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#1: [I] LCM & Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-22 12:15:31 by steelcat

Right, after two attempts to post this, it still doesn't appear on either
Demon or The Cursed Google Groups. so I'm trying a fresh thread. My usual
apologies to anyone who *is* getting my invisible posts...

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:MPG.1f2b4651435b57d498969e&#64;news.sasktel.net" target="_blank">MPG.1f2b4651435b57d498969e&#64;news.sasktel.net</a>&gt;,
raymond larsson &lt;<a href="mailto:raglegumm&#64;sasktel.net.invalid" target="_blank">raglegumm&#64;sasktel.net.invalid</a>&gt; wrote:

&gt;In article &lt;<a href="mailto:C0E6E047966878FDC&#64;192.168.0.2" target="_blank">C0E6E047966878FDC&#64;192.168.0.2</a>&gt;, The Stainless Steel Cat
&gt;says...
&gt;
&gt;&gt; I was once asked - as part of a group - by a non-Scottish lecturer, who the
&gt;&gt; greatest Scot of all time was. The others replied with answers along the
&gt;&gt; lines of, &quot;William Wallace&quot;, &quot;Rabbie Burns&quot;, &quot;Bonnie Prince Charlie&quot; or
&gt;&gt; &quot;Robert The Bruce&quot;. My answer was James Clerk Maxwell.
&gt;
&gt;But! James Clerk Maxwell wasn't a Scot , he was a mathematical
&gt;physicist; the very epitome of intellect, the pinnacle of evolution, the
&gt;culmination of Man's Striving. That he may have been born in Scotland,
&gt;lived there and had a Scottish name is irrelevant, inconsequential, a
&gt;Bagatelle.

That was kind of my point.

If you *have* to support this ridiculous idea of nations and &quot;my people are
better than/different to yours&quot; - and I have to admit we're probably stuck
with it for many generations to come - even then, there are much better
people or things to admire than most people seem to.

But frankly I'd rather dump the whole notion. Given the size of this very
hostile Universe, even six billion is far too small a number of people to
start splitting into smaller groups depending on race, culture, religion,
favourite TV programme or random bit of geography that they were born on.

Cat.
--
Jazz-Loving Soul Mate and Tolerable Frog to CCA
&quot;Buggers. They come over here with their... with their... with their
special trousers and they think they're so... and they, and they're all
just... Bugger.&quot;

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#2: Re: [I] LCM & Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-22 12:32:02 by steelcat

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:C0E7B9539668116CEE&#64;192.168.0.2" target="_blank">C0E7B9539668116CEE&#64;192.168.0.2</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:steelcat&#64;atuin.demon.co.uk" target="_blank">steelcat&#64;atuin.demon.co.uk</a> (The Stainless Steel Cat) wrote:

&gt;Right, after two attempts to post this, it still doesn't appear on either
&gt;Demon or The Cursed Google Groups. so I'm trying a fresh thread. My usual
&gt;apologies to anyone who *is* getting my invisible posts...

Plus, according to the subject line, I seem to have lost the ability to
spell the letter 'J'.

What a lackass.

Cat.
--
Jazz-Loving Soul Mate and Tolerable Frog to CCA
Yes, I've read a poem. Try not to faint.

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#3: Re: [I] LCM & Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-22 13:59:07 by Daibhid Ceannaideach

The time: 22 Jul 2006. The place: alt.fan.pratchett. The
speaker: <a href="mailto:steelcat&#64;atuin.demon.co.uk" target="_blank">steelcat&#64;atuin.demon.co.uk</a> (The Stainless Steel Cat)

&gt; Right, after two attempts to post this, it still doesn't
&gt; appear on either Demon or The Cursed Google Groups. so I'm
&gt; trying a fresh thread. My usual apologies to anyone who
&gt; *is* getting my invisible posts...

I am! Apology accepted.

--
Dave
Official Absentee of EU Skiffeysoc
<a href="http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/societies/sesoc" target="_blank">http://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/societies/sesoc</a>
&quot;If being stuck in a swamp with Christine Hamilton
is 'reality', pass the mind-altering drugs.&quot;
-Humphrey Lyttelton, &quot;I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue&quot;

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#4: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 01:24:31 by Nigel Stapley

The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

&gt;
&gt; If you *have* to support this ridiculous idea of nations

What exactly is 'ridiculous' about it, Cat? We *all* come from
somewhere, and we're all influenced by that 'somewhere'. We all have our
roots, and they all have their effect on us, even if some would prefer
that they didn't. None of us emanates from a cultural or social vacuum.

&gt; and &quot;my people are
&gt; better than/different to yours&quot;

'Different to' is fine: it's usually a 'fact on the ground', as it were,
nothing more. 'Better than' is the problem. Some nations/cultures are
better than others *at certain things*. This is very different to the
obnoxious idea that any given culture is better than others in
*everything* (which, of course, is what you're referring to). That sort
of arrogance leads us to the crass, arrogant exceptionalism that is the
recurring undertone of the 'official' projection of identity in the US
and Israel, amongst others.

&gt; there are much better
&gt; people or things to admire than most people seem to.

Wouldn't necessarily quibble with that at all. Those in positions of
power and influence, however, know that the 'masses' (for want of a more
precise but less *con*cise term) can be easily steered by xenophobia
masquerading as patriotism. That gives genuine identity with one's
origins a bad name.

&gt;
&gt; But frankly I'd rather dump the whole notion.


Observation: I tend to hear this a lot from people whose own native
culture (or their adopted one) is in a dominant position in the world.
Anglophones (just to give the example nearest to hand - I daresay the
same could be said of the French, Spanish and others) tend to *appear*
to dismiss the significance of national/cultural identity, but
underlying it is the assumption that, if everyone else were to decide to
dump their *own* identity/culture, that it would be *their* (that is,
those making the assumption's) culture/identity that everyone else would
adopt. With the rise of India and China to greater significance, a lot
of people might be in for a nasty shock in the next 50 years or so :-).

I see it rather differently, and I suspect that most people from
'non-dominant' cultures may well do, too.

I'll go on a bijou rantette about this now, if that's OK with the rest
of you...

I was born in Wales, in an area which by that time (early 1960s) was
quite Anglicised, and which has become almost totally so in my lifetime.
Three of my four grandparents were Welsh (the other - my paternal
grandfather - was from Hastings). Only one of the three (to my
knowledge) spoke Welsh (my *maternal* grandfather). He, however, did not
pass the language on to his children (five, if you count only the ones
who survived to adulthood), as it had been dinned in to Welsh speakers
that their language was moribund, its speakers in some way backward, and
that they *and* it were totally unsuited to 'progress' and 'the modern
world'. So it was that my mother had no knowledge of the language to
pass on to me and my brother, and that what little my father had came
from his youth doing seasonal work on farms in strongly Welsh-speaking
areas.

I can't describe the process which led me to become fluent in the
language, because even now I'm not clear about it myself. Nonetheless, I
did, via A-levels and university. Having not been raised in the
language, however, I know that, even after all these years, there are
still some embarrassing gaps in my knowledge, and enormous gaps in my
knowledge of Welsh-language culture.

Now, I'm not going to go off on one about the vicious, nasty English
imposing their language upon us, as our own forebears were quite often
more than willing participants in their own cultural deracination.

My point with all this (apart from trying to point out that condemning a
language and/or culture because it is not economically useful enough is
a particularly reductive and uncivilised way of looking at the matter)
is that, in my view, where you come from (culturally or geographically)
*does* matter. I don't consider myself to be intrinsically 'better' than
my elder brother, who has never learned the language, or his (grown-up)
children (ditto). But it means that I have easier access to 16/17ths of
the history and culture of the country we belong to than *they* do, and
I think that that is important. I don't think you can be really secure
in your own identity as an individual unless you have a firm root in
your identity as a member of a society or culture with a shared
inheritance. This may be why one of the first actions of colonial powers
in the past (and possibly in the present, too) is to try to impose the
colonial culture on the 'natives', and imply that the 'natives'' own
culture is, ipso facto, instrinsically 'inferior'.

Of course, the dominant cultures never openly espouse 'nationalism'.
Americans don't call themselves 'American nationalists', for example. If
they need a term, they call themselves 'Pay-triots'. Ditto the English
(1). They call themselves 'Proud Englishmen' or 'True Englishmen'. The
only people who openly call themselves 'English Nationalists' tend to be
far-right racial obsessives whose knuckles bear the scars from many a
long day spent dragging said parts along the ground.

And so, for this reason, those of us who are from non-dominant cultures
and nations (or, to call a digging implement a digging implement,
'colonies') and who call ourselves 'nationalists' because we believe in
the right of our own nation (and *all* others, BTW) to determine its own
destiny, and that the nation is a key construct in human society - a
'community of communities', if you will, can so easily be dismissed by
being lumped in with the Brutish Nutter Party and their ilk. The Labour
Party in Wales has always been very successful in using this tactic,
despite the overwhelming irony of that party's slavish adherence to what
one might term 'British Nationalism'.

I'm now going to shut up, and wait for others to strongly disagree with
me, and win by being more capable of making their arguments than I am of
making my own...

(1) Yes, I know, generalisations, but I'm trying to be as brief as I can
here...and failing.

--
Regards

Nigel Stapley

www.judgemental.plus.com

&lt;reply-to will bounce&gt;

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#5: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 01:42:56 by alec

In article &lt;44c2b3b0$0$22130$<a href="mailto:ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net" target="_blank">ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a> says...
&gt; The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:
&gt;
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; If you *have* to support this ridiculous idea of nations
&gt;
&gt; What exactly is 'ridiculous' about it, Cat? We *all* come from
&gt; somewhere, and we're all influenced by that 'somewhere'. We all have our
&gt; roots, and they all have their effect on us, even if some would prefer
&gt; that they didn't. None of us emanates from a cultural or social vacuum.

What is ridiculous is tying it to arbitrary lines on the ground.
Apparently, if you are born 100 yards north of the England/Scotland
border, you should be proud of James Clerk Maxwell, whereas if you are
born 100 yards south of that same line you should be proud of Sir Isaac
Newton. But you are the same person, plus or minus two hundred hards,
growing up in the same community. And neither of those two entirely
admirable gentlemen has contributed more to your upbringing than they
have to the rest of the world.

By all means, stufy and be interested in the cultures (definite plural
here) which have contributed to your upbringing. But to conflate the
Welsh culture, dating back millennia, with the current nation of Wales
as laid down by British law is not, IMO, sensible. The concept of a
cultural group, of a history, is sensible. The concept of a nation,
defined by lines on the ground, is not. But is often used by people in a
negative manner.

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#6: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 13:52:02 by Nigel Stapley

Alec Cawley wrote:
&gt; In article &lt;44c2b3b0$0$22130$<a href="mailto:ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net" target="_blank">ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net</a>&gt;,
&gt; <a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a> says...
&gt;&gt; The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:
&gt;&gt;
&gt;&gt;&gt; If you *have* to support this ridiculous idea of nations
&gt;&gt; What exactly is 'ridiculous' about it, Cat? We *all* come from
&gt;&gt; somewhere, and we're all influenced by that 'somewhere'. We all have our
&gt;&gt; roots, and they all have their effect on us, even if some would prefer
&gt;&gt; that they didn't. None of us emanates from a cultural or social vacuum.
&gt;
&gt; What is ridiculous is tying it to arbitrary lines on the ground.
&gt; Apparently, if you are born 100 yards north of the England/Scotland
&gt; border, you should be proud of James Clerk Maxwell, whereas if you are
&gt; born 100 yards south of that same line you should be proud of Sir Isaac
&gt; Newton. But you are the same person, plus or minus two hundred hards,
&gt; growing up in the same community. And neither of those two entirely
&gt; admirable gentlemen has contributed more to your upbringing than they
&gt; have to the rest of the world.
&gt;
&gt; By all means, stufy and be interested in the cultures (definite plural
&gt; here) which have contributed to your upbringing. But to conflate the
&gt; Welsh culture, dating back millennia, with the current nation of Wales
&gt; as laid down by British law is not, IMO, sensible. The concept of a
&gt; cultural group, of a history, is sensible. The concept of a nation,
&gt; defined by lines on the ground, is not. But is often used by people in a
&gt; negative manner.

Many of those 'arbitrary' lines *weren't* arbitrary at the time. They
were due to the boundaries of landowning patterns in the early C16,
which in turn were not arbitrary themselves when *they* were set down
way back when. This is why the Wales/England border is 'intractably
squiggly', for example.

The older boundaries separating countries also reflect to a quite
substantial degree the actual cultural/social (1) boundaries at the time
they were set down.

In more 'modern' times, of course, we've become so much more 'organised'
and 'civilised', and have just done it by drawing convenient and
efficient straight lines on maps. That's how we have ended up with such
wonderfully successful constructs as Iraq and Kansas, which has what has
helped give the notion of 'borders' a bad name.

'Boundary conditions', in geopolitics as in physics, do produce odd
results. I wouldn't seek to deny that. But what has occurred within
those boundaries is a direct consequence of the existence of those
boundaries in the first place, as they delineate the extent of
political, cultural and (at least in former times) economic power.

The issue of one culture's 'territory' shading into that of another is
further complicated if there is an unevenness in the power relationship
between them. The borders between, say, country A and country B, and
between A and country C are far more permeable and mutable (in a 'facts
on the ground' sense, rather than a 'line on the ground' sense) if
country A has an inbalance of power firmly in its favour in both cases.

Such is the case on this island. There was a period when the fit between
my country's 'cultural' makeup and it's formal borders was not too far
off the mark. In my lifetime alone (and the process had started way
before that), I have seen the cultural boundary shift massively
westwards. The political boundary, had it followed that shift, would now
run from the eastern outskirts of the City of Bangor diagonally across
to Bala, then more or less due south to about Llanelli, then curve
sharply back on itself to the Teifi estuary. And even then, you'd have
all sorts of strange little enclaves within it like, for example,
Barmouth. The reason that it doesn't is simply because politics doesn't
keep up with reality, and the present 'cultural' boundary is the direct
consequence of the power imbalance I referred to above.

There *must* be boundaries, however. Every culture or nation must have a
local habitation and a name. It/they, being human constructs, must have
what humans as individuals and groups also need: a sense of their own
'territory', a place where they feel secure. How else would you do it?
Or would you (I don't mean you personally, Aelc, I mean the general
plural, 'youse') just view the erosion of a culture's territory as just
'one of those things'? Surely each and every culture on this planet is
more important than that, or at least deserves more consideration that that?



(1) I won't use the word 'ethnic' here, because it is far too often
appropriated for the wrong use. Being coupled with the word 'quaint'
being just one of them.
--
Regards

Nigel Stapley

www.judgemental.plus.com

&lt;reply-to will bounce&gt;

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#7: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 14:34:13 by alec

In article &lt;44c362e4$0$69358$<a href="mailto:ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net" target="_blank">ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a> says...

&gt; There *must* be boundaries, however. Every culture or nation must have a
&gt; local habitation and a name. It/they, being human constructs, must have
&gt; what humans as individuals and groups also need: a sense of their own
&gt; 'territory', a place where they feel secure. How else would you do it?
&gt; Or would you (I don't mean you personally, Aelc, I mean the general
&gt; plural, 'youse') just view the erosion of a culture's territory as just
&gt; 'one of those things'? Surely each and every culture on this planet is
&gt; more important than that, or at least deserves more consideration that that?

I disagree. I am entirely in favour of maintaining cultural diversity
and encouraging people to maintain their culture, while also respecting
those of others. But I am against associating those cultures with lines
on the ground. IMO cultures do not mhave hard and fast boundaries, and
the attemmpts to make thenm do so can cause great grief. Cultural groups
interleave with each other, and the attempt to draw lines on the ground
and say &quot;these acres belong to culture A and those to culture B&quot; are
inherently damaging.

Take, for example, the Kurds. Split actoss three countries; in each
country, the majority of the territory they occupy they share with a
group which is a majority in the country they form part of. If you tried
to form a united Kurdistan, they would then have large minorities of
Turks and Arabs within their &quot;nation&quot;: in fact, Turks + Arabs might
outnumber Kurds, though Kurds outnumbered each separately.

Allegedly there is no square inch of land which has been Poland since
the country was first formed; the boundaries have moved backwards and
forwards beteween Russian and German power blocks. But there is still a
Polish identity.

The Northern Ireland problem was cause by drawing a line round a
cultural group (Unionists) and proclaimin a &quot;nation&quot; that included large
enclaves of a different cultural group (Republicans).

And the drawing of lines on the ground gives ammunition to those who
demand that those who move should drop their cultural background. The
Tebbit Test: who do &quot;immigrants&quot; support in sports. He implies that
those who regard England as home must drop their roots and support the
English team. I am quite happy with the idea of multiple cultural
identites, supported by who you are, not by the particular spot on the
earth you happened to be born. So it is perfectly all right for someone
bor in the UK to be both English and Pakistani, even if they have never
visited the patch of earth called &quot;their nation&quot; in their life. If they
belong to both communities, they have both identities. OTOH, my cousin,
born in the US while his parents were on a two-year secondment, is
definitely not American - all his conscious upbringing was in the UK.

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#8: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 15:17:47 by steelcat

In article &lt;44c362e4$0$69358$<a href="mailto:ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net" target="_blank">ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net</a>&gt;,
Nigel Stapley &lt;<a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a>&gt; wrote:

Alec and Unet's posts haven't yet arrived here so I'll reply in this post
and hope I keep the attributions clear...

&gt;Alec Cawley wrote:
&gt;&gt; In article &lt;44c2b3b0$0$22130$<a href="mailto:ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net" target="_blank">ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net</a>&gt;,
&gt;&gt; <a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a> says...
&gt;&gt;&gt; The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:
&gt;&gt;&gt;
&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; If you *have* to support this ridiculous idea of nations
&gt;&gt;&gt; What exactly is 'ridiculous' about it, Cat? We *all* come from
&gt;&gt;&gt; somewhere, and we're all influenced by that 'somewhere'. We all have our
&gt;&gt;&gt; roots, and they all have their effect on us, even if some would prefer
&gt;&gt;&gt; that they didn't. None of us emanates from a cultural or social vacuum.

But where do you stop? I my town, I was brought up not to walk down certain
streets because they had a different cuture to the one I notionally called
my own. That was based on certain sects of the dominant religion, but there
were other places in the town where the same effect was caused by what
country the people living in the street had come from one or two
generations before.

I have no hesitation in condemning this as cultural stupidity. Further, I
don't see any difference when you scale that up to countries.

&gt;&gt; What is ridiculous is tying it to arbitrary lines on the ground.
&gt;&gt; Apparently, if you are born 100 yards north of the England/Scotland
&gt;&gt; border, you should be proud of James Clerk Maxwell, whereas if you are
&gt;&gt; born 100 yards south of that same line you should be proud of Sir Isaac
&gt;&gt; Newton.

Absolutely. Though as far as English heroes go, I'd be torn between Newton
and Turing.

&gt;Many of those 'arbitrary' lines *weren't* arbitrary at the time. They
&gt;were due to the boundaries of landowning patterns in the early C16,
&gt;which in turn were not arbitrary themselves when *they* were set down
&gt;way back when. This is why the Wales/England border is 'intractably
&gt;squiggly', for example.

Borders set a few hundred years ago seem pretty insignificant when compared
to the time humanish creatures have been around (~6 million years?) never
mind compared to the age of the Earth (~4.5 billion years). I have little
expectation most current borders will still be the same in a few thousand
years.

OTOH I have every expectation that the theories of Newton and Maxwell will
still be around in some form.

&gt;There *must* be boundaries, however. Every culture or nation must have a
&gt;local habitation and a name. It/they, being human constructs, must have
&gt;what humans as individuals and groups also need: a sense of their own
&gt;'territory', a place where they feel secure. How else would you do it?
&gt;Or would you (I don't mean you personally, Aelc, I mean the general
&gt;plural, 'youse') just view the erosion of a culture's territory as just
&gt;'one of those things'? Surely each and every culture on this planet is
&gt;more important than that, or at least deserves more consideration that that?

My contention is that we're just too few on this planet to split ourselves
up this way. The example above where you could walk down one street in a
green T-shirt in perfect safety, but if you ventured into the next street
along without changing into a blue T-shirt, you would get your head kicked
in, hopefully seems an insane situation to most people, but I really can't
see any difference between that and neighbouring countries getting worked
up over petty differences in their cultures. (Sorry, very long sentence
there.)

I say set the boundary for our culture as a sphere with its surface sixty
miles above ground. Anyone living within that border is too alike to make
any issue of differences, and the sooner people realise that, the better.

To put it another way, I'm happy to be aware of the cultural background I
was raised in, and learning the history of that culture is fine too, but it
isn't something I can be proud of any more than I can be proud of the fact
that 1+1=2, or that people generally have ten fingers.

Cat.
--
Jazz-Loving Soul Mate and Tolerable Frog to CCA
I am a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar.

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#9: Re: [I] National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 16:37:23 by Flesh-eating Dragon

The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

&gt; I have little expectation most current borders will still be the
&gt; same in a few thousand years.

* Europe in the year 1000 (approximately a thousand years ago):
<a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm</a>

* Europe in the year 1300 (zillions of borders, what with the collapse
of the holy roman empire combined with the mongolian hordes in the
east): <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm</a>

* Europe in 1900 (hardly any time ago, world war one not long to come):
<a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm</a>

As you can see, all of the above maps are virtually identical to each
other, and also to Europe as we know it today. So why would you not
expect the borders to remain just as stationary for a thousand years
to come?

Adrian.

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#10: Re: National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 17:11:22 by Anke

8'FED wrote:
&gt; The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:
&gt;
&gt; &gt; I have little expectation most current borders will still be
&gt; &gt; the same in a few thousand years.
&gt;
&gt; * Europe in the year 1000 (approximately a thousand years
&gt; ago): <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt; * Europe in the year 1300 (zillions of borders, what with the
&gt; collapse of the holy roman empire combined with the
&gt; mongolian hordes in the east):
&gt; <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt; * Europe in 1900 (hardly any time ago, world war one not
&gt; long to come): <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt; As you can see, all of the above maps are virtually identical
&gt; to each other, and also to Europe as we know it today.

Sorry, I can't tell... do you mean that, or is it sarcasm?

&gt; So why would you not expect the borders to remain just as
&gt; stationary for a thousand years to come?

She said &quot;A FEW thousand years&quot; (emphasis mine).

Anke

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#11: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 17:17:00 by SteveD

On Sun, 23 Jul 2006 12:52:02 +0100, Nigel Stapley
&lt;<a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a>&gt; wrote:

&gt;In more 'modern' times, of course, we've become so much more 'organised'
&gt;and 'civilised', and have just done it by drawing convenient and
&gt;efficient straight lines on maps. That's how we have ended up with such
&gt;wonderfully successful constructs as Iraq and Kansas, which has what has
&gt; helped give the notion of 'borders' a bad name.

Much easier for those of us who live on islands, of course. Or where the
cultures on each side of the border are similar enough not to matter. Or
where the borders (state or national) pass through mainly uninhabited
areas, so the rate of cultural transmission would be low anyway.

While I would personally be pleased to see political borders vanish
completely, with everyone in the world deciding which (if any) government
or administrative divisions they wished to be a part of, there still
remains the necessities of geographical administration. In other words, if
an area needs to be cleaned up, maintained, or a service provided for it,
it's in everyone's best interests to have just one administrative body
looking after it to prevent spontaneous SEP fields from forming.

As a result of this viewpoint, I'm cautiously in favour of developments
such as the EU, where local governments can get on with looking after
their local patch and not have to waste their time (and their taxpayers'
money) handling stuff like harsh border controls and currency exchange.

If it wasn't for the fact that people go nuts with power, and politicians
don't have to answer to psychological or performance assessments, I'd
almost encourage the idea of a world government, or at least a global
administrative division of some kind. Unfortunately, I don't know of any
cultures or countries which have managed to concoct a method of government
which really *works*. I strongly suspect that it will take a minimum of
200 years (and potentially much longer) before technology changes us
enough socially and psychologically to achieve a stable, workable
solution. And there are going to be some really nasty dead ends in the
meantime.


-SteveD

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#12: Re: [I] National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 17:37:15 by steelcat

In article &lt;ea01kn$21q5$<a href="mailto:1&#64;mud.stack.nl" target="_blank">1&#64;mud.stack.nl</a>&gt;,
&quot;8'FED&quot; &lt;<a href="mailto:dragon&#64;netyp.com.au" target="_blank">dragon&#64;netyp.com.au</a>&gt; wrote:

&gt;The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:
&gt;
&gt;&gt; I have little expectation most current borders will still be the
&gt;&gt; same in a few thousand years.
&gt;
&gt;* Europe in the year 1000 (approximately a thousand years ago):
&gt; <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt;* Europe in the year 1300 (zillions of borders, what with the collapse
&gt; of the holy roman empire combined with the mongolian hordes in the
&gt; east): <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm</a>

Heh. I like the &quot;Sultanate of Bougie&quot;. That sounds like a funky place to
be.

&gt;* Europe in 1900 (hardly any time ago, world war one not long to come):
&gt; <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt;As you can see, all of the above maps are virtually identical to each
&gt;other, and also to Europe as we know it today. So why would you not
&gt;expect the borders to remain just as stationary for a thousand years
&gt;to come?

Virtually identical? You think?

I would say the Iberian Peninsula changed quite a bit, the states of
Germany have had a series of border changes since they were part of the
Holy Roman Empire, the profusion of mediaeval states around the Alps is
pretty impressive, Eastern Europe/Balkans look pretty different to me,
plus, if you looked at the bottom two thirds of Britain around AD900 you
would have seen maybe a dozen kingdoms stretching up to what is now
Edinburgh rather than the fairly static picture since.

Sorry Dragon, but I think those maps support my point.

It would be interesting to look at maps of the Americas over the same
period.

Cat.
--
Jazz-Loving Soul Mate and Tolerable Frog to CCA
Some people juggle geese.

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#13: Re: National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 18:02:21 by Flesh-eating Dragon

Anke wrote:
&gt; 8'FED wrote:

&gt;&gt; As you can see, all of the above maps are virtually identical
&gt;&gt; to each other, and also to Europe as we know it today.
&gt;
&gt; Sorry, I can't tell... do you mean that, or is it sarcasm?

It is not sarcasm. [1]

&gt;&gt; So why would you not expect the borders to remain just as
&gt;&gt; stationary for a thousand years to come?
&gt;
&gt; She said &quot;A FEW thousand years&quot; (emphasis mine).

Yeah, but now you're being almost as picky as I would be if I pointed
out that Cat is - so I am lead to believe - male. :-)

Adrian.

[1] It is, however, irony. To be more precise, I was agreeing with Cat
while using irony to pretend not to, for humorous purposes. I
really don't know how this could possibly have been more obvious
to someone who actually looked at the maps.

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#14: Re: [I] National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 19:07:42 by SteveD

On Mon, 24 Jul 2006 00:07:23 +0930, &quot;8'FED&quot; &lt;<a href="mailto:dragon&#64;netyp.com.au" target="_blank">dragon&#64;netyp.com.au</a>&gt; wrote:

&gt;The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:
&gt;
&gt;&gt; I have little expectation most current borders will still be the
&gt;&gt; same in a few thousand years.
&gt;
&gt;* Europe in the year 1000 (approximately a thousand years ago):
&gt; <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1000.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt;* Europe in the year 1300 (zillions of borders, what with the collapse
&gt; of the holy roman empire combined with the mongolian hordes in the
&gt; east): <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1300.htm</a>
&gt;
&gt;* Europe in 1900 (hardly any time ago, world war one not long to come):
&gt; <a href="http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm" target="_blank">http://www.euratlas.com/big/big1900.htm</a>

It'd be interesting to see an animation of how they've changed from year
to year over that time - seeing the major borders slide and wobble, and
the lesser ones erupt into spiderwebs before fading away again.


-SteveD

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#15: Re: -I- National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 20:39:13 by Anke

8'FED wrote:
&gt; Anke wrote:
&gt; &gt; 8'FED wrote:
&gt;
&gt; &gt;&gt; As you can see, all of the above maps are virtually
&gt; &gt;&gt; identical to each other, and also to Europe as we
&gt; &gt;&gt; know it today.
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; Sorry, I can't tell... do you mean that, or is it sarcasm?
&gt;
&gt; It is not sarcasm. [1]
&gt; [1] It is, however, irony. [...] I really don't know how this
&gt; could possibly have been more obvious to someone
&gt; who actually looked at the maps.

I did, that's why I was confused...
I'm afraid I've too often come across people who were 100%
convinced of ideas that seemed utterly weird to me. My
sarcasm/irony radar is all messed up.

&gt; &gt;&gt; So why would you not expect the borders to remain
&gt; &gt;&gt; just as stationary for a thousand years to come?
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; She said &quot;A FEW thousand years&quot; (emphasis mine).
&gt;
&gt; Yeah, but now you're being almost as picky as I would
&gt; be if I pointed out that Cat is - so I am lead to believe -
&gt; male. :-)

Nah, everyone knows all dogs are male and all cats are
female. ;P

Anke

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#16: Re: -I- National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 21:40:39 by Nigel Stapley

Anke wrote:

&gt;
&gt; Nah, everyone knows all dogs are male and all cats are
&gt; female. ;P

No, no, no!

All dogs are Australian, all cats are French.


--
Regards

Nigel Stapley

www.judgemental.plus.com

&lt;reply-to will bounce&gt;

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#17: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 22:17:55 by Nigel Stapley

Alec Cawley wrote:

&gt;IMO cultures do not mhave hard and fast boundaries, and
&gt; the attemmpts to make thenm do so can cause great grief. Cultural groups
&gt; interleave with each other, and the attempt to draw lines on the ground
&gt; and say &quot;these acres belong to culture A and those to culture B&quot; are
&gt; inherently damaging.

I wouldn't use the word 'interleave', rather I'd say 'interpenetrate'.

Which is all very well, so long as the cultures are of equivalent power
or status. Otherwise what you inevitably get is domination, and the less
powerful/prestigious culture tends to be edged out, either out of the
geographical location, or out of existence itself.

This is why the notion that Wales is (or could be) a 'bilingual' society
is such a sick joke: there can be no such thing (as it implies absolute
equality between the two languages) when all you have is a small bit of
state support and a varying degree of ethical or philosophical
commitment on one side, and all the power, influence and status of the
state and the mass media on the other.

As I said last time, all cultures need a place in which they feel
secure. When cultures are not secure, those who are members of it don't
feel secure. It is *that*, rather than the drawing of lines, which
causes the problem.

&lt;snip Kurds and ways&gt;

&gt; Allegedly there is no square inch of land which has been Poland since
&gt; the country was first formed; the boundaries have moved backwards and
&gt; forwards beteween Russian and German power blocks. But there is still a
&gt; Polish identity.

And is there any Polish identity to be found now in those areas which
have been Poland at some point, but aren't (administratively) any more?
Did the Poles in those areas assimilate, or did they leave for the area
within the redrawn boundaries, because there they could feel secure in
their identity?

&gt;
&gt; The Northern Ireland problem was cause by drawing a line round a
&gt; cultural group (Unionists) and proclaimin a &quot;nation&quot; that included large
&gt; enclaves of a different cultural group (Republicans).

That was far more to do with politics and religion than culture in the
sense that I would use the word. Culturally, there is very little
difference between Norn Irn and the 'Public.

&gt;
&gt; And the drawing of lines on the ground gives ammunition to those who
&gt; demand that those who move should drop their cultural background.

That doesn't mean that their analysis is correct. It certainly does not
justify pandering to it. I, too, believe in cultural diversity, which is
why I believe it important for *every* culture to have a place where it
can feel secure. Only when a culture and its members feel secure in
their own identity and homeland can they properly reach out to other
cultures (both within and outside their boundaries) in an open spirit.

This is why England is such a good example: by and large, the English
(1) have long felt very secure in their identity and in their
geographical home, and so the development of a multicultural society has
been comparatively less painful there than in many another country. It
is only at those times when, for whatever reasons (real or invented),
the English have felt their identity really threatened that antipathy
has gained any substantial foothold.

To go back to Norn Irn: the biggest problem there now is racism against
the non-white population. Much (but not all) of this seems to come from
the 'unionist' side. I don't think that it's a coincidence that they are
feeling more uncertain as to their future as a cultural entity than they
have in many a long age.

(1) define this as you will.
--
Regards

Nigel Stapley

www.judgemental.plus.com

&lt;reply-to will bounce&gt;

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#18: Re: -I- National borders // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-23 22:23:07 by steelcat

In article &lt;44c3d0b8$0$69398$<a href="mailto:ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net" target="_blank">ed2619ec&#64;ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net</a>&gt;,
Nigel Stapley &lt;<a href="mailto:unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com" target="_blank">unet&#64;judgemental.plus.com</a>&gt; wrote:

&gt;Anke wrote:
&gt;
&gt;&gt; Nah, everyone knows all dogs are male and all cats are
&gt;&gt; female. ;P

[Rummages around to check...]
Nope, definitely male.

&gt;No, no, no!
&gt;
&gt;All dogs are Australian, all cats are French.

Humph! You're a great big, silly old Hector... er, Nigel.

Cat.
--
Jazz-Loving Soul Mate and Tolerable Frog to CCA
Lolloping landlubbers, look at the loot! There's enough booty there to bury
a brontosaurus!

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#19: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-23 23:42:49 by Julian Hall

On Sun, 23 Jul 2006 13:34:13 +0100, Alec Cawley wrote:

&gt; Take, for example, the Kurds. Split actoss three countries; in each
&gt; country, the majority of the territory they occupy they share with a
&gt; group which is a majority in the country they form part of. If you tried
&gt; to form a united Kurdistan, they would then have large minorities of
&gt; Turks and Arabs within their &quot;nation&quot;: in fact, Turks + Arabs might
&gt; outnumber Kurds, though Kurds outnumbered each separately.

I think there is a need to differentiate between long term community
movements which result in groupings to create boundary areas for their
communities, and artificial constructs. The difference between a natural
boundary such as the River Severn[2], and Hadrian's Wall[2] or Offa's
Dyke[3].

Iraq is an excellent example of a construct gone badly wrong IMHO. As I
understand it T.E. Lawrence had his own ideas of how the region now known
as Iraq should be partitioned[4]. His plan involved three separate
countries, the sizes being related to the relative populations of each
community.

Regrettably his advice was ignored, all three commnuties were lumped
together, and we have today's situation. IIRC Czechoslovakia was a
similar case. Wars do tend to have that effect, but I wonder how much
care is/was taken in the cold light of day after the guns fall silent.

History would suggest, not much.

[1] Forming part of the boundary between Wales and England
[2] Separating Roman held England from Scotland
[3] Ditto River Severn
[4] <a href="http://www.antiwar.com/orig/lawrence.php" target="_blank">http://www.antiwar.com/orig/lawrence.php</a>

--
Kind regards,

Julian Hall
&quot;I'm only on the planet because I missed the bus home&quot;

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#20: Re: [I] Politics of the future // was Cultural Pride

Posted on 2006-07-24 04:36:47 by Flesh-eating Dragon

SteveD wrote:

&gt; While I would personally be pleased to see political borders vanish
&gt; completely, with everyone in the world deciding which (if any) government
&gt; or administrative divisions they wished to be a part of, there still
&gt; remains the necessities of geographical administration. In other words, if
&gt; an area needs to be cleaned up, maintained, or a service provided for it,
&gt; it's in everyone's best interests to have just one administrative body
&gt; looking after it to prevent spontaneous SEP fields from forming.

But society and law only work if you have some notion of what is legal
or not for people around you. If people in the same community could
independently opt for the lawmaking body that suits them best, then
lack of maintenence getting done would be the least of your worries.

Far more worrying would be the insecurity of not knowing whether or
not it is legal for other people to commit atrocities against you
(obligatory Goons moment), according to the legal body to which they
have chosen to be subject.

Also, picture a street in which, for some people, it is illegal to
drive on the left, and for other people, it is illegal to drive on the
right. Not a pretty picture.

&gt; If it wasn't for the fact that people go nuts with power, and politicians
&gt; don't have to answer to psychological or performance assessments, I'd
&gt; almost encourage the idea of a world government, or at least a global
&gt; administrative division of some kind. Unfortunately, I don't know of any
&gt; cultures or countries which have managed to concoct a method of government
&gt; which really *works*. I strongly suspect that it will take a minimum of
&gt; 200 years (and potentially much longer) before technology changes us
&gt; enough socially and psychologically to achieve a stable, workable
&gt; solution.

I'll put my bets on &quot;never&quot;.

I think there'll always have to be a diversity of political systems,
and I think things would become awfully stagnant without that
diversity. I do not want a world in which one can no longer look at
different countries and say, &quot;That country over there has a neat idea
about how to do X - perhaps we should try it here&quot;.

Adrian.

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#21: Re: [I] Cultural Pride, was Dress Codes

Posted on 2006-07-24 06:04:02 by Mike Stevens

Julian Hall wrote:

&gt; I think there is a need to differentiate between long term community
&gt; movements which result in groupings to create boundary areas for their
&gt; communities, and artificial constructs. The difference between a
&gt; natural boundary such as the River Severn[2], and Hadrian's Wall[2]
&gt; or Offa's Dyke[3].

Hadrian's Wall and Offa's Dyke are built contrsucts, not natural boundaries.
I guess the very reason that each of them was built was because the
political boundary *wasn't* a natural one.


--
Mike Stevens
narrowboat Felis Catus III
web-site www.mike-stevens.co.uk

No man is an island. So is Man.

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