Browsing All posts tagged under »Culture«

Gypsies, Stereotypes, Offense, and Truth

July 31, 2017

1

Back in the days when parents still told their children fairy tales and scary stories at bedtime, the old saw about Gypsies stealing children was a staple (one famous example was Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which Esmeralda had been kidnapped by Gypsies as a child).  I had never given the idea […]

Can We Just Get Back to Smiling Normally for Pictures?

June 12, 2017

2

Is personal dignity in photographs mortally wounded?  First it was the weird fake gang-like hand signs (or signs that have crass sexual meanings); then it was the ridiculous kissy-face expression which has spawned numerous references to “whores of the Internet,” or “duckfaces.”  It seems that this pose is widely mocked and reviled, but that hasn’t […]

Stay Out of My Driveway!

May 15, 2017

1

Maybe it’s some kind of equivalent to the crotchety old man yelling, “Hey, you kids!  Keep off my lawn!”  You have seen the signs as you drive around:  Keep Out.  No Trespassing.  Private Property.  Then there are the hand-lettered signs in spray paint, on plywood:  No Turning Around in Driveway!!!  and similar sentiments.  “Geez, touchy, […]

In Honor of Oktoberfest: Trachtenmoden!

October 3, 2016

2

This weekend marks the final days of Oktoberfest 2016.  Who hasn’t heard of this annual German festival, with its beer and bratwurst, its oom-pah bands and fest tents, its dirndl-clad women and lederhosen-clad men performing traditional Bavarian dances? When we were in Germany, we never did go to the “big Oktoberfest” in Munich.  What many folks […]

Distracted Driving: It Was Just an Accident, Right?

August 8, 2016

4

Why we need to shame distracted drivers Since time immemorial, people have gone out, gotten drunk, and staggered home on foot or let their horses find the way.  Once cars were invented, it didn’t seem to occur to anyone that the pattern should change at all… until Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in […]

Another Misleading Internet Meme

April 4, 2016

1

I’m getting tired of seeing certain Internet memes like this one making the rounds.  Golly, life is so hard and unfair these days.  A 40-hour-a-week job just doesn’t support us anymore.  You know what?  Life IS unfair, but this is not why.  This is something you can actually fix, if you want to.  Yes, there was […]

Can We Just Get Back to Smiling Normally for Pictures?

February 15, 2016

3

Lila is swamped with a consulting project, believe it or not.  Meanwhile, enjoy this repeat rant from February of 2014! Is personal dignity in photographs mortally wounded?  First it was the weird fake gang-like hand signs (or signs that have crass sexual meanings); then it was the ridiculous kissy-face expression which has spawned numerous references […]

The Obliteration of Thanksgiving, and Halloween is Next

November 23, 2015

4

As we head into Thanksgiving week… everyone take a deep breath. Fall and winter used to have a certain stately holiday pace to them: first came Halloween, with its witches and goblins, skeletons and black cats.  The venerable pumpkin and the reds, yellows and oranges of Autumn rolled smoothly into Thanksgiving.  There used to be […]

Revisiting and Re-Living: the Beginning of the End of European Tolerance?

November 16, 2015

3

Extremism threatens everyone, but ordinary citizens who happen to be Muslim have the most to lose. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, we wrote the following piece.  Now, following the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, it seems more relevant than ever.  Extremist violence in Europe is escalating, and nowhere is this more […]

Cultural Appropriation: I’m Drawing the Line… ALL the Way Back.

July 13, 2015

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I have traveled the world, and there is a lot to love. If I want to wear, eat, own, use, or display anything that takes my fancy, from ANYWHERE… I will. You can stuff your “cultural appropriation” right where the sun don’t shine. A friend recently pushed my buttons on this topic by telling me […]

How to Boost Clothing Sales: Block Cell Signals in the Fitting Rooms

June 1, 2015

4

How much revenue is lost to the Selfish Selfie? The other day, I enjoyed a rare stroke of good fortune in the jeans department: my size, the elusive 6P, was in stock! Still, jeans are something you really need to try on before buying, so I grabbed a pair and headed to the fitting rooms. […]

Lila in the Land of the Giants

March 16, 2015

3

What if pickle jars came with lids that were 8″ in diameter? What if countertops were four feet high? What if chairs and toilets were three feet high? What if leaf-blower handles were as big around as mayonnaise jars, or steps were a standard 12″ high? Welcome to my world.   It has been noted […]

Top 20 Film Performances of 2014

February 27, 2015

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By Luther Elmo As promised on Monday, here are the top 20 performances in film for 2014. Like the films themselves, there was a very strong lot from which to select, but unsurprisingly, most of these were drawn from films that I highlighted previously (proving that in most cases, it’s the characters we respond to, […]

The Top 20 Films of 2014

February 23, 2015

2

By Luther Elmo   Once a year at Oscar time, I compile my own list for the best films of the previous year. I used to just pick from within the group that had actually received Oscar nominations; however, it soon became apparent that the Academy did not necessarily reward nominations based solely on achievement […]

10-4, Driver: CB Radios Still Have Their Uses

February 9, 2015

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Many years ago, when cell phones were still as big as your head and probably cost as much as your car, my husband and I were reassigned from one coast of the US to the other coast.  We decided to drive our two vehicles in our own mini-convoy, and bought two CB radios for this […]

Clash of Civilizations: Will Long-Term Peace Require Segregation?

January 19, 2015

7

Are conservative Islam and Western liberalism fundamentally incompatible? To understand what is really happening in Europe now, and where it is likely headed, I urge everyone to read two articles: Samuel Huntington’s 1993 article in Foreign Policy, “Clash of Civilizations?“, and Damon Linker’s current piece in The Week, “Can Islam Ever Make Peace With Liberalism?” […]

“I Am Charlie” May Signal the Beginning of the End of European Tolerance

January 12, 2015

6

Extremism threatens everyone, but ordinary citizens who happen to be Muslim have the most to lose.   The extremist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo staff and a Kosher grocery in Paris mark a tipping point in Europe. It has been building for years: ethnic Europeans have become increasingly frustrated and angry with escalating intrusions of […]

Dinner Movie Theater: Nothing Like Dinner Theater

December 19, 2014

1

… and I didn’t even really like dinner theater, either. Lila does not often attend live theater, but way back in college, I had occasion to attend a dinner-theater production. It was a formal affair, with coats and ties and crisp tablecloths and candlelight, all very subdued to allow for almost full attention to the […]

Moving Hiatus! Meanwhile, Back to…. The Unpretentious Elitist

August 22, 2014

1

All, the big week is here!  Lila and Hubby are busy packing, boxing, driving, unpacking, unboxing, and hopefully not killing each other in the process.  At the end of it all we should… I hope… have our new dream home all set up and running smoothly.  As Lila’s computer is somewhere in between here and […]

Dear Girls: Boys are Not Neutered Ken Dolls, and Yes, That’s Why Dress Codes are Smart

June 13, 2014

6

Women seem to have unfair and unrealistic expectations that men should be a bunch of neutered Ken dolls until – and only until – we want them to be otherwise.   With warmer weather, there have been a few incidents of schoolgirls being disciplined for violating school dress codes. The girls, often backed by their […]

Can We Just Get Back to Smiling Normally for Pictures?

February 10, 2014

23

Is personal dignity in photographs mortally wounded?  First it was the weird fake gang-like hand signs (or signs that have crass sexual meanings); then it was the ridiculous kissy-face expression which has spawned numerous references to “whores of the Internet,” or “duckfaces.”  It seems that this pose is widely mocked and reviled, but that hasn’t […]

Gypsies, Stereotypes, Offense, and Truth (Updated)

October 21, 2013

15

Back in the days when parents still told their children fairy tales and scary stories at bedtime, the old saw about Gypsies stealing children was a staple (one famous example was Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which Esmeralda had been kidnapped by Gypsies as a child).  I had never given the idea […]

In Honor of Oktoberfest: Trachtenmoden!

October 4, 2013

6

This weekend marks the final days of this year’s Oktoberfest.  Who hasn’t heard of this annual German festival, with its beer and bratwurst, its oom-pah bands and fest tents, and dirndl-clad women and lederhosen-clad men performing traditional Bavarian dances? When we were in Germany, we never did go to the “big Oktoberfest” in Munich.  What […]

Stay Out of My Driveway!

August 22, 2013

28

Maybe it’s some kind of equivalent to the crotchety old man yelling, “Hey, you kids!  Keep off my lawn!”  You have seen the signs as you drive around:  Keep Out.  No Trespassing.  Private Property.  Then there are the hand-lettered signs in spray paint, on plywood:  No Turning Around in Driveway!!!  and similar sentiments.  “Geez, touchy, […]

Future Scholars Discover Trove of Early-21st-Century Correspondence: OMG!

February 15, 2013

2

Our Valentine’s Week of Letters is drawing to a close today.  We have celebrated the beauty, durability, and deep sentiment of the hand-written word, and we have lamented the impending loss of it now that schools are no longer teaching cursive.  Much of today’s youth sees no reason to master any form of handwriting, eschewing […]

It’s Official: “Terrorist” is the Most Inappropriately Over-Used Word in American English

January 25, 2013

5

Time to retire this useless and harmful word ter-ror-ism, noun \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\  :   the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. —ter·ror·ist   adjective or noun —ter·ror·is·tic   adjective The word “terrorist” has a definition, but how we apply it has always been a little fuzzy.  Scholars and professionals might argue the finer distinctions among […]

Yes, Indian Culture DOES Contribute to Rapes Like the Delhi Case

January 4, 2013

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Rape is about violence and domination.  It is not – not – about sex.  Now that details are emerging about the horrific attack in Delhi, anyone who thinks otherwise is being willfully blind.  Beating a man and a woman into bloody unconsciousness with an iron bar is not sex.  It is violence.  And ramming that […]

The Obliteration of Thanksgiving, and Halloween is Next

November 20, 2012

10

Fall and winter used to have a certain stately holiday pace to them: first came Halloween, with its witches and goblins, skeletons and black cats.  The venerable pumpkin and the reds, yellows and oranges of Autumn rolled smoothly into Thanksgiving.  There used to be actual Thanksgiving decorations: turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, cornucopias.  People gave the holiday […]

Egypt: A Pretty Bad Place to Be A Woman

September 10, 2012

10

When I was a girl of about 12 years old, there was an Egyptian diplomat who lived near us, and had a daughter of a similar age.  We were sometime friends and playmates, and she seemed to blend in with the other neighborhood girls.  She wore shorts, her English was good, we giggled over the […]

Wanna Kill Someone in Virginia? That’ll Be $20. If You Do It While Texting and Driving.

September 3, 2012

7

The Virginia Assembly has some work to do. Following up on last week’s distracted driving article:  remember how we said that texting and driving is so very like drunk driving used to be?  Light penalties, if any at all?  Well, my own proud state of Virginia has just given us a vivid illustration of that […]

Distracted Driving: It Was Just an Accident, Right?

August 27, 2012

10

Why we need to shame distracted drivers Since time immemorial, people have gone out, gotten drunk, and staggered home on foot or let their horses find the way.  Once cars were invented, it didn’t seem to occur to anyone that the pattern should change at all… until Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in […]