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Author Topic: miscellaneous musings  (Read 172480 times)

pwhodges

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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2900 on: 24 Jan 2019, 01:43 »

Remember this, and this?
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2901 on: 24 Jan 2019, 03:09 »

Nope. I think those news items must have passed me by.

Also -- what Case said! With an extra side of "yaaaaaaaugh!"

Eeeeeeeeep!

No, iz not just you ...


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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2902 on: 24 Jan 2019, 12:58 »

I have never had a snapchat account, nor facebook, nor etc etc etc...  nor wanted one.

These articles come to me as though from an alien world.
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Tova

Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2903 on: 24 Jan 2019, 14:00 »

I don't have a snapchat account, but I know a couple of people who do, and that's how I've seen what its filters do to photographs.

I think I hid my horror quite well. I am still pondering whether this was the right thing to do.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2904 on: 24 Jan 2019, 19:39 »

I wonder if they'd make mannequins or Barbie dolls look more realistic.  That would be something to try.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2905 on: 25 Jan 2019, 00:51 »

Snapchat has its pros and cons. Social media wise you can definitely do worse.
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LTK

Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2906 on: 29 Jan 2019, 08:48 »

I'm not procrastinating, I'm delegating tasks to future me.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2907 on: 29 Jan 2019, 21:37 »

The danger of delegating tasks to future you is that future you never turns up.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2908 on: 30 Jan 2019, 04:10 »

The danger of delegating tasks to future you is that future you never turns up.

This is so true it hurts...
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2909 on: 30 Jan 2019, 12:10 »

Past me is an asshole, why would I give a shit what he thinks?
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2910 on: 30 Jan 2019, 12:20 »

Past me is an asshole, why would I give a shit what he thinks?

Well, his thinking is the reason you have to deal his procrastination ...  :-D
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2911 on: 30 Jan 2019, 12:22 »

I'm not procrastinating, I'm delegating tasks to future me.

I feel a deep sense of relief I'm not the only one entertaining the notion of their current and future selves being different persons.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2912 on: 30 Jan 2019, 13:36 »

Past me is an asshole, why would I give a shit what he thinks?

Well, his thinking is the reason you have to deal his procrastination ...  :-D

This is why I blame him for everything. But he just refuses to be held accountable...
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Tova

Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2913 on: 01 Feb 2019, 15:09 »

More and more, I am of the opinion that tribalism is at the root of all public discourse dysfunction.

When reading an article in the media, wherever it is on the spectrum from pure opinion to pure event/fact reporting, it appears that people are unable or unwilling to engage thoughtfully with whatever is being said.

Instead, the piece goes through the following algorithm:

1. Which team am I batting for? (Usually left/right, occasionally more specific teams are chosen).
2. Which team do I perceive this particular piece as benefiting?
2a. My team: I must cheer it or support it.
2b. The other team: I must criticise or mock it.

I wanted to give an example, but going through it, I just found it exasperating, so for my own health, I won't.

I'm at a loss to know what could be done to improve this state of affairs.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2914 on: 02 Feb 2019, 20:24 »

More and more, I am of the opinion that tribalism is at the root of all public discourse dysfunction.
[...]
I'm at a loss to know what could be done to improve this state of affairs.

No. Tribal instincts have been with us from the start. They were once - probably still are - an adaptation increasing our chance of survival. They are the mechanism, not the cause, the firing pin striking the cartridge, not the finger on the trigger.

What we have to find out is: How did our societies keep our tribal instincts in check in the past? What condition has changed this time? (It's not the 1930s. Are you stepping over bodies on your way to work? No? -> Not the 1930s) And in which way(s) did it drive the system out of equilibrium?

And no, I don't think we should spend too much time with economic arguments, or rather, we should look at them more in terms of inequality, and how that inequality is percieved. While certainly important, we're not stepping over starved people in the street of major cities. My ancestors did. Perception plays a crucial role, methinks, and especially perception of inequality and persistent crisis, that Government is unable or unwilling to correct. None of that needs necessarily to be true, or true to a significant degree for an uncomfortably large share of the people getting dangerous ideas.

TL;DR - The polarization is a symptom of a persistent imbalance. An equilibrium has been disturbed. It could even be that the disturbance started long before the fashionably-blamed Internet. And why, if we're all so convinced that social media is poisoning our societies, has noone seriously argued to shut them down? Our Governments can do that, remember? And those that lack suitable legal means, can create them. That's what parliaments are for. Too crass proposal, too dangerous? Democratic societies have made far more drastic interventions in the past than shutting down 5 companies - and they have done so without stopping to be democratic states. Think of prohibition. Declaring political parties unlawful. People not being able to look at their Facebook - that doesn't come even close in terms of limitations of personal rights, or freedom of enterprise.

Do we ourselves even believe that Facebook et. al. are to blame? If not, we should stop saying so and start looking for alternative theories. But if we do ... then we should start behaving like we are taking this seriously. Then the social media giants should learn that their continued existence is contingent on their enthusiastic cooperation.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2915 on: 02 Feb 2019, 21:56 »

What we have to find out is: How did our societies keep our tribal instincts in check in the past?

Did we keep our tribal instincts in check in the past? I could be wrong, but I'm not convinced that we did.

I wasn't trying to suggest that what I'm describing is a new phenomenon, or even that it's now worse. I'm just becoming increasingly aware of it.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2916 on: 03 Feb 2019, 06:23 »

What we have to find out is: How did our societies keep our tribal instincts in check in the past?

Did we keep our tribal instincts in check in the past? I could be wrong, but I'm not convinced that we did.

We did ... except when we didn't. Prominent examples of failures include the various fascist movements that popped up in Democracies all over the world in the early 20th Century, almost simultaneously (Bit like the 'illiberal Democracy' movements today. Well, if you're a bit generous about 'simultaneity'). Since we aren't all constantly throwing Roman salutes & invading Poland, we must have succeeded in keeping those impulses in check - so how did we do that, and when did whatever we were doing right become less effective?

I wasn't trying to suggest that what I'm describing is a new phenomenon, or even that it's now worse. I'm just becoming increasingly aware of it.

I know! And I didn't mean to argue against your perception - which I share - I was just trying to take your idea and run with it, see how far I could take it. Brainstorming-like, see?

You posit that tribalism is behind the 'fracturing of a common reality' that we are currently observing, and that 'tribally motivated reasoning' is increasingly poisoning our public discourse. I agree emphatically - in fact, I recall reading about sociology/social psychology research that basically confirms your observation (I'll post links when I remember when the damn' things are). My modification of your argument would be that the problem isn't tribalism or tribal instincts per se, as those instincts and cognitive failures have been with us right from the start (maybe even for longer than humans exist - riffing here on some research into primates that I dimly recall.).

If tribalism were the root cause of the strain on our societies, we wouldn't be having this discussion - we'd never developed those societies in the first place. It also seems to be a bit utopian: We can't exactly wait for evolution to solve the problem - less tribal humans won't appear soon enough to save our societies. Homo Sapiens, with all his gifts and flaws, is what we have to work with. I also suspect that the argument overlooks the beneficial aspect of our tribal instincts, and how instrumental they are to the functioning of aspects of our societies we deem essential - the urge to defend the tribe can be a powerful motivator for altruistic action (What is the emotional message behind arguments for policies aimed at "the common good"? Methinks that 'the common good' is a polite way of saying 'For the tribe').

So I suspect that it might the more illuminating to ask 'Why do our societies increasingly fail to channel our tribal instincts to the benefit of society? What has changed?'. Or something like that.
« Last Edit: 03 Feb 2019, 10:31 by Case »
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2917 on: 03 Feb 2019, 09:57 »

Quote
"The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you donít know youíre a member of the Dunning-Kruger club. People miss that.

David Dunning, 2018"

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/1/31/18200497/dunning-kruger-effect-explained-trump
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2918 on: 13 Feb 2019, 07:11 »

I think I would quite enjoy a movie set in the alien universe from the same era as the first alien movie but there are no aliens in it. Same type of tech and sets, different story and no Alien.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2919 on: 13 Feb 2019, 09:11 »

I speculate that tribalism gets worse when people are scared, and that how scared they are is independent of whether they are stepping over bodies on the way to work.

There's a book called "Common Ground" which goes into just how much money is being made inflaming tribal differences.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2920 on: 07 Mar 2019, 19:40 »

I like to postulate a theory that the longer a sitcom runs the more likely the main cast of characters turn into horrible people. Friends, Seinfeld (they were on the nose about it in their finale) HIMYM, TBBT, Family Guy, and I am sure there are other examples.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2921 on: 08 Mar 2019, 04:13 »

Counterpoints: All in the Family, MASH, Golden Girls.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2922 on: 08 Mar 2019, 06:37 »

You mean the cast of Seinfeld weren't already horrible people? "No hugging, no learning" is the writers' ground rule. Family Guy seems predicated on the cast being horrible people as well.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2923 on: 08 Mar 2019, 10:23 »

Family Guy didn't start off that way though but gradually became that way. Golden girls I have seen but I haven't binged the whole series to really say, same with All In The Family. This isn't to say all sitcoms characters become terrible, but the longer the show lasts the more likely it is to happen. Live long enough to become the villain so to speak. Its not bound to happen but increases the chances of it happening.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2924 on: 04 Apr 2019, 17:48 »

So I've been thinking pretty hard about the Kung Fu Panda trilogy and something just keeps bothering me and I just have to get it out, so I'll muse it here. I am throwing it in a spoiler to protect those that wish to not be spoiled.

(click to show/hide)
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2925 on: 05 Apr 2019, 08:41 »

Family Guy didn't start off that way though but gradually became that way. Golden girls I have seen but I haven't binged the whole series to really say, same with All In The Family. This isn't to say all sitcoms characters become terrible, but the longer the show lasts the more likely it is to happen. Live long enough to become the villain so to speak. Its not bound to happen but increases the chances of it happening.


Maybe "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" will buck that trend?
a ) They are already terrible
b ) Surely they can only get better?  :)

(Although to be honest - I think the worst of the terribleness stopped about season 5-6 ish)

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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2926 on: 05 Apr 2019, 09:06 »

Sunny is one of my favourite shows on television.

Every one of them is the worst of humanity. It lets me feel schadenfraude about people that aren't real. It's like a vaccination.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2927 on: 06 Apr 2019, 19:35 »

True fact -- I knew a woman from Philadelphia. Everyone stared at her strangely when they were on a trip to NYC together and she was amazed out loud how friendly everybody was compared to what she was used to.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2928 on: 07 Apr 2019, 13:21 »

You know, there is the stereotype that people/loacals in NYC and Paris are rude. I've visited both places several times and no one was ever rude ... unless they were a tourist. I've met the occasional rude tourist while traveling.  But hey, that's just my anecdotal perspective. YMMV
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2929 on: 07 Apr 2019, 14:09 »

I found Paris to be a bit rude as far as day-to-day life, in a way the Brits aren't - like while queuing, for example. New York I only found rude once or twice, and it was quite hilarious.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2930 on: 07 Apr 2019, 20:57 »

I have only been to Paris three times, but in my limited experience, Parisians have been unfailingly polite to me. I know I'm not entirely alone in that perspective - every person I've talked to who has visited the place shares my opinion.

A highlight for me was my very first visit. I was travelling alone, before the era of the ubiquitous smartphone/tablet. I stood on a corner staring at a map, trying to find my way to the railway station that would best get me to the airport from which my flight was to depart (I forget which one). I had four of five Parisians stop to help, struggling to understand my mix of English and broken French. Not one of them left my side until I had worked out which way to go. It was a humbling experience.

Your mileage may very well differ. I do suspect that my (mild) Australian accent disposed people well towards me. I always made some effort to communicate in French, even if the person I spoke with generally would switch immediately to English upon hearing me. And I'm fairly sure that the ones who continued in French did so because they realised that I was desperate for the practice.

It wouldn't surprise me if Parisians are a little less polite (or maybe a lot less) to people who make no effort to bridge the communication gap. I have no sympathy for such people, to be honest.

I actually suspect that there are some whose impression that Parisians are rude derives from them walking into, say, a restaurant expecting staff to behave in an ingratiating fashion, and get their noses bent out of joint when the staff fails to do so. That is, that there is a cultural difference underlying the impression rather than genuine rudeness.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2931 on: 07 Apr 2019, 22:37 »

My experience in Paris is no worse than any large city. There is, I gather, in France itself an image of les Parigos as cold and stuck up, but I find, in the Parisians I've known, that that's a bit of a toss up, much like anyone else.
The Parisian tourists in any region they think should be part of the Francophonie, however, often are a different story.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2932 on: 08 Apr 2019, 00:36 »

In my part of the world there is the stereotype of Parisians never having welcomed any tourists, and greatly dislike speaking any other language than French.

I should probably point out that I'm living in a German speaking country, and the French might have had an issue with the Germans. Nothing serious though...
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2933 on: 08 Apr 2019, 06:11 »

Actually what I forgot to mention was that the way to guarantee poilteness in Paris no matter the scenario for me was to at least attempt to discuss in French first.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2934 on: 08 Apr 2019, 06:29 »

Actually what I forgot to mention was that the way to guarantee poilteness in Paris no matter the scenario for me was to at least attempt to discuss in French first.

Too true. I recall one time where my wife and I were in a cafe and the waitress knew little English and we knew a little French. She appreciated that we at least tried to speak French and said "Today, you practice your French with me and I will practice my English" and we all had a great time. I think its only polite to say hello in the local language then follow it by asking if they speak my language. I've seen so many tourist that just assumes the locals know English that they just straight up start a conversation with "hey you speak English?" and not even a hello, which is pretty rude and what goes around can typically come around too.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2935 on: 08 Apr 2019, 11:08 »

Another thing that's more important in Francophone nations than in our more familiar Anglophone areas is an expectation that you should, in at least some way, acknowledge someone as a person (even just a small gesture like saying "Bonjour" and "Merci" when appropriate) before asking them to do something or give you something etc.  If the waiter comes over and you just start telling them your order, they'll be offended.  Americans may avoid acknowledging their feelings of guilt, if called on it, by complaining that a useless greeting wastes time, but they'll also be offended by that complaint.  And it's reasonable, really.  People aren't some kind of machine made to serve you. 

Honestly, I think the infamous reputation of Parisians for being rude, is mostly the product of people who've done something genuinely offensive in their culture without understanding that fact, and been treated accordingly. 

I say don't go somewhere unless you know how to be polite in their terms.  But that's not a universal attitude.
« Last Edit: 08 Apr 2019, 11:14 by Morituri »
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2936 on: 08 Apr 2019, 13:13 »

Its funny, I read a book about French child rearing and it did in fact say just that. As I recall, all french children are taught hello, goodbye, please and thank you and that they are the 4 key words to know. The book also describes that anyone who does not know how to use these words were, to use an american euphemism, raised in a barn.

I found an article that explain what the author said in her book
Quote
In the US, kids generally learn two "magic words," which are "please" and "thank you." According to "Bringing Up Bebe," French children learn four ó "s'il vous plaÓt" (please), "merci" (thank you), "bonjour" (hello), and "au revoir" (goodbye). Although it is polite to say greet people in the US, in France, it is essential.

In "Bringing Up Bebe, Druckerman writes that, in France, "saying bonjour acknowledges the other person's humanity." So, it's important.

I think its common in English for someone to just walk up to someone and ask a question without saying "hello" or they will say "excuse me" instead, so this cultural miscommunication may explain why anglophones perceive the french as being rude...the french are rude because they perceive the anglophone as being rude.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2937 on: 08 Apr 2019, 17:19 »

When studying French in high-school, I was taught that in France it is rude to just walk into a shop and ask for what you want, and that one should first greet the person behind the counter, or respond to their greeting if they got in first. However, I have never actually visited France, so I have no idea how far this is true "on the ground", as it were.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2938 on: 08 Apr 2019, 17:39 »

I was taught French in high school, but nobody ever specifically told me that it is customary to greet someone when talking to them... because nobody had to. It is just as customary for us, and I thought every culture had this. It's why the first word every foreign language speaker is taught is 'hello', and the second is 'goodbye'.

Come on, I'm not crazy, right? Every customer service employee in the English-speaking world greets their customer when they speak to them, right? And you do on the phone? I'd have to make a great effort *not* to greet people when I talk to them. So why is it suddenly weird that the French consider it rude not to?
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LeeC

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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2939 on: 08 Apr 2019, 18:29 »

Surely in your customer service experience you have greeted the customer and they did not greet you back but went straight to the point and asked for help or make a demand/complaint?

"Hello Sir/Ma'am, can I help you with something?"
"Yeah, where do you keep the x? Mine broke."
"Yes its in aisle 14 next to the B."
"Thanks."

I can also attest to seeing something similar in emails. Usually emails begin with "Hello" or "Dear" or some sort of formal greeting, but I have seen so many that doesn't even give you the courtesy and just make a demand or complaint that something is not working. Such emails usually stick out like a sore thumb to the co-workers and they generally complain among themselves at the rudeness. In France ( Italy and Greece) I would see locals act thusly:

"Hello" *pause to allow the other person to react
"Hello"
"Do you know where I can find X? Mine broke."
"Yes it is in aisle 14 next to the B."
"Thank you. GoodBye.
"Goodbye."

It almost seems comical but it is typical. I think most Anglophones, or at least Americans, are just so ready to get to the quick they bypass this.
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cybersmurf

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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2940 on: 08 Apr 2019, 22:11 »

What happened to me quite often is this variation:

Hello, how can I help you?
Hello. Where do you have X? [...]

and so on. Or, sometimes, if you like interrupt someone restocking shelves you skip the greetings entirely:

Excuse me, where do you have X?
Over there, aisle 7.
Thank you.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2941 on: 08 Apr 2019, 23:15 »

It almost seems comical but it is typical.

You mean the France/Greece/Italy thing seems almost-comical to you, did I get that right?

Cultural differences, I guess... to me, it seems normal. And whenever I heard/read conversations of American customers with store clerks (or whatever) recounted, it always seemed incredibly rude to the point of almost grotesque that the social script doesn't seem to demand even a "hi". By now I'm used to the idea, but it still seems subconsciously wrong that anyone would interact like this.

(to be fair, I seem to be more polite to people selling me things - waiters, clerks and so on - than seems the average even here, so my sense of what is appropriate may be mis-calibrated. But I still think most all interactions in stores etc. start with a "hi" or "good morning" from both sides.)
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2942 on: 09 Apr 2019, 04:04 »

It almost seems comical but it is typical.

You mean the France/Greece/Italy thing seems almost-comical to you, did I get that right?


More of the miscommunication being comical and at the same time typical.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2943 on: 09 Apr 2019, 04:54 »

When studying French in high-school, I was taught that in France it is rude to just walk into a shop and ask for what you want, and that one should first greet the person behind the counter, or respond to their greeting if they got in first. However, I have never actually visited France, so I have no idea how far this is true "on the ground", as it were.

Oh HELLYES! -  and make that 'all of Europe' rather than 'France'.

Learn the greetings and the goodbyes - for every setting: Formal, informal, phone conversation, letter, etc.

Take LTK's & Oddtail's confusion seriously: In Europe (*), it is considered breathtakingly rude to omit the proper greetings and goodbyes (there are some small situational exceptions, but let's not get into those now). Even the notoriously businesslike Germans will react with irritation and bewilderment if you don't (Srsly: I may know intellectually that other cultures don't do this, but it still feels fundamentally wrong to me, at a gut level. You'll never leave a good impression with your European conversation partner if you do this).


(*) Make that 'As far as I know' - admittedly, I haven't been to all 28 countries of the Union, let alone all of Europe, but I've never heard of one that omitted the custom - but I did hear about the USnian habit of omitting greetings & goodbyes. Still remember the first mail I received without the proper greetings & goodbyes and wondering for days what I'd done wrong to be treated with such condescension.
« Last Edit: 09 Apr 2019, 05:08 by Case »
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2944 on: 09 Apr 2019, 05:15 »

Actually what I forgot to mention was that the way to guarantee poilteness in Paris no matter the scenario for me was to at least attempt to discuss in French first.

I did the same when I lived in the Netherlands in the mid-90s, and my experiences were almost universally positive. I've talked to one fellow German Erasmus student who complained how difficult she found studying in the Netherlands more recently - can't really judge her experiences, but observing many German tourists from the POV of a resident was quite the eye-opener to me:

It rarely pays to treat your hosts as if you regarded their country as a colony (Especially when your Grandparents' generation had done exactly that to them within living memory).

It's not to much to ask you to learn how to say 'Hello! Would you mind my speaking [Language X] with you?' in the native tongue. One 'effin sentence can make all the difference in the world.
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Case

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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2945 on: 09 Apr 2019, 06:24 »

Surely in your customer service experience you have greeted the customer and they did not greet you back but went straight to the point and asked for help or make a demand/complaint?

"Hello Sir/Ma'am, can I help you with something?"
"Yeah, where do you keep the x? Mine broke."
"Yes its in aisle 14 next to the B."
"Thanks."

Depends greatly on the situation - e.g. if you're in a queue at a check-out counter (yes, many European countries still have human clerks working a register), greetings & goodbyes may be abbreviated, or omitted for gestures (nods e.g.) - but as a rule of thumb, assume that proper courtesy, even abbreviated, will never leave your counterpart with a negative feeling, but that failing to give it will rarely fail to do just that.

And don't worry overmuch about getting the customs exactly right - you're the foreign barbarian, you're expected to get things wrong. You have a degree of 'Narrenfreiheit' (lit. '(a) Fool's Freedom'), meaning that you stand a good chance of being forgiven (manifestly) involuntary - and especially comedic - rudeness.  Making an effort, and fumbling it, may even serve as an ice-breaker - making no effort at all, out of fear of doing something wrong, however, will almost always be the worst option.

I can also attest to seeing something similar in emails. Usually emails begin with "Hello" or "Dear" or some sort of formal greeting, but I have seen so many that doesn't even give you the courtesy and just make a demand or complaint that something is not working. Such emails usually stick out like a sore thumb to the co-workers and they generally complain among themselves at the rudeness.

Formal settings - and written conversation count as highly formal, as they cannot transport gesture & mimics - require more adherence to proper protocol, not less. As I said above, I vividly remember the first exchange that omitted the greetings & goodbyes years after the fact, and wondering what I'd done to offend the offender.


Mind you - I'm writing this from a German perspective, but personally, I'd rather put more of an emphasis on proper courtesy when I'm in another European country.
« Last Edit: 09 Apr 2019, 06:37 by Case »
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2946 on: 09 Apr 2019, 06:32 »

Same, I just notice that its less common here in the states in a customer service role and wouldn't be surprised if such behavior would rub elbows outside of the states. Which may also explain the "ugly american tourist/ugly american" stereotype.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2947 on: 09 Apr 2019, 06:50 »

I would consider it at least weird if I received an email without the proper greeting and stuff. Although that becomes different when it becomes an email conversation, as that would generate too much overhead.

Apart from that, it's NEVER wrong to know a few simple words in the language of the country you're in, like "yes", "no", "thank you", "hello", "good bye" and "do you speak English?" (or some other language, it's probably one of the neighboring languages), and maybe even "sorry, I do not speak [local language]".
The point is: the moment you say more than two or three words, it's probably quite obvious you're not a local, but at least you tried at least a tiny amount. And that's not 'a slap to the face by not even giving a single flying fudge about anything beyond yourself'.
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2948 on: 09 Apr 2019, 08:12 »

Same, I just notice that its less common here in the states in a customer service role and wouldn't be surprised if such behavior would rub elbows outside of the states. Which may also explain the "ugly american tourist/ugly american" stereotype.

Due to geographical constraints, Americans are still a comparative minority amongst foreign visitors - the US government (especially the President) and US foreign policy has far more of an influence on German public opinion about America than Germans meeting American visitors has (*). Not to mention that that number is probably a lot smaller than the number of German visitors to the US. And don't forget that not all Germans will have the ESL competence to correctly place your accent.

The 'stereotype about Americans' I've heard most often from German visitors to the US (i.e. 'people that actually met actual Americans') is that you're "remarkably open, friendly and welcoming on the one hand, but sometimes a bit shallow in that friendliness on the other".

It appears that's more of a confusion about cultural signifiers, though - when you tell a recent German acquaintance that you "should definitely get together some time", they might be positively surprised about your enthusiasm so early in the process of getting to know each other, but confused as to why you chose to leave the invitation unspecified. They may respond by trying to make an appointment with you, and be confused about your confusion (Anecdote - I can't judge how common that really is, or which part of the US it allegedly happened in)

When you tell a German that something is 'awesome!', they'll assume that you're awed by it, may be curious about your apparent strong feelings on the matter, and may enquire about the reasons for your ebullience.

Then there's 'the thing about the smiles' - some appear 'very toothy' to us. Sometimes to the point of uncanny, I'm afraid. I've heard the theory that European immigrants to the US learned to rely more on gesture and mimics rather than verbal expressions as a consequence of being confronted, on a daily basis, with almost all of the European languages. The Army that set out to fight Nazi Germany still spoke more than two dozen languages.


(*) Don't know how it's in other European countries, so I won't try to speak for them. Italy and Germany have had significant US forces permanently stationed on their sovereign territory for decades, but have also experienced significant 'influence' of US foreign policy in their domestic matters for a long time. Not always positive, and not always acknowledged as positive when it arguably was.
« Last Edit: 09 Apr 2019, 08:57 by Case »
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Re: miscellaneous musings
« Reply #2949 on: 09 Apr 2019, 08:38 »

The smiles thing - yes, so much yes. You are not supposed to smile in a way that shows off both rows of your teeth. It looks so unnatural and weird. You look like you're snarling, not smiling, as far as I'm concerned...

And I've seen enough Americans smile so much they display pretty much all their teeth, as well as gums to consider this a very "American" thing. I honestly am not sure what I'd have to do to show so much teeth, even if I wanted to (although to be fair, I rarely smile showing *any* teeth, I'm a pretty grim-looking person most of the time, I'm told). It's mildly fascinating to me. How do you *do* that?
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