Reading blogs

Blogs are a fascinating phenomenon. I indulge very lightly compared to many, but there are still more than I can keep up with. I list some of them in the sidebar. I was reading a post in presentsimple (she has problems keeping up too), but I was struck by her mention of culture. Can you say that you are part of the local culture if you never watch TV? All of the cultural catch phrases seem to come from TV shows, and people sometimes have to explain what they are talking about. Often I can fake it without their noticing, but sometimes I get quite mystified. It’s a culture gap. I think she must have a rather bigger one, living in a land that makes foreigners perpetual outsiders. Of course, I know that I don’t understand the Japanese, so I’m impressed by her bravery.

There’s a deeper question underlying that one, and it’s bothered Americans since 1776. Just what makes a person an American? It’s not ethnic, it’s not cultural in the traditional sense, because we have a blend of other cultures. What are American attitudes? I’ve taken several courses on the questions and I’m still not sure of the answers. Some people believe that the lack of a simple answer is a grave weakness. I think that we’ve managed pretty well without it. Maybe, in a world that’s changing so rapidly, there’s something to be said for making it up as we go along.

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2 comments to Reading blogs

  • Kevin

    I run into the problem with missing a lot of the culture as well… in fact, I might be worse than you because I not only don’t watch TV but I watch almost no movies. A number of my friends have gotten used to explaining just about every time they make a movie reference in front of me.

  • Mike

    Well, most of the movies we watch are old ones. We can communicate just fine with our parents generation about Fred and Ginger :-) The guys in the D&D group that I used to play with kept making movie references and I eventually gave up trying to follow them. It was especially hard because they frequently chose B-movies well known only in geekdom.

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