Saturday, November 17, 2007

Culture club...

I got into a discussion with some co-workers about culture (or lack of) in the bustling metropolis of Richland, WA.

One guy's idea of culture is drinking beer and going hunting with his buddies. He was also the first to admit that this doesn't exactly fit most people's definitions of culture. But it's a "cultural" activity that is pretty important to him, and one that is well within his reach, even in the western Washington desert.

Another co-worker represented the opposite end of the spectrum when he described how revolting it was to go to a live production of "the Nutcracker" that used -- are you ready for this? -- a pre-recorded soundtrack instead of a live symphony. (seriously! What kind of neanderthals!)

Anyway, my idea of culture are things that 1) make me think 2) open my eyes to something new 3) bring people together 4) represent the very best people have to offer.

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is good music. While there's a special place in my heart for pop music that brings people together, I usually retreat into more esoteric musical adventures that say things that I wish I could say (thoughtful lyrics are a MUST!) or amplify a mood. Ooo: amplify a mood! Like blasting Tick Tick Boom by the Hives after kicking some butt at an interview or getting pumped up for the bike ride home from work by listening to Eye of the Tiger (my evening ritual as I'm filling out my time report). And watching a home movie that shows everyone growing up to the song "100 years" by 5 for fighting has a way of making me appreciate the little things in life.

There's a lot more to culture for me, but now I want to hear from you. So, all right, audience participation time: What is culture to you? (this is the part where you click the "Comments" button at the end of the post).


Ronni said...

Are you desperate for people to comment?

descendent said...

Totally desperate. What's the fun of having a blog if nobody comments on it?

Actually, I can't complain because I've gotten a lot of great comments. So just some quick shout outs to (in no particular order):

1. Ronni
2. Benji
3. Daniel
4. Kenna
5. Chelsea
6. Whitney
7. Dan
8. cpc
9. Did I forget anyone?

Thanks for commenting!

Souza said...

This is awesome. Are you two communicating via blogs? Ya know, there are a LOT of more effective ways to communicate now-a-days. I suppose being married to and living with someone doesn't necessarily assure communication (you don't have to confirm this with Kendra)...

Culture? I would think that it is inexorably connected to sociality. Unfortunately, I've got no skillz with regard to either, and that being the case, will withold any further unenlightened comments.

Peace in the Middle East!

Kenna said...

I should at least be number 2 in your 'no particular order'list! So, culture, huh? I think it's an awesome learning experience. We are so used to our own culture that we don't even think of it in terms of 'culture'. We (or most people) are more intrigued by the cultures of others.
Culture is a way of life. A standard set by generations before you. It is observed through food, song, dance, dress, architecture, work ethic, etc. Being a resident of the United States, I have always wondered what our culture is. I guess that since we are the melting pot for all cultures, we don't truly have our own; we borrow from others.
That, in a nutshell, is what I think about culture. Of course, having the opportunity to visit different countries, and experience their culture firsthand has had an impact on how I think about it.

descendent said...

BS: Seriously, communicating with your spouse via blog. It's sad, isn't it? But on the bright side, if we had arguments this way, that could really diffuse things. By the time we got around to responding to the comments, we'd forget what we were arguing about.

Totally agree with you on culture being "inexorably connected to sociality", even though I had to look up "inexorably". Culture is not antisocial. Ironically, antisocial people like to get together with other antisocial people (even if it is just online) to talk about how antisocial they are.

Peace in the middle east... and schools and universities.

KW: If I really meant "in no particular order", I guess I shouldn't have bothered to number them... Kenna should DEFINITELY come before Daniel (sorry, pal), but I'd still have to put you behind Ronni and Benji.

I think you're spot on that we taking your own culture for granted. It's like it doesn't count as culture if it's "normal". Maybe that's why american culture looks so boring: we're too close to it. Or maybe we are just a bunch of culture-assimilators like the Romans (who basically stole Greek culture and re-named their gods). On the other hand, we (meaning, of course, a bunch of people I don't know) did invent Rock and Roll, almost every TV format, and the internet. All of which (in my mind) have something to do with culture.