Random Culture Thread

This forum is to learn about foreign cultures and habits, because language skills are not everything you need as a world citizen...

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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-11-17, 22:30

Staring can be an indicator that you're doing something wrong but certainly doesn't have to be! It could mean you're a social misfit in some way (I obviously am :lol:) or simply that you're in a place where staring is more common. I remember Meera saying to me once something like "I don't mean to be offensive, but I've noticed Indians staring a lot before." I think we often do that just out of curiosity when we see foreigners.

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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby dEhiN » 2017-11-18, 2:40

I feel like here in North America (or least here, in Toronto) staring is considered rude and something to be avoided. What I find interesting is that some people tend to be more sensitive to it, or notice someone starting at them much quicker than others. And from what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be a commonality to those who are more sensitive. Being raised Canadian, I try not to stare, though I admit to sometimes doing it.

One exception to this "rule" seems to be on roads, when an accident happens. It's almost a given that if there's an accident, especially on a highway/motorway, traffic will become backed up for miles/kilometres mostly or solely because people will slow down to take a look at what happened. It's like some sort of socially acceptable or justified morbid curiosity!
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-11-18, 4:17

I guess people stare because a) road accidents are inherently pretty interesting :twisted: and b) they're wondering what the hell was backing up traffic for so long! Of course, it is important just to be aware of your surroundings when that happens (and in general). I mean, you don't want to drive into a car that had an accident and make things even worse! :lol: Plus I guess there are other complications like making enough room for cops or whatever, and maybe there could be even more complications like having to avoid debris or checking to make sure that nobody involved in the accident needs your help urgently or something.

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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Naava » 2017-11-18, 8:29

vijayjohn wrote:Staring can be an indicator that you're doing something wrong but certainly doesn't have to be! It could mean you're a social misfit in some way (I obviously am :lol:) or simply that you're in a place where staring is more common.

Oh, I was talking about why Finns stare. I didn't say that very clearly, sorry! Anyway, we definitely have a special Disapproving Stare that is different from other types of stares. :lol:

Accidents are definitely stare-magnets. Also if you slip on a road and fall, it's likely someone will be looking (and grinning).
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-11-18, 12:57

vijayjohn wrote:I guess people stare because a) road accidents are inherently pretty interesting :twisted: and b) they're wondering what the hell was backing up traffic for so long! Of course, it is important just to be aware of your surroundings when that happens (and in general). I mean, you don't want to drive into a car that had an accident and make things even worse! :lol: Plus I guess there are other complications like making enough room for cops or whatever, and maybe there could be even more complications like having to avoid debris or checking to make sure that nobody involved in the accident needs your help urgently or something.

Traffic jams also happen on the other side of the motorway, where in theory traffic shouldn't be hindered in any way, if it wasn't for the fact that lots of people slow down to stare and cause long traffic jams that way.

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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-18, 15:27

In Chicago, the ensuing traffic jam is called a "gapers' block". The more widespread term for the practice is "rubbernecking" and it's nominally disapproved of but everyone does it anyway.

In German, the practice is Gaffen and the people who do it are Gaffer. Interesting given what I said above about Germans and staring that this happened there recently:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmGAm_PRYxQ
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby dEhiN » 2017-11-19, 22:31

I've definitely heard "rubbernecking" before. And for the traffic jam stuff, I was actually thinking more about those on the other side of the crash. It makes sense to me that traffic on the same side of the crash would slow down because, even not counting rubbernecking, there could be debris plus there's at least emergency personnel and the like on the road. But to have the other direction slow down? Especially on a highway stretch where there's a barrier in between the directions?
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Osias » 2017-11-22, 12:27

In Brazil, the story "the emperor's new clothes" is known as "a roupa nova do rei", what's intriguing because we never had kings, but two emperors.

But the really "random cultural" note on this is: most Brazilians would regard the scammers who sell the 'invisible' clothes to the emperor/king as heros. They would typically say "they are very smart guys, I wish *I* was so smart and make so much money easily". Even honest people who work in honest jobs and such often declare their admiration for the intelectual superiority of people who rob them in smart ways.
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-11-22, 17:09

Osias wrote:But the really "random cultural" note on this is: most Brazilians would regard the scammers who sell the 'invisible' clothes to the emperor/king as heros.

That's not too surprising. The con-men fit the trickster archetype, so they're not supposed to be villains but rather foils for the arrogant emperor. In the sense that they recognize the emperor's foolishness and do something about it, they aren't all that different from the little boy at the end.
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby bmw545 » 2017-11-22, 18:04

Nothing is more frustrating than a "gapers block"! This is coming from someone who lives in Chicago. Traffic will be held up for 20 minutes, just to find out that there is something happening not even ON the actual road.

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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-22, 18:09

YMMV. I'm more annoyed by Chicagoans' apparent inability to drive in the rain.

And in St Louis, it was the "sunshine delays" that got to me. Like get some shades, people!
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Osias » 2017-11-22, 18:22

Dormouse559 wrote:
Osias wrote:But the really "random cultural" note on this is: most Brazilians would regard the scammers who sell the 'invisible' clothes to the emperor/king as heros.

That's not too surprising. The con-men fit the trickster archetype, so they're not supposed to be villains but rather foils for the arrogant emperor. In the sense that they recognize the emperor's foolishness and do something about it, they aren't all that different from the little boy at the end.

Maybe, but Brazilians have this noticeable trait of idolizing criminals as heroes, the most famous example being Lampião.
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-11-22, 18:44

Osias wrote:Maybe, but Brazilians have this noticeable trait of idolizing criminals as heroes, the most famous example being Lampião.
Americans, too, you know. :P Stick it to the man!
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-22, 21:10

Osias wrote:Maybe, but Brazilians have this noticeable trait of idolizing criminals as heroes, the most famous example being Lampião.

Charles Manson, the Kray Twins, Grace O'Malley, James Mckenzie, Ned Kelly...
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Osias » 2017-11-22, 21:12

From those, I only know Manson by name and never saw anybody that idolizes him... :hmm:

It's difficult to me to determine if this is the a case of "some people do X" versus "most people do X".
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-22, 21:23

Osias wrote:From those, I only know Manson by name and never saw anybody that idolizes him...

Well, I've never heard of Lampião.

But let me ask: Is he so universally beloved in Brazil that you incorporated a tribute to him in your Olympic opening ceremonies?
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Osias » 2017-11-22, 21:48

linguoboy wrote:Well, I've never heard of Lampião.
That's not the same, our TVs show several American movies and series every single day, I don't yours show many Brazilian movies... I mean we know a lot of American famous people.

linguoboy wrote:But let me ask: Is he so universally beloved in Brazil that you incorporated a tribute to him in your Olympic opening ceremonies?

:hmm:

I didn't watch the whole ceremony but it seems probable. If not him, people with his cangaceiro hat singing some song, of one of his songs like Mulher Rendeira.
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-22, 22:00

Osias wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Well, I've never heard of Lampião.
That's not the same, our TVs show several American movies and series every single day, I don't yours show many Brazilian movies... I mean we know a lot of American famous people.

And that may be why you recognised the one famous American person on my list and not the famous English, Irish, Australian, or New Zealander.
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby Osias » 2017-11-22, 22:03

Yes.

Also, I concede Brazil and USA are very similar in many regards, but there seems to be a difference. I just can't prove it.
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Re: Random Culture Thread

Postby mōdgethanc » 2017-11-23, 2:39

linguoboy wrote:Parasols! (I.e. umbrellas when it's not raining.) When's the last time you've seen someone use one?

These were not really a thing growing up. People carried them on tv shows set in the Wild West. If you saw someone with an open umbrella on a sunny day, you thought they just had some weird aversion to sunlight. Now I see someone wielding one almost every day. It's almost always on campus and the person is invariably East Asian in appearance. If I overhear them speak, the language is usually Mandarin. So I guess they're still a thing in China? What about other parts of Asia?
In high school one of my friends was a goth who carried one because she had some kind of skin photosensitivity (and as well partly for the aesthetic). Other than that, it's only ever East Asian women, and rarely at that. I think they should be a thing again.
What were you taught about staring?
That white folks at least are hypersensitive about staring, for reasons I never fully understood. There's a weird dynamic (that autistic folks must find baffling) where staring any less than the required amount is incredibly rude and felt to be a snub, whereas staring any more is creepy and stalkerish. And even then, the right amount varies, so you just have to know. It's one of those "that's just the way it is" rules like that pointing with the index finger (at something far away, not even a person) is rude, but gesturing with the whole hand isn't, because reasons.


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