What is the basic cultural literacy and knowledge a post-collegiate adult "should" have in 2014? Are there certain humanities subjects you assume or expect everyone in your college-educated social circle to have a baseline understanding of - semiotics? Critical theory? Familiarity with a bunch of poetry, drama, novels, sociological texts, art, music? None of that? [more inside]
In an Australian rental unit, how likely is it that our landlords will expect the caulking in the shower to be clean at move-out, and if they will, should we do the caulking ourselves to avoid paying a handyman for this simple but tedious and probably time-consuming job? [more inside]
I teach a summer camp, and on the first day we hand out a list of questions and have the students interview each other one-on-one as an ice-breaker. We do it very quickly, so simple questions are the best. What are some things that a group of 11-13 yr olds (mostly girls) are likely to have an opinion on? Thanks!
Someone I work with is Turkish and in Turkey for the summer. He asked me to let him know if I would like something from Turkey. I do! But do I take him up on it? [more inside]
My mom has recently become addicted to Korean dramas, and not having much pre-existing knowledge of Korean culture, she always has a lot of questions about cultural details. Her birthday is coming up and I'd like to get her a good book about modern Korean culture. [more inside]
I make an effort to visit art museums very regularly. I love art! How can I make the most out of my visit? I would also welcome suggestions for how to get more out of the books I read and films I watch. [more inside]
Someone who's been a good friend of mine for nearly a decade is going through a long rough patch (a rough field?). Is there anything concrete that I can offer her? [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of jokes that just don't translate. [more inside]
I don't seem to have the attention span for books, TV series and movies anymore, and I'm missing out on a lot of good entertainment, as well as having a general feeling of being culturally 'out of it'. How can I increase my attention span and start getting into long-form entertainment again? [more inside]
I've been in Rochester, NY for two and a half years now for graduate study, and I have about that much longer to stay here. I haven't liked the city since I moved here (the weather is terrible, the city is small and geographically isolated, it feels like everything important is happening elsewhere, the natural beauty is underwhelming, etc. etc.). Recently I've come to believe that it isn't really the town's fault, but mine, since I never really gave Rochester a chance. How do you cultivate a love for a city that you didn't grow up in, never intended to come to, and plan to leave as soon as professionally possible? [more inside]
In the MH370 thread, I had asked what the motive would be for the pilot to commit suicide in the way that experts think the plane probably went down, and this comment had be very curious. Is motive really a culturally specific idea? And if so, why can't I wrap my mind around that?
I am looking for some recommendations for some new blogs/websites to read. I love all things pop culture, am not super into fashion blogs but do like to peruse ones that feature casual looks from time to time and like dry or offbeat humor. [more inside]
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.
Finally giving in and looking for a therapist, while permanently living abroad... what 'cultural combination' should one look for? Don't want my current mental state to cloud my thinking. Details inside. [more inside]
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]
I am obsessed with DJ Yoda, who is a pretty famous turntablist DJ. Example of his work In a nutshell, he takes either existing music or beats he creates on his own and mixes it with dialogue samples from other music, tv shows, movies, etc.....Add some scratching and all that type of stuff. I wanna learn how to do that. What do I need? [more inside]
A friend and I are taking a short trip (about 3 days) to New Orleans. We're staying near the French Quarter, access to buses and bikes. Where should we go, what should we do? [more inside]
I'd like to buy a home in a very cheap place that still has culture--local, regional, and national music. Museums, public attractions, parks. Bike friendly and/or walkable and/or good public transportation system. Great natural attractions nearby--hiking, rafting, kayaking, swimming, climbing, caving, hunting, fishing. Where is this possible? [more inside]
When did enslaved Africans in the US stop speaking African languages? [more inside]
Which other productions have taken on the model of The Vagina Monologues - first-person stories about gender, sexuality, and womanhood? (I'm interested in those that share the model but have custom material, not necessarily the script of VMon as performed by specific demographics.) [more inside]
I was thinking last night that I would would like to start being cooler. One way I have came up with is by using some really cool parting words when leaving work or groups of friends (hopefully I can get some with this new "cool" plan). Some phrases that I came up with were "Stay gold Ponyboy" and "Be Excellent to each other". Now wouldn't I be cool? But that won't get me very far down the road. What are some other awesome Pop Culture phrases I can use to leave a cool impression on people?
Does anyone know what the last segregated event was in the US ? I'm curious about "major events", say around 10,000 people. [more inside]
In Rupert Holmes' "Escape", there are a couple of lines that seem at odds with what I would call hippie culture, namely "If you're not into yoga" and "I'm not much into health food." Yet some of the other bits like "getting caught in the rain," "the feel of the ocean," and "making love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape" seem, to my more modern viewpoint, in line with hippie-esque ideals. So what's the deal? [more inside]
I am interested in articles that try to analyze and explain the conflict between the hard and soft sciences. In my casual web surfing I have come across e.g. highly-trained scientists who yet express a deep disdain for fields as open-ended and far-ranging as sociology, feminism, queer theory, postmodernism, and so on, sometimes even economics, psychology. I find such attitudes hard to comprehend, and even disturbing since my educational background is in the applied sciences. Which are the important works that have been done to better understand this ongoing social/intellectual gap, and that are presented in a readable manner for a non-expert?
I need help in learning how to firmly say no and in changing patterns that have been years in the making. I’m an empathetic and intuitive person and I’m very generous. It’s second nature to me to offer to help out or to support my friends. I come from a very ‘what’s mine is yours’ approach. I’ve given people places to stay, financial support, intensive emotional support and career assistance. I like being this way; it’s true to me and I’m not resenting or adding it up…but I feel I am training some people to exploit me or to assume they are always entitled to my help. I’m happy with these parts of myself, but recently I’ve started feeling that my kindness and sensitivity to others needs and boundaries is encouraging some people to treat me as if I have no boundaries or needs myself. [more inside]
I'm interested in resources (particularly blogs) that will help me learn about the interesting aspects of other cultures. I would like to be exposed to ideas that will challenge my assumptions about what is "normal" and about how society should work
A friend just moved to Italy and has mentioned that almost all of the cafes in Milan and Rome now serve a product called Caffe al Ginseng (coffee with ginseng). Given Italy's status as one of the authentic and original coffee cultures, I was surprised to hear about the seaming popularity on this new offering. Can anyone shed some light on this coffee type? [more inside]
I am trying to read my way around the globe. Can you please recommend me international fiction/memoirs that frame the contemporary culture, customs, and values of the country that it is set in? [more inside]
I have developed an unavoidable crush on Sweden. I want to hear from Mefi locals about the best your country has to offer, things you love about living there, music, culture, all of it - help me crush out on Sweden! [more inside]
Anthropologists, please help-- I'm looking for unique examples of interpersonal relationships or family/friendship customs that are blatantly transactional, specifically in so-called "primitive" tribes or far-flung cultures that exist/have existed within the past century. The more surprising, extreme, or out-there the anecdote, the better. [more inside]
I am in the UK and am fascinated by a 'salad course' separate to either a starter or main course. I would like to know how that works, and how a typical multi-course meal would go where you live. [more inside]
When I was living in Honduras, I noticed that when a person died, the family would hang up a large piece of black fabric outside of their house or in their window. This banner would be cut into a shape that reminded me of a bow tie. This might be a long shot, but does anyone know what the history is behind this tradition? [more inside]
OK... I'm probably going to mangle this question, because I'm not a sociologist or anthropologist, or remotely knowledgeable in those fields. So, I'm probably using all my terms incorrectly. But, long story short - it's been my experience that most behaviors that laypeople, in casual conversation, call "human nature" are really just cultural phenomena. In other words - a behavior that someone from the United States thinks is "human nature" might be completely absent in another culture or society. It that's true - then it's not really "human behavior" at all. So - my question - is the tendency for kids in grade school to form cliques "human nature" - or a phenomena that's specific to certain (e.g., our) cultures? [more inside]
Seeking recommendations on media--books (novels and nonfiction), movies, music, maybe even documentaries--on life in Berlin during the 1980s and 1990s. I'm especially interested in the punk scene and any other counter cultural groups through this time period. [more inside]
This is a pretty big question but there are two essential parts to it: the things I need to think about when moving, and those I need to consider for living there for a reasonable length of time (18 months probably). [more inside]
Is there a word to describe the idea that something that has proven its value for a long time (for example the music of Mozart) is likely to endure into the future? I remember reading something to this effect in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Antifragile, but my a search of the index and my google fu fail me. TIA
Who said something like "culture is the rulership of the dead over the living"? Is is Zizek? Looking for an exact quote please. [more inside]
What is the origin, or the earliest known example, of the "X went to Y and I all got was this stupid T-Shirt?" t-shirt?
How do I practice better taste - in my art, music, and other kinds of cultural consumption - without being a prude or curmudgeon or elitist? [more inside]
I freely admit I'm not good at having aggression directed towards me, so I can't tell what to do. Essentially, cultural differences are making it really hard to get along with my roommate. Please help this co-op living delicate flower (me) coexist happily with my very German roommate! Like everyone, I am a special snowflake. This is long and detailed because I'm processing as I write. [more inside]
My writing tends to be very brief, and it's difficult for me to write long essays that are good. Also, I would like to start writing literary and cultural critiques and would like MeFites' advice. [more inside]
I know Walter Benjamin treasured a drawing by Paul Klee, Angelus Novus (angel of history).. So much so that he wrote about it in his essay "Theses on the Philosophy of History". [more inside]
Why is it that people have super-strong reactions to different types of sensory stimulants? Do you have any tales of experiencing strong reactions to visual art as opposed to sounds and smells? [more inside]
MeFite, No Kids here. Where do I dedicate 15 minutes a day on the internets toward study of what's fresh, even if it's stupid? [more inside]
How I can make the most out of a few months living in a foreign country? If you've spent time living abroad, what kinds of things were you most glad you did (and/or most regret not doing)? What helped you feel like you were really experiencing/appreciating a different culture? (Definitely interested in general advice, but FYI I'm in Buenos Aires if you have specific thoughts.) [more inside]
I was recently in a small village cemetery in Portugal. In the cemetery there was a wall with coffins interred on shelves, with a modern lockable double glazed door over each vault so that you could look in at the contents. [more inside]
My boyfriend is german and I am spanish. We are both in our early 30s and are together for 2 years. Our relationship is good and in general we deal quite well with the fact that we come from very different cultures. However, there is a topic where we always fight. In my opinion, he drinks too much and too often beer. In his opinion, he is doing what all his friends and family are doing and he even drinks moderately compared to them. He doesn't like to get drunk every time he drinks but he likes to get boozed. [more inside]
So I'm a dedicated Culture fanatic and have loved almost everything I've read by Iain M. Banks. (His Iain Banks stuff is pretty good too, but his sci-fi is what I really dig.) I particularly love the holistic, humanist morality that pervades his work and the way that he digs right down into the philosophical implications of various ideas and worldviews while simultaneously serving up lots and lots of sex, action, and sensawunda. However, I've read everything he's written several times over. What should I read next? [more inside]
I read an article a few months ago that challenged the idea that British colonization united and created the country of India. Instead it suggested that religious pilgrimages to holy sites across vast distances prior to British rule created a cultural cohesiveness prior to any British involvement. Now I can't find it! I am pretty sure it was on reddit but I can't find it. Please help!
Recently, I purchased a complete set of Balzac's Human Comedy for my Kindle. At roughly the same price as my morning coffee. Balzac was a infamously productive writer. So I'm asking for some recommendations to help me navigate this hyoooge corpus. [more inside]