erisology isn't it
well I said upthread you can't blame Bowie (or whoever) for passively benefiting from structural inequality
but equally you can't pretend their cultural production exists separate from that
it's both simple - in a cui bono way - and complicated in that there's no hard boundary separating influence from exploitation
at that point it's worth asking: what's the alternative? not borrow from interestingness? do more to advocate for the marginalized, i.e. give them credit? from this notion of "respectful" borrowing it feels a bit like an analogy of the stance that the only non-racist position is anti-racism, maybe that's putting words in your mouth. it seems reasonable to say bowie could've been more decent and generous with handing out credit in light of the fact that society maybe wasn't paying its fair due to the marginalized innovators. but still this seems to be getting away from the music. I guess the real dispute is that I don't quite buy into this idea that the formal position of a cultural product "cannot," inherently, be separated from the the politics or ethics of its creation. I understand that the formal positioning has a great deal to do with the social positioning. but I think you can reasonably treat one without the other; I mean, discussions need boundaries somewhere, there has to be scope; everything might be connected, but you can't talk about everything without talking about nothing at all.