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  1. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    What is your culture?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Hubardo, Jun 29, 2015.

    From the internet:

    A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
    In college I majored in Cultural Anthropology and for much of that time I thought of others as having a culture, not me. People in tribes in rainforests were cultural. Native Americans, a thousand years ago, had cultures. Parisians who drank wine and ate cheese and looked at art had some kind of culture. But not me, I was just... me. An individual. A normal guy.

    Then I traveled a bit and realized that others had certain perceptions of me as an Other. In non-Californian states, I was the Californian. This meant that I was more likely to be gay, liberal, not like guns, not eat meat, and so on. In Europe, I was an American. In China, I became white and Western. I was even hairy there! People stared at my arm hair and apparently on the train, people used some kind of term meaning "beast"!

    This process of realizing that in somebody's eyes, you're an outsider, can be really eye opening. If you haven't had this experience, you might think that your religion, your atheism, your language, your traditions, your politics, the way you communicate, what body language you use, the food you eat -- ETC -- are "normal."

    One interesting thing about all of us right here, right now, is that we're using the internet. Not everyone on Earth uses the internet. Most of us who will post here spend a lot of time online. We sit in front of a piece of plastic and metal, we click buttons with our fingers, and we send packets of data into satellites that that get delivered to other machines. This is part of a culture we are a part of. It's hard to see it when you're so up close.

    So zoom out a bit... what is your culture? If it's difficult, think about other cultures and think about what makes them "cultural." What makes them "different?" Think then about what makes your "norms" normal. Where did you learn what you do? How do you "know" what you "know"? And how is it that you came to believe what you believe? And, if you were told growing up to do and think and believe certain things and you rejected all of that, did you learn to reject those things from somewhere? Was it easier for you to reject those things because of a culture you had access to?

    I'll answer these questions for myself in a bit but I have to head to work!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  2. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    I really like this. It's a very interesting question to think about!

    Besides all the trappings that come with being a liberal middle-class white American living in a metropolitan area, I'm from Florida. Even where I live, that's kind of weird because everyone here is from somewhere. It's one of the first questions you ask when meeting someone -- "Where are you from?" -- because most people who live here have moved to the area from elsewhere. It's somewhat rare to be born and raised in this area.

    Cold-weather clothing is a novelty. I have a couple jackets and boots and things that are cute, but if I were to ever go to a snowy place I would be completely unprepared. Cold just isn't a part of my life. In the winter it will get down into the 30s on the occasional very cold night, and it's like the world is ending. If I can't comfortably walk out onto my back porch naked, it's too cold. I'm used to being able to grill outside and go to outdoor activities all year round. Seasons? What are those?

    Because of our popularity with retirees, the average age of the population here is significantly older than the rest of the country (last I checked it was around 55). Whenever I visit other cities, I'm always surprised by how young everyone is. Most of the people I see in public every day are quite a bit older than I am.

    Within my city, there's a bit of a divide between the beach dwellers and the city dwellers (I've done both, though I currently reside in the downtown area). The beach is its own standalone community, and the people who live there don't venture off the islands if they can help it. There's kind of a love-hate relationship between locals and tourists. On one hand we love them because they single-handedly keep our economy afloat. On the other, it's really hard to get to work when traffic is clogged with out-of-state license plates bound for the beaches or theme parks, and that makes it tough to always maintain a friendly demeanor toward them.

    Hurricane season is a yearly thing we deal with. Summer weather is very unpredictable in general -- it can go from sunny to apocalyptically rainy and back to sunny over the course of an hour. We're also one of the most active areas for lightning activity in the world, and summer can bring some really beautiful lightning displays even when it's not stormy.

    But most importantly, if you go swimming in the Gulf between the months of April and October, you must always, ALWAYS do the stingray shuffle.
     
  3. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I will answer this question in bullet points because I can't even look at paragraphs right now, much less write them:

    1. Southern:
    • Fried chicken
    • BBQ
    • Big ass family
    • Hospitable to the point of being too kind, and unable to say "no"
    • Craft beer
    • Old country like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings (my second cousin, actually)
    • So many restaurants decorated with reclaimed lumber, chairs, etc. to look like barns/shabby chic
    • Football
    • Republican
    • Bigoted without even realizing it
    • One church per block, at least 2 mega churches per city
    • Picnics
    • "Bless your heart" is an insult
    • Guns
    • Homemade pies
    • Bluebell Ice Cream (RIP)
    • Never return borrowed tupperware or pans empty (fill it with something as a thank you)
    • All holidays must be celebrated with gusto
    • Women should be blonde with big hair and boobs
    • Men should wear boots and shoot things
    • Friends are referred to as Darlin', Sugar, Precious
    • Foes are referred to as Hun' or Sweetie
    Anyway, those are some examples of southern cultural norms. I've rejected much of them, but I can't remember everything right now, and a lot of the good stuff I've embraced. Why did I reject some? I think for myself, honestly. I don't think that everything has to do with culture in one form or another; sometimes people are just able to see different sides of things and come to their own conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And when you do need cold weather stuff, thrift stores are a great venue because the coats and jackets are in remarkably nice condition, only ever having been used the once on someone else's past vacation up north. ;)

    <-- Melbourne Beach (before jumping over to the Caribbean) ;)
     
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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm military

    I was born into a world of uniforms and ranks and rates of pay. I don't think it will ever leave me. I was raised on military bases, oasis of a completely separate culture, even within the U.S., and of course overseas. Everywhere I go, I know that I tend to think of the people as they, never really us. I have an accent that belongs nowhere, but if you spend time on a military base, you'll hear it all day long. It's been explained to me that the U.K. also has an "army accent". But that's how I see myself, that's my emic answer. I think an outsider would see someone probably quiet different, an "etic me". I'm sure they would see that I'm gay as a huge part of the me-ness of me. And that I'm latino, though that often feels like such a laugh when I find myself floundering amongst other, more "real" latinos. I'm a geek, but not really enough of one to be accepted, I think, into real geek culture. I couldn't tell you what universe a superhero comes from to save my life, and I couldn't be paid to care. But I do know a lot of old-school science fiction novels intimately enough to talk about their meaning and impact on my world view.
     
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  6. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    Yessssss. Macklemore, eat your heart out.
     
  7. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    American, Californian, born in San Francisco. Typically leftist views you'd expect of someone growing up near SF.

    Grew up in a section-8 housing project (poor people) with a single-mom. We were one of 3-4 white families out of a couple hundred families. Most were black folks who used to live in warzones like East Palo Alto or gang-infested parts of Oakland. Lots of Latino immigrants, and immigrants from other places. My best friend's parents immigrated from Iran. He and I came together over video games. Later, poverty culture would suck us into doing and dealing drugs, in middle school. It was expected of us to act tough, sag our pants, listen to Gangsta Rap, speak about women and LGBT people as if they were subhuman. There was a guy culture I felt pressured to take part in, which I did, but never liked. I found ways in and out of it throughout my life but will still burp, fart, interrupt people and sit with my limbs taking up 3 spaces on a bus because sometimes you do shit because you can. (Exaggerating for effect.)

    During summers, when my dad had joint custody of me, I stayed at my grandpa's. He had lots of books. Old ones. Treasure Island sticks out, but I don't remember anything but a guy with a pegged leg, and the pages smelled good. I modeled after my dad, wanting to lay around reading all day, so I did. I was a child, and not super smart, but I sat and stared into open books, maybe reading them, a lot. Book culture? Introvert culture? I wanted to belong to a world where people keep books on shelves, make lemonade, lie in a lazy chair in a backyard and read during summers. Then, play video games. Then watch Star Trek, then go to sleep.

    So there was a split between the middle class and working class cultures in my childhood. I am a product of both.

    The other weird thing is that when you leave the section-8 complex it's silicon valley richville. Race was interesting with that because a black kid wandering into $$$$$$-land might not feel at home because he doesn't see people like him there. Me on the other hand, I could ride my bike through $$$$$-land and somebody would assume I'm just a neighbor. Rich computer programmer dads watering their lawns would wave to me.

    Something that makes me sad is food. My ancestors are mostly Portuguese and English, yet my mom never prepared "traditional" dishes from either culture. She knew no such thing. Urbanization has done this to lots of people, sure. But then my neighbor Margarite would knock on our door wearing this goofy smile, holding a massive plate of tamales or tostadas or tacos -- traditional food she was taught to prepare in Mexico. She hardly knew English. This was her way of saying, hello neighbor, I am friendly, we can be friends, I am a loving person who cooks good food, this is for you, no strings attached. I gobbled the shit up and felt the love. TV dinners have no such love within them; they're gross. Me and my mom ate lots of gross food. White trash food? Can't put my finger on it.

    In a World Agriculture class in college I got sad and mad seeing how the global food system is one way in which traditional cultures are being crushed. There are so many small farmers who are forced to grow some stupid shit they can't even eat, for shit money, sometimes going into massive debts, then have to start living off of shit food like the shit food me and my mom grew up eating.

    Both my parents believe the New King James Bible is the literal word of God. My dad, who was homeless most of my life so he wouldn't have to pay child support payment to my mom (true story), told me Bible stories as a kid. He made sure I understood that they weren't fiction, they were fact. I asked one time if God used magic, like in the Hobbit. He said no, God uses POWER. He has all the power.

    I was able to make an alternative choice when my best friend, who rejected the Koran, picked my brain on Heaven and Hell. He asked me what I thought. We were like 10 years old, playing Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat. He thought the idea was ridiculous, that there is some all-knowing guy who spies on you all the time, who will punish you for not doing the right thing. I was like, then where did the universe come from? He was like, where did god come from? He was a smart kid. I struggled with religion, and the guilt and shame that Christianity often instills in children, until 9th grade. When we really dug into the science behind evolution, I told my parents that if the old testament is true, my teachers are lying. My parents said, they're not lying, they're just misguided.

    Over time it seemed like my teachers were reasonable, calm, and would actually sit and explain things. They were open to questions about things. It was exciting to ask questions, to use science and critical thinking! My parents on the other hand were like "you don't ask questions about THAT special thing" which just seemed dismissive.

    There's a lot more I wanna get into but don't wanna hog the damn thread so... maybe later...
     
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  8. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    "So zoom out a bit... what is your culture?" An interesting question :)

    I'm English
    Always knowing the score in the Cricket matches between Australia and England. I'm not into sports but if I were, the last one I'd pick would be cricket...
    Starched linen napkins. Some of my family are 'linen' people but I hate ironing. Paper napkins suit me fine.
    National Trust. Okay yes, I love heritage sites. Count me in on this one.
    Wimbledon The summers of my youth have this in the background (mum yelling at Tim Henman, mostly), but I'm not interested
    Strawberries and cream Not fussed on strawberries - they ruin a good portion of cream
    Cucumber sandwiches Who the heck would eat that?
    Witty I lean more towards sarcastic. Which other cultures might find witty, I suppose.
    Courteous - Yes, I have been raised to be as polite as possible. I defer where I would much rather assert. We are quite a passive aggressive nation :p
    Fish ‘n’ Chips - A staple in my household growing up
    Cuppa! I really hate tea. I prefer my caffeine in delicious chemical forms (diet coke!)
    Sunday roast - You can't beat a decent roast dinner. Real roast potatoes, beef, yorkshire pudding. If I were on death row, this would be my pick.
    Pub life I'm t-total and crowds make me nauseous. I'd rather hang out at home with people I don't hate.
    The monarchy - I'm not exactly a royalist but I do appreciate the history
    Obsessing about weather. Only about whether it's raining. I love rain.
    Posh accent Too close to Liverpool for that ('scouse' accent which is to be abhorred)

    I'll add the fact that...
    We're loud. We all talk at once, at high speed, and can listen at the same time.
    My sister in law is from London and she still can't really understand any of us when we get together :p
    When we do pudding, we do it on a big scale. If you come for dinner you'll have three options for dessert and yes, you'll be expected to have more than one.
    Our football fans are hooligans. I'm not proud of this, they are morons, but if someone's smashed a bottle while they were abroad - they're bound to live near me.

    I'm Christian:
    A huge label and lots of horrid-ness attached which I could spend years unpicking, but here are
    Hates gays Nope. Who you shag is your business, I don't think it denotes your worth/morality/right to be full members of society
    Hates women I grew up in a very oppressive system but Feminism has restruck a balance in my mind, so nope. Women are equal to, not greater than, the males of the species. Ultimately, we're people and I judge on that rather than genitalia
    Hates atheists/other religions Dogma pisses me off. Believe or don't, what difference does it make to me? We can get along just fine whatever box we tick
    Hates sex Sex was a taboo discussion growing up and me/my church peers were pretty messed up by the warped teaching we received. But we straightened out after becoming old enough to realise how insane our church was (and how non-scripturally-accurately we'd been educated). Sex is awesome, it's a powerful force in all our lives and should be celebrated but also understood and protected. It's a weapon, after all ;)
    Condemns abortion. Actually, condemns. Full stop. I'm pro choice and think we should all have a say over our own bodies/lives/society without religious involvement. What do other people's views on it, have anything to do with my right to make a decision? (And vice verca, obviously)
    Believes you're all going to hell I have a pretty untraditional view on the afterlife and don't think it equates to much more than if you don't believe, you don't participate. No punishment exacted.
    Doesn't swear Sigh, I wish. Far too many fucks are given on a daily basis.
    Doesn't drink/smoke/have fun. Actually, this one is true but it's self inflicted. If I drank I'd be an alcoholic, if I smoked I'd be even poorer than I am, and if I had any more fun it would be criminal.

    Female:
    I like chocolate - accurate
    I have boobs - accurate
    I want babies No spawning for me, thanks. I'll adopt because I think I'd make a decent parent, but ugh. The idea of pregnancy gives me nightmares. (Anyone else seen 'Alien'?)
    I'm a bitch - accurate, but only when it's called for. I have a pretty decent handle on my hormones, I was just born snarky

    Middle child...:
    I'm the poster child for this syndrome ;)

    ...of divorce:
    Daddy didn't love me*, but I realise he's a singular entity and not All Men in general :p
    *This is one of my brother's catchphrases. We've invested a lot of time in making the whole thing darkly hilarious.
     
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  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Likewise I'm from the South. To the rest of the world, I clearly:
    - Love and constantly vote for Republicans. (I don't even vote anymore.)

    - Watch Fox News religiously. (Don't watch TV.)

    - Southern music and cuisine is God, and if you don't agree, you're just a filthy foreigner or a damned, dirty Yankee. (Eh, I've no opinion and I actually like said 'filthy foreigners' and 'damned, dirty yankees'.)

    - Eat fried chicken and BBQ. (I don't mind BBQ.)

    - Hate General Sherman for what he did in a war that ended 150 years ago, to a bunch of people that I am 99.999999999% sure I am not descended from. (Even if I were, I've no beef with him. He didn't do anything to me.)

    - Attend one of the many churches that dots, like, every fifth block in the city. (I'm Agnostic.)

    These are the examples I can think up of.

    Also:
    :confuzled:

    Christ, I'm culturally blind. I wasn't even aware the Deep South had its own culture. My focus was more on American culture as a whole.

    Let me relay to you all a conversation I had with a European at the history forum I go to about one of the many things we do that's part of our nation's culture: the flag.

    As we're all aware, we love to do a lot of things with our flag. We put it on our private properties, we put it on every block just about, and even fashion cars and clothing with the designs based off of the flag. The European (whose name I sadly cannot remember at the moment) explained that Europeans in general view their flags with reverence; they don't put out their national flags except on extremely important events. He told me of an observation his grandfather made when viewing a commercial about a chair designed off of the American flag. His grandfather made a comment that, paraphrased, 'Do they not realize they are sitting on their own flag??'

    That said, my European friend did tell me that most fears of displaying the flag hearkens back to World War II (for blindingly obvious reasons.) Flag=patriotism and all that. He did say that maybe we had a point because we're showing that it's OK to love showing your flag. :p It doesn't always mean something horrible to stick your flag out every now and then. That said the thing I got out of it was that while we see our treatment of our flag as 'Gosh, we love America', they (or least he) would see it as us going, 'lol, our flag, the symbol of our country is just a commodity! Now here's a bikini with our national colors and a bald eagle hat!!!'

    At any rate, this was an eye-opener for me because I had always wondered why they never stuck out their national flags like we did. I was always taught that showing the national flag meant you loved your country so as a youth, I've always wondered, 'Do they not love their own country?' Well, that European friend clarified that for me. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
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  10. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I guess I'm not sure about Alabama, but Texas sure does, and most of us are damn proud of it. ;)

    For the (fun fact) record, Texas as a whole is not considered the "deep south" by the standard definition. The eastern most portion of Texas is occasionally lumped into that category, but doesn't really apply 100 percent of the time. The traditional definition of the "deep south" includes Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and sometimes Arkansas.
     
  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    What an excellent post! Certainly worthy of my time and consideration. Culture is an interesting thing for me. The definition you have given above, I feel, doesn't encompass all that culture is/means, so hopefully I can elaborate on what the word means to me (you know, connotations and nuances) before giving my answer.

    When I think of culture, I don't think of it as only the set of traditions, practices, ideas, ways of thinking, beliefs and symbols. I like that you mentioned that it is generally accepted without thinking, but I would add that culture is something people identify with. It is what unites people and gives them a group identity, in a sense. A people of culture may live and die by it and make it a part of who they are or how they see themselves. It becomes a lens through which the see not only the world, but themselves. Culture also includes a peoples history, where they have been, how they got to where they are, what they brought to the world. What makes culture tricky for me is that it is also adapting and coming to encompass more, especially here in the united states.

    Now we can get into it a little. In the united states culture is hard to pin down, but I think the key is to determine which groups a person is identifying with. We have youth culture, we have pop culture (which tends to be strongly influenced by the former, though more musically inclined), we have television culture, hip hop culture, hipster culture and the list goes on. Then we have the cultures of heritage such as Mexican culture, Black culture, Chinese culture, Indian culture and that of all the Native American tribes and many more. But then, sort of shadowing all of those, we have American culture which is sort of regional but primarily a culture of privilege based on how far we've advanced technologically. And of course we've got regional cultures like California's Hollywood culture and beach culture and bay culture, then there's "mountain culture" and country culture. In the southern states, we've got southern cultures (if I might admit to being so unrefined). I think you get my point.

    There is such a blending of "cultures" and ideologies and lifestyles that it's a challenge to say I subscribe to any one culture. Even if I were to say I did or didn't subscribe to "Black" culture, the question is then, what is black culture. In my humble opinion, black culture in America is largely fabricated out of our history in this country. Sports, music, Christianity, soul food, street life, slang, under achieving... All these things and more are what people have attributed to being black in the United States, but I don't subscribe to any of it. I feel like it's a culture of stereotypes that has been handed to us, perhaps to keep us from reaching our full potential. Then there is black culture, meaning the history and heritage of black peoples world wide, which some can accept or reject and that I am barely coming to learn about. This one is far-reaching in scope, connecting me to my ancestors and my brothers and sisters in Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, and worldwide.

    But as a 20- something in America, there is a bit of youth culture - the rebellious, arrogant, rejecting tradition, living in the moment, out for a good time, bump loud music, drive fast cars sorta deal. But I've never fully identified with it, and I tend to find young people to be kind of weird. There is also some American culture in me, which is evident in me enjoying some time in a well furnished apartment with a mountain view talking to people many miles away from a lap top through wireless internet. it is evident in that I carry a smartphone. But I can't fully identify with American culture, because it partly entails the patriotism that I will never subscribe to. And being a (proud) Californian, everywhere I go, people will notice something different about how I talk, dress, and eat (and yes, I a a vegetarian and I love the beach ha ha).

    That doesn't even touch on the culture of wealth or disparity. I come from a proud family of talented intelligent people (on my mom's side). We didn't come from money, though. Each generation knows what it's like to struggle a bit. But with my great grandma's dad being a doctor (so I heard) there is pride that brought with it a standard of living. I've never been truly impoverished. Even now, I live very well for having no money, yet I don't quite know what it's like to live with money going back for a couple of generations. I'm a worker, as was my mom, and her mom, and HER mom.

    I feel I should also mention that being educated gives another bit of culture. I am a part of another group, and my experience at the university will inevitably set me apart from others my age. I can sit among "intellectuals" and speak eloquently and process complex ideas or discuss art, history, science or some other thing. Some might call this very thing being "cultured." And what part of this, I wonder, came from living in predominately white neighborhoods and going to predominately white, privileged schools? I've heard so many times that I "act white" and that I'm "not really black." But the behavior comes from living under cultures of privilege and education.

    So to wrap up this long, rambling, dissertation on culture. I don't really subscribe to one anymore. Rather, I am influenced by the many "cultures" in which I've grown, but I don't identify with any one or two. In the same way, I'm not entirely sure who I am or what path I'm walking right now. It's a unique opportunity to define myself, without the baggage that comes with taking this culture or that into my being. This, in some ways, has disconnected me from family and friends more than my physical distance, though. We just don't think the same or vibrate the same.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Grew up in LA. We were cooler than the rest of the country. It was the cultural awakening. Before AIDS, before the Haight turned to hard drugs, the life of free love, incredible music and mind altering drugs, we owned the world. I was so much older then ... you know the story.

    But we stumbled. The love of my life was killed in a car accident. My friends turned to heroin, became addicted, I descended into [censored because people can find out who you are and I'm not about to put that part of my life on the Internet, though I have told my son about it.] Heroin is sly shit. I'll never forget my friend telling me that, before it got him too. I dodged the bullet that struck them because heroin made me nauseated.

    Some of my friends found their way to Eugene, OR, where there were hitch-hiking stops and the cops were decent. The world was still good, hell had not discovered the place yet. They told me about a nursing program and I followed them there and renewed my life.

    I lived in the quads, then upstairs the Eugene City Women's Club where I found John Birch society literature on Sundays after the JBSers had their Sunday meetings. Fell in love again with a hot body but he had a drinking problem I couldn't see at first. We hitch-hiked, saw Hawaii and Canada, then he hit me and I kicked him out, had to hide from him and ended up in a fantastic shack on the property of Mike Hagen, the video recorder on Further. Heard great stories, met Ken Kesey, went backstage at a Grateful Dead concert, and a few other things.

    I left those friends behind, ended up in Steamboat Springs CO. Lived another incredible life. But I wasn't satisfied. From there I became a world traveler, found love in Bellingham, WA, traveled more, left him, returned to college twice more, fell in love again, gave birth to my son.

    His father left before I gave birth, I was better off. The evidence based world became important to me, the mark I want to make on the world is to move us forward in the evolution of our species. If only a few people move a tiny bit closer to the evidence based world, that is progress, that is evolutionary progress of our species.

    And now I have become a writer. I always wanted to write the life story I lived. I still think it was interesting enough to put in a book. But instead a story grew in my head when I went for the NaNoWriMo challenge.

    Three and a half years later, I've taught myself to write with the help of a mentor, my book is close to being finished and here we are, today.

    I left a few things out. ;)
     
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  13. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read an an interesting paper recently that tries to pin down certain elements of writing style (things like parallel paragraph structure, circumlocution, etc.) to specific cultures. It says part of the challenge of learning English as a second language is adopting the thought patterns that English speaking culture looks for in written discourse.
     
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  14. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Idunno... what culture is Google? Because one way or another, apart from experiencing the physical world (e.g. learning that when I let go of things, they fall down), most of what I know and believe by this point in my life is probably the product of information reached via a Google search and my own reasoning.

    Kinda spooky, actually, when you think about how much power that means Google, the company, has.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What an interesting thread! And interesting lives revealed in it. Some older ones, with a lot of years and experiences under the belt. Others younger, and with lots left ahead of them. But quite a diverse bunch. One of the reasons I love this forum!

    My own culture is quite mixed up by now. I lived the first 37 years of my life in small-town Michigan, with several forays elsewhere, just for fun. And I've lived the past 29 years in urban Scotland, with several forays elsewhere, just for fun. Each 'half' of my life has made me more aware of culture, than I would have been if I'd stayed one place or the other.

    One of my forays for fun, when I still lived in Michigan, was the summer I spent in the Pacific Northwest ...Washington and Oregon. I loved the terrain and climate, but felt very ill at ease with the culture there. As a midwesterner, born near and influenced by Canada, I have a pragmatic, inelegant, down-to-earth background. Ordinary. Nothing special. Nothing to see here. I found the culture of the Pacific Northwest to be strange indeed. On the one hand, physical beauty was taken for granted ...in people as well as the landscape. I didn't fit in. On the other hand, so many people were drifting around without surnames, living life in the moment. I found that disconcerting, and couldn't adapt. I wasn't there long enough to really dig in, and I did enjoy my time there, but while I went out with the idea of perhaps settling there, I was very glad to get back to Michigan, and to the 'ordinary' life that was really me.

    However, the next major foray I took was to Scotland, a country that has always fascinated me. I was very steeped in Scottish traditional music, the old ballads, etc. I read novels of Scotland as well as non-fiction. No, I have no ethnic Scottish background, but somehow I felt an affinity for the place, from when I was a very young child. I don't think I was all that steeped in the stereotypes, actually. Probably because of the traditional music, which is not at all stereotypical. I felt I 'knew' the people, somehow.

    When I first visited here, I was treated as an honoured guest, which is always fun. Thanks to my husband (who wasn't yet my husband) who directed me to the best of the traditional music festivals, I was able to mingle with real people and avoid the tourist stuff. I am still amazed that tourists come here...make a quick run through Edinburgh Castle, a tour bus to Loch Lomond's bonnie banks, and if time allows, a dash up to see the Loch Ness Monster (what does he EAT?) and maybe a gawk at Culloden. Then back home again home again, jiggedy jig. What a waste. That's like going to see America (sic) and only visiting Las Vegas and Disney World. And yes, Scottish people often do that.

    Moving here and getting married the following year was a bit of an eye-opener. On the surface, Scottish and American cultures don't look all that different today. But go back a generation, and wow. My own generation (I'm 66) grew up in a culture that was just post-war. So rationing was in effect. No sugar, or other goodies for the kids until much later on, into the early 50s. Nothing taken for granted. Make do and mend. While American housewives were busy running hoovers, washing machines, kitchen appliances, hooking up TVs, etc ...here, the average housewife was shopping for food every day (locally) because there was no home refrigeration. People took baths in a portable bathtub once a week, in front of the coal fire in the living room. Some of them shared bath water with other members of the family. Many did not have indoor plumbing, and many had shared toilets with other families. My husband's parents were a bit posh (both teachers), so they had their own toilet, but many of my friends had shared toilets. And instead of washing machines, women boiled laundry by hand, and actually used scrubbing boards to scrub clothes clean. Most of them visited a 'steamie' - a communal wash place that often also included the local swimming pool - to do their laundry. One of my friends who is only a year older than me, remembers the family washboard (which she used until she was 16 years old) that had a crack in it, and she had to be careful not to tear clothing on that bit.

    Very few people had cars back then. And everybody remembers getting the first TV. Which again, was often a communal thing until they became more affordable.

    So my growing up culture was totally different from people I hang out with now. This difference colours our lives even today. Scots are much more apt to be houseproud than my own contemporaries were/are, back in the states. Housewives love decorating and redecorating their homes on a stunningly frequent basis. Folk are usually very tidy and clean, but daily showers are still not the usual thing. They've learned to keep clean without a daily immersion. I think younger people are more modern in outlook, and copy American models more closely—whether they take daily showers or not, I couldn't say.

    The habit, acquired recently, of taking sunshine holidays in large, cheapish hotels on the south coast of Spain has turned people's heads from wanting a single bathroom in the house, to wanting 'en-suites' in every bedroom. Consequently, in older homes, closets or parts of bedrooms are routinely converted into toilet/shower spaces, and most people have more than one in the house, even in a tiny house. Because this means the storage space is limited, folks have become very minimalist in taste, and routinely (at least till the credit crunch made it more difficult) redecorate their homes and replace everything ...kitchens, appliances, furniture, everything ...every couple of years. Oh, that old sofa? It's done. We've had it for 5 years already. I'm getting a whole new suite. Very common speech, especially among younger, home-owning Scots.

    I find that while I act as if I fit in, I find in many ways my thinking and theirs don't necessarily coincide. However, I also find I don't fit in as well with Americans any more either. So I'm a hybrid. Two cultures ...or half of two cultures? Jury is still out.
     
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  16. Miss Lonelyhearts
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    Miss Lonelyhearts Member

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    1. Irish

    Beer
    Whiskey
    Religion
    Spuds
    Farmers
    Tractors
    Football
    Pubs
    Women
    Boxing

    That's my culture but its not me.
     
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  17. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    I'm from the Center-East region of Brazil, the agricultural region where the district of the capital is in. You probably wouldn't know about it, but we do have a certain cultural distinct from others in Brazil. Either way I have to start with the fact that I am Brazilian, so:

    Religiously watch/play football (soccer): I don't watch any sports on TV. I do enjoy playing it sometimes, even though I have zero skills.

    Religiously watch games of the Seleção (Brazilian national team of football): Trust me, it is different than simply watching football on television. I root for them during World Cups, not anything else.

    Dance Samba: I have a rigid stick for a body. No magical dancing skills for me.

    Have been robbed: Sad to say it's true! I actually was robbed once (no, not in a big city).

    Have gone to the Amazon: It's cheaper to travel to the US (and no, I haven't been there either).

    Eat lots of BBQ: Now we're talking! Those large gatherings where people talk and eat all kinds of meat, and rice and farofa and drink Guarana! :p

    Catholic: No. I'm Protestant. But we do have a large number of Catholics. How the heck our pope lost to an Argentinian? Vatican only knows!

    Hate Argentinians and make fun of the Portuguese: I have to admit to that. Although "hating" is a strong term, let's just say we make fun of both of them.

    Speak only Portuguese: Not me. Many Brazilians do speak more than 1 language, usually English or Spanish. It's kinda true though, that the majority are limited to Portuguese.

    Listen to Bossa Nova, or other Brazilian music: I've always preferred "international" music. Some Brazilian rock bands aren't that bad, but I don't listen to them either.

    Open to all kinds of people: True that. We Brazilian make lots of noise, and seem very happy, because generally we truly are! We make fun of our religion, our government, our friends, our sports, everything! There's nothing like a good Brazilian company to laugh at our own misery! One of the few reasons why I actually like my culture.
     
  18. sashawrites
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    sashawrites Member

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    I identify as English, so let's start with that.

    - I thoroughly enjoy stereotypically English food like scones (afternoon tea ahhh) and fish and chips. Crumpets can go jump off a cliff. SUNDAY DINNERS THOUGH SO GOOD.
    - I actually have really good teeth because of two years of braces and only one filling because I was a moron when I was 14.
    - Wimbledon is amazing. Football sucks. Cricket is alright.
    - Pimms and cider are tipples I reeeeally enjoy.
    - Don't care about the royals, I see them as a waste of money.
    - I love our history as a country.
    - Cups of tea are devil spawn.
    - I go to London at least once a year but its a horrible city. I don't like busy places.

    Regionally, I'm in the east so upon further examination:

    - I grew up in a very very Caucasian area and had one friend of an ethnic minority (and she was the only one in the area).
    - No I do not hate those who are Eastern European. There's been a huge influx where I'm from and the racism towards these people is so unreal and terrible it pains me sometimes to say I'm from the east of England.
    - I am well spoken but this is mainly going to a 'posh' grammar school.
    - I do not drive a Land Rover and neither does my family. I own an old aygo for gods sake.

    I'm also still technically am a student:

    - I got drunk a lot this year and it was great.
    - I will never have to pay back £9000 a year so thanks Tories (and Lib Dems)!
    - Female captain of my university's dodgeball team so I encouraged drinking a lot.
    - Still not posh as my university barely breaks halfway in the UK's university league tables.
    - I hate pot noodles but like instant noodles.
    - I always had food even if I didn't like it so I could still go out.
    - I always get the cheapest stuff because I'm still so poor.

    Religion? I am agnostic but I did have Jewish family who have now all passed on. My dad is atheist (his family were the Jewish ones) and my mum identifies as agnostic/Anglican Christian. My roots are German, French (Huguenots) and Scottish as far as we've researched.

    - Me and my parents do sometimes have a Friday night dinner in memoriam.
    - Distant relatives died in the Holocaust.
    - I have a button nose and freckles so screw the horrible stereotypes to do with Jewish looks.
     
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  19. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    Interesting thread.
    Well, being Serbian myself, I realize that we are somewhat difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain. But I'll try anyway, just for fun's sake. :)
    First of all, we are a small country somewhere in the heart of Europe (not exactly, but close enough) and we count less than 7 mil.people (and decreasing).
    Throughout history, we were always in the middle of some war, or dispute, with our neighbors, and the rest of the world. Both World Wars affected us greatly. We were occupied by Ottoman empire for nearly 500 years, so our language shares a lot of words with Turkish language (and, I'd say, a lot of genes). We had 2 wars in my lifetime (I'm 28), and I can remember the latest (NATO bombing), which happened when I was 12. All this war stuff affected our culture and economy greatly. And, somehow, we are always in the middle of bad things. That's why we live day by day, like there's no tomorrow, and that's why we are having a great fun whenever we can. That's why foreigners, when they experience Serbia, say that we're crazy. And they always come back. :)
    We have the astonishing nature, but we don't charish it as we should. We maintain close bounds with our families (too close, one might say). We love gatherings and spending time together with family and friends. Due to the tough economical situation, young people are forced to live with their parents even after they get married. You can often see 3 or even 4 generations living under the same roof.
    We love food! We love to eat, a lot, but we are generally not fat as a nation. We eat a lot of good homemade food, and a lot of meat and bread. Serbian food is simple, heavy on the stomach and delicious.
    Foreigners usually say that Serbian women are amongst the most beautiful in the world. :p I think it has something to do with a lot of nations mixing in these lands throughout centuries.
    We are Ortodox Christians, but we are not fanatical when it comes to religion. We are very traditional though. But also we are a homophobic nation. Sadly, this is not a best place in the world to be gay.
    We don't like Americans particularly, because most of us can still remember the bombing vividly. But at the same time, we are under the great American influence, just as the rest of the world is.
    But don't think you won't be safe here if you're an American. We have this trait of loving all foreigners. We are extremely hospitable. If you come here, expect a warm welcome, a lot of food, partying and gaining a lot of friends, and all of them will try to give you a best time of your life - taking you to places you simply have to see, making you party all night long etc. I told you we were difficult to understand. ;)
    Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. We are crazy about sports. All kinds of sports we are traditionally good at. Novak Djokovic is considered a national hero in Serbia. :)

    Forgot something: We can be pretty superstitious (hey, we invented vampires!) :)
     
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  20. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's really cool to read about others' cultures in this thread. Seriously eye-opening!

    As some people here already know, I hail from Finland. We too have our own "national culture", and then smaller regional cultures, age-specific cultures, minority cultures, etc. Typical to the national culture are things like:

    -untalkativeness
    -irreligiousness
    -honesty
    -violence
    -heavy alcohol consumption
    -morose and gloomy moods
    -nudity & sauna
    -hiking and camping in the woods
    -preference to live by a lake
    -keep-your-nose-out-of-other-people's-business attitude

    I, on the other hand, ended up in the crossfire of countryside culture and urban culture as I lived for 18 years in a small town and have now lived 9 years in the metro Helsinki area. I've grown to appreciate both, the ease and effortlessness of living in the city and the quiet of the countryside. In the city people are a bit more inward than in the country. Everyone lives in their own bubble, and I actually prefer it that way. I hate nosiness and busy-bodies, and thankfully in the city you're left alone for the most part. But when you live in a smallish town, people tend to know one another, rumors travel around, and you get judged more quickly if you don't fit some narrow idea of an "acceptable person" (say, you don't wake up at 6:30 every morning like a good citizen should).

    Finnish urban culture is pretty dynamic and accepting, especially among the young (say those born in the late 1980s or during the 1990s and 2000s). Your sex, color, sexual orientation, etc. don't matter so much; everyone's welcome. Conversations are had in three languages and more. The topics we talk about, the food we eat, the music we listen to come from all over the world. We tend to dislike traditional Finnish things and celebrate modern Finnishness (national pride is quite prevalent, but it's not so much this jackass neo-nazi type of misguided nationalism but more like celebration of modern art, music, sports etc.) That's the culture I'm immersed in right now for the most part. A couple of times a year I return to my roots in the East, but I don't really care about that part of my culture and feel no particular pride over it: it's a place of alcoholism, suicides, depressing folk songs, mosquitoes, rigid social/gender roles, freezing cold, and ignorance.

    You have created and are a part of Andrae Smith culture, then. :D
     
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  21. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    'aygo' sent me to Google. We don't have those here in the US, and a good thing these days, as a front-on view of a red one looks a lot like the Confederate flag (speaking of cultures).
     
  22. sashawrites
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    sashawrites Member

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    you don't have Toyota Aygos? Well this is weird, I like my little bubble car. And now you mention it I can't unsee it so I guess I will not be owning one of the new ones anytime soon!
     
  23. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first thought was a saltire...like the Scottish and Irish flags...and a host of other flags, all older than the confederacy.
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I love Mônica Salmaso and Marcelo Camelo. I don't know how old you are, maybe these artists are little "old-school" for you, mas eu os amo. :)
     
  25. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    Yeah sorry, I don't really know them. You see, I belong to the new generation. So I have to tolerate the crappy contemporary music, without knowing much appreciation for names as such from those around my age. I'm glad those are the names that come into your mind at the mention of Brazilian music. Although I don't listen to Bossa Nova, I have a great respect for musicians from that time.
     

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