Questions in the Society & Culture category.
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November 9

Books, anthropology research papers etc on permissive culture

I am looking for any research or books on how we in the west went from conservative to permissive in our culture, specifically around clothing styles, movies, marriage norms etc. Details and a word of caution inside. [more inside]
posted by theobserver at 8:06 AM - 7 answers

November 8

Looking for the source of a story / proverb / legend.

I heard it a long time ago and believe it may be of Asian origin. It had something to do with a princess who wanted a general to conquer a particularly desirable town and drive out the people living there. He took the town, but didn't drive out the people, choosing instead to rule them justly. When confronted by her, he asked her whether the empty houses were the source of the wealth she craved, or something to that effect. Anyone heard of this or something similar before?! Where might it have come fron?!
posted by markkraft at 7:26 PM - 0 answers

Mission: Disney Overload

Please recommend background material about the Happiest Place on Earth TM. There are a ton of books and articles out there so I'm hoping to narrow things down. [more inside]
posted by Cuke at 2:13 PM - 8 answers

November 7

What's the etiquette when commenting on someone's plastic surgery?

I realize this could be a judgment call, but I'd like to know if there are any good rules when acknowledging a face lift. [more inside]
posted by msali at 6:20 PM - 23 answers

What was life like for infertile couples before the 20th century?

Today's couples who are having difficulty "TTC" can potentially access IVF, surrogacy, medical interventions/advice, adoption, fostering, etc. What was life like for couples before these options arose? Was there shame, guilt or sorrow attached to not being able to have children ... and what did the men and women in this situation do about it?
posted by dontjumplarry at 11:41 AM - 18 answers

November 5

Low key rituals for minor holidays?

I work long hours and I frequently get so caught up in work plus basic staying afloat with relationships and errands and life maintenance tasks that I feel like whole seasons pass without my really having noticed, despite the fact I really love holidays and seasonal celebrations. To counteract this I have been looking for minimalist ways to commemorate various special days so that I am more aware of time passing. [more inside]
posted by ellebeejay at 1:46 PM - 31 answers

More books like this: subsection fourth grade reading level

My five year old is running out of books. Need recommendations for new chapter books series appropriate for a younger kid who reads at a fourth grade level. He likes: Captain Awesome, Captain Underpants, Big Nate, The Alphabet Mysteries, My Weird School, The Magic Treehouse, Superfly.
posted by bq at 8:26 AM - 18 answers

Uniquely Canadian things to send my penpal?

I wish to send my dear Finnish penpal a bunch of cool things you can only buy in Canada (and maybe also stuff that may be sold elsewhere but is only really popular in Canada). What to send, MeFi? [more inside]
posted by GlassHeart at 1:51 AM - 19 answers

November 4

Engagement Traditions for Men

The idea of a marker/symbol of engagement appeals to me (as does the idea of tweaking gendered norms). I'm not otherwise terribly ornamentally inclined, so this feels like a good one-exception for her. I've seen suggestions online of "Eventual-wedding-ring on right hand, swap hands at the ceremony", which sounds particularly appealing, though I haven't seen anything consistent about where this might be common or how common it might be.
Within the United States, about how well would this be received/understood? [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave at 8:59 PM - 23 answers

November 3

Can you recommend some good reading or podcasts about cults?

I'm interested in books, long-form articles, iTunes U lecture series, podcasts or even podcast episodes that talk about cults, either in general or in particular. [more inside]
posted by Charity Garfein at 9:31 PM - 11 answers

Knights of the round table - virtues and vices?

In the Arthurian legends pretty much every knight has a virtue which he absolutely epitomizes and an vice, typically one of the deadly sins, with which he struggles and, sometimes, is his undoing. I'm trying to put together some references to this for a role playing game type of thing and my google fu is failing me. Surely there are at least a hundred master theses on this subject alone and one of them has been reduced into a web site with a clever info-graphic. Right? Help? Anyone?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:23 PM - 5 answers

November 2

Diwali party gifts and etiquette?

Our Indian neighbors have invited my family to their Diwali party on Saturday. I'm unsure of the etiquette that surrounds attending the festivities. Stuff I've read online mostly boils down to "bring a nice gift (not alcohol) and wear your good cloths.". Are there any no-no's that might be lurking so I can prepare myself and my children to be respectful of the holiday? Many of the articles I've read suggest high quality dried fruit as a gift. Are there good alternatives?
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:28 AM - 5 answers

November 1

Sociological Term for a Narrow Sense of Self?

I need to know the sociological or psychological terminology for someone who has a very narrow sense of self concept. For example, someone who puts all their focus into one specific thing and suffers through the rest of their life to engage in clubbing or fishing or movies . . . etc. [more inside]
posted by R.F.Simpson at 4:19 PM - 10 answers

October 31

Why are rights expanding?

Does anyone know why people are increasingly receiving rights now rather than at other points in history? Like, women's rights, Civil rights, gay rights, trans rights, animal rights, etc.? Jon Haidt talks about how Western liberals (among many others) have a morality loosely based on reducing harm, but how has that developed? Why now? I'm looking for any literature on the topic, ranging from academic to loose conjecture.
posted by mrmanvir at 7:57 AM - 20 answers

October 30

Help me find this old political cartoon about prayer in school.

Please help me find an old (older than 15+ years) probably political cartoon about children at their classroom desks praying (possibly before a test); multiple mainstream religions are represented but one student has a mini-bonfire on the desk doing what appeared to me so long ago as a pagan ritual.
posted by _paegan_ at 7:56 PM - 4 answers

Help me argue with people, please

Are there debate clubs for adults? [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger at 4:29 PM - 13 answers

How to "wear" a plastic Hallowe'en mask suspended in front of my face?

I picked up a hideous hard plastic fanged ghoul mask at a central California valley supermarket for .49ยข. It looks like this fellow, only more colorful. I want to "be" this thing for Hallowe'en, but I don't want to spend the night with gross slimy plastic on my face, especially as there are no breathing holes. How can I easily suspend a traditional plastic mask an inch or three in front of my face? It has big eye holes and tiny side holes to hold an elastic head band, but is otherwise a solid sheet of plastic.
posted by Scram at 1:55 PM - 11 answers

October 29

Former Colonial Masters

A company based in a former colony buys out a company, in the former colonizing country, which was based on exploiting resources in the former colony. Is there a term for this? [more inside]
posted by unmake at 4:17 PM - 4 answers

October 28

Choral cultural appropriation

I direct a small choir at a predominantly white church and I'm having some trouble determining whether an exclusively white choir singing certain repertoire is cultural appropriation or not. [more inside]
posted by altopower at 11:15 AM - 39 answers

October 27

What will I do with you, pink and blue?

The advice "The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls" can be found quoted many, many places online (all clearly originating from one ur-source), attributed either to the Ladies Home Journal in 1918 or Earnshaw's Infants Department (invariably identified as "a trade publication"). Which was it? Was it, in fact, either? [more inside]
posted by kenko at 9:47 PM - 8 answers

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