22.8.11

Comparative Cultural Studies 101: Is your culture stupid?

Or more grammatically (?) correct, rather - does your culture encourage rampant displays of outrageous stupidity?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14616491
Three people in the Philippines died due to stray bullets fired to welcome the arrival of the new year 2011.
In 2010 a Turkish bridegroom killed three relatives when he fired an AK-47 at his own wedding. 
When the Iraqi football team defeated Vietnam in 2007's Asia Cup, three people were killed in Baghdad amid widespread gunshots as fans celebrated. Celebratory gunfire in Kuwait after the end of the Gulf War in 1991 was blamed for 20 deaths.
US study found that 118 people were treated for random "falling-bullet injuries" at one Los Angeles medical centre between 1985 and 1992, resulting in the deaths of 38. 
Question: Do people in your nation/state/culture/country/region regularly celebrate things like New Year's Eve, winning a football match, or a wedding - by firing automatic or semi-automatic weapons in the air?

Answer: No. You're fine, go on to the next question.

Answer: Yes. You're irretrievably fucked. You are stupid for not banding together with your fellow reasonable-headed citizens and putting a stop to it. At least get a damn law on the books. A city ordinance. Get the dead people's picture on the front page of the local newspaper with a headline saying "Hey idiots - you fired in the air and you killed these people."


Q: Are people in your part of the world usually educated by priests or mullahs that get most of their teaching done with religious texts?


Answer: No. You're fine, go on to the next question.


Answer: Yes. You're probably fucked if the best idea anyone could come up with for teaching kids was reading out of a 1500-year-old book about sacrificing goats, keeping your woman in the kitchen and killing people who don't think like you think. Not that you think much. Or read this.


The rest of the questions would have to do with equal rights for women and people who are in the minority, i.e. Jews in 1930s Germany, Christians in Egypt, guest-workers in the Arab world, LGBT people in Syria, Arabs in Israel or Palestinians living under the military occupation of Israel - to name but a few examples. Add something about corruption and it's starting to look like a decent quiz.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebratory_gunfire#Notable_incidents
  • July 22, 2003: More than 20 people were reported killed in Iraq from celebratory gunfire following the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons Udayand Qusay in 2003.[16]
  • December 31, 2004: A 75-year-old man in Orlando, Florida, was mortally wounded in the heart from a falling bullet just before midnight. Police later traced the fatal bullet to a gun confiscated from a man firing into the air more than a mile away. The shooter was charged with manslaughter.[19]
  • January 1, 2005: A stray bullet hit a young girl during New Year celebrations in the central square of downtown SkopjeMacedonia. She died two days later. This incident led to the 2006 IANSA awareness campaign in that country.[1]
  • February 25, 2007: Five people were killed by stray bullets fired at a kite festival in LahorePakistan, including a 6-year-old schoolboy who was struck in the head near his home in the city's Mazang area.[23]
  • July 29, 2007: At least four people were reported killed and 17 others wounded by celebratory gunfire in the capital city of BaghdadIraq, following the victory of the national football team in the AFC Asian Cup,[24][25] Celebratory gunfire occurred despite warnings issued by Iraqi security forces and the country's leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who forbade the gunfire with a religious fatwā.[26]
In other news the definition of Comparative Cultural Studies at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_cultural_studies is an ivory-tower mish-mash full of crap:
Comparative cultural studies is a contextual approach to the study of culture in a global and intercultural context. The focus of the studies is placed on the theory, method, and application of the study process(es) rather than on the "what" of the object(s) of study.
How about this instead: Comparative cultural studies is about comparing different cultures. Revolutionary thought, right? - To see what we can all learn from each other's cultures. Yay.


Oh wait, no - that'd make sense. Better go with the convoluted definition using big words that only the people on the inside of the PhD circle understand. We have to focus on the theory and theoretical framework rather than any base and simplistic real-world applied approach. After all - we have to protect our funding and our academic position, am I right?

Arrrgh. If someone knows how to make breaks between paragraphs appear slightly less huge sometimes, I'd love to know. This blogging software seems a bit random in that respect.


THIS JUST IN - FOUR IN A ROW!


If you've had your head in the sand for a year - that's Ben Ali, Saleh, Ghaddafi and Mubarak at the Arab-African Summit last year. They're ALL gone now.
That would be the former dictators of Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Egypt. To hell with them all.

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