Questions in the Society & Culture category.
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March 28

Help me understand this American Civil War-era reference
More than once I have come across this image: Jeff. Davis' Coat of "Alms.", typically on an envelope. I am insufficiently knowledgeable about the American Civil War to understand the reference. [more inside]
posted by komara at 9:26 AM - 5 answers
Stutter filter: what can I do to best set a stutterer at ease?
I have a phone screen later this morning. The recruiter just emailed me "I thought to make you aware he has a slight stutter however he is still perfectly understandable." My understanding is that stuttering has in part something to do with confidence and comfort. How can help the candidate here? [more inside]
posted by colin_l at 6:03 AM - 13 answers

March 26

What languages have more than one word for the English 'we'?
Are there any languages that have words that disambiguate the various possible meanings of the English 'we'? In English the 1st person plural pronoun 'we' (and its object counterpart 'us') can refer to groups 1) including only the speaker and the addressed person or persons, 2) including only the speaker and some further person(s) neither speaking nor being addressed but with whom the speaker claims a sort of representative power, and *not* including the addressee(s), or 3) including the speaker, the addresse(s) and some other people too. Are there any languages that have separate words for these distinct referential uses? [more inside]
posted by bertran at 8:13 PM - 15 answers

Sociological or anthropological studies on insular or peninsular cities?
I'm looking for academic-level writing on the ways that cities that are built on islands or peninsulas, or in geographically isolated areas, develop and behave differently from cities that are more easily and fully connected to other cities. This would be about the mindset and attitudes and not about urban planning or infrastructure. I'm thinking these may be anthropological or sociological studies. They may even just be a thought pieces or essays. I could swear I saw one that talked about Manhattan and Charleston, but I can't find it.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:29 AM - 5 answers

March 25

Was the American outlook in the early 70s really that bleak?
Was the American outlook in the early 70s really that bleak or is that just what survived culturally? [more inside]
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:32 PM - 45 answers

March 22

Looking for a walkable Philadelphia suburb with ... (details inside)
Will be moving to Philadelphia metro soon for a new job. Looking for a place to live. Currently live in the NYC boroughs. Have a difficult list of must haves. [more inside]
posted by NYC-BB at 5:23 PM - 23 answers

March 21

What's in a name? RUB: Massage, Yoga, Wellness.
What do you think of the name "Rub" for a health spa? Is it cute or dirty and why?
posted by lolo341 at 6:25 PM - 34 answers

Are afro wigs for a funk band politically correct?
Imagine a funk/soul band made up of white people, wearing Afro wigs on stage. Would that be fine, or rather politically incorrect? [more inside]
posted by willem at 6:36 AM - 32 answers

Gender inequality in couples moving for work?
Anecdotally, it seems clear to me that women are far more likely to move to a new city for her husband's job than vice versa. But I'd like some hard numbers! There has to have been research on this, but I have no idea how to find it. [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:43 AM - 12 answers

March 18

Moving your parent to a Senior Living Home
My friend is faced with moving her mother to a 'Senior Living Home'. (Connecticut) A lot of factors led to this; tests and professional advice, safety concerns, Mom's reluctant consent etc. Daughter understands all this, and will be relieved by her Mom's move to full-time care, but at the same time feels devastated taking this action. Abandonment, loss of memory and communication...... While other family members have visited the location and are happy with it, we will be visiting soon for the first time. 1. What should we consider? Where can a consumer look for possible violations or complaints? 2. I never had to face this. How can I support her?
posted by ebesan at 12:03 PM - 9 answers

March 17

Help me impress my friend by figuring out what book we're remembering
I was at lunch with a friend of mine and the conversation turned to escargot. She said, "I remember reading a book when I was a kid where the girl went out to a fancy restaurant, and she accidentally ordered escargot because she didn't know what they were." [more inside]
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:01 PM - 27 answers

Support for activists?
What are the websites (if any) that seek to collaborate online discussion and activism into coherent steps for individuals as well as assistance collaborating on projects or areas of activism? [more inside]
posted by xarnop at 8:06 AM - 2 answers

March 16

Who were these men in white robes and what exactly where they wearing?
A few weeks ago I was transiting through the airport in Istanbul, Turkey, and saw several men wearing odd robes. These were more like long towels than robes. The material seemed like white terry cloth bath towels, but could have been wool or another thicker material. They appeared to have one wrapped around their waists and another draped over one shoulder, although it could have been one long section. Each section would have been roughly 3' x 10' (1mx3m), or 3' x 20' if all in one. Now I am wondering, who were these men, what were they wearing and why were they dressed like that? [more inside]
posted by Yorrick at 6:32 PM - 5 answers

March 15

What should I expect when voting in a Dutch municipal election?
I'm an American who has lived in Groningen for over 5 years. I am voting in the municipal elections this Wednesday, but I have no idea what to expect when I go to the voting location. My Dutch is not that great. If someone could fill me in on what I should expect when I go to vote, that would be great!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:08 AM - 5 answers

March 14

Help me adjust to (or tolerate) the Midwest...
I grew up and attended university on the East Coast. I don't know what I was thinking when I matriculated at a graduate program in the Midwest-- perhaps I thought that having lived in diverse settings would be a good life experience or something (?) ... Well, what's done is done, and I'm here for the next three years. Please help me better deal with this culture shock! [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 11:07 PM - 60 answers

March 13

Tom Waits-ish pop song
There's a popular track on the radio these days that sounds a little like Tom Waits. Maybe like his tune "Clap Hands" (though not exactly). Its repeated chorus ends with a dude with a distorted voice saying something like "[word] up." [more inside]
posted by punkbitch at 5:38 PM - 8 answers

Your experiences with personal development
Personal progress: What personal development changes have you made that have had a big impact on your life? [more inside]
posted by markbao at 11:35 AM - 26 answers

Document translation in Asian characters (Kanji possibly?)
I have a document with 9 Asian characters that I found in a WWII-era world atlas that belonged to my wife's grandmother (Note: it may not be Kanji; I just gave my best guess at comparing the style to things I've found on Google). I have no context around the meaning of the message, how it got there, where it was written, why, etc. I was just curious if anyone could translate it for me. Thanks.
posted by brian4rd at 7:06 AM - 5 answers

March 12

Should I do online dating? (22 year-old female)
I'm 22 years old. I have never had a boyfriend and have never been on a date. Currently I'm finishing up my undergrad and will be entering a Master program in the Fall. I think I'm fairly attractive and I do not have a super high standard. At my college, I do socialize and have a lot of friends but for some reasons, I don't know many guys and the ones I know are either already in a relationship or just not interested in me. I've thought about online dating but I don't know if I'm too young for it, if my inexperience would put me in dangerous situations, etc. I've thought about joining paid sites such as or because I thought maybe guys are more serious on those sites. However, I am still a student and my budget is limited. I'd greatly appreciate any advice anyone has for me.
posted by missybitsy at 4:41 PM - 18 answers

March 11

Resources for finding rentals in SE PA
Hi there! My fiance, stepdaughter and cat are finally ready to tangibly start looking for places to live on our own! Yay! I'm looking for websites/resources I can go to besides craigslist, the newspaper, and the regular websites that pop up on the first page when you google about renting. Does anyone know of any other places to find rental listings? Thanks in advance!
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 11:36 AM - 5 answers

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