After an attempt to double check my spelling of "squozen" after firefox remarked on its spelling, I was horrified to find that no online dictionary has it. I grew up with that word, and it's at least part of *my* English. It's .. kind of funny to find these things out - I wonder if there are other words I've learned that are not widely accepted.
In a conversation with a Dutch friend of mine on AIM today, I came to a better way to think about how western nations deal with pushers of Sharia - this one with better parsimony with notions of rule of law - consider it to be treason (or handle it similarly). It's important, if one is to push rule of law very far, that the values on which the state operates are public, defensible, and able to be argued for, even if they're not up for change. I don't believe the state should permit, even with the (non-immediate) consent of all involved, Sharia or any other religious courts to handle these matters. As for when immediate consent is present, I am uncertain if I think it should be permitted (I know the notion of "should be permitted" are probably deeply repugnant to people who have certain ideas of the state, but they probably don't like much of what I have to say), but if it is, it should probably be subject to approval, on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that the basic values of the larger society are given some weight.
Now, the previously mentioned commentary on the Etiquette article, as presented by Wikipedia, hidden nicely behind a cut. This is largely a list of points with commentary, moderately reliant on that article as it stands presently. I will focus on my differences with the presented ideas rather than the things I agree with:
- Distinct identity - I don't think it should be an indignity to note that Canadian culture and American culture are "bound at the hip", and I'd say that the border is just one of many ways to slice culture, without *that* much of a unique power to that decomposition. (Yes, I'm thinking SVD.) I'm willing to gently point this out to people
- Consideration - This is meta, but I don't think by-and-large etiquette tends to make sense. A lot of it seems to be arbitrary traditions to me, and the wide variance in notions of etiquette practically proves this. Of course, tradition is soothing to a lot of people...
- Direction - I often pass on the left when walking, sometimes intentionally out of disliking conformity, and a lot of the time because usually I don't notice
- Distinctions - I generally try to do my best on recognising distinctions in cultural groups, because recognising and encouraging positive (by my values) changes in cultures is so important to me.
- Handshakes - I don't tend to like them, but will do them if prompted. I'm reserved with physical contact with people I don't know.. and apart from family and people I'm dating, reserved with people I know as well. This is mainly a long-lasting .. physical intuition that I haven't managed to shake, although it is a long-term goal of mine to do so. I'm sometimes pretty bad about acknowledging people I know around me when I'm unsure of my relations with them (or tired, or distracted, or in a bad mood, etc), and that tends to really put a lot of people off. Sigh.
- Hats - I don't remove my hat unless I don't feel like wearing it anymore.
- Honourifics/names - I prefer first names when I use them, although I normally address people by looking at them and talking. I grew up with "Sir/Maam" (southern family thing), but have abandoned it completely and don't ever intend to address anyone with it again (I feel *very* strongly about this). I cringe every time someone addresses me that way. If I ever have kids, I hope to be on a first-name basis with them.
- Hygiene - I'm irritated when people burp or similar freely around me, especially if they like the sound and make a show of it. Sneezing/Yawning doesn't bother me though (I do prefer covered mouths, but that's mainly in how I like to act). I don't mind any of this with people I'm dating, as I tend to be pretty open with body stuff with them. On body odours, I am fairly intolerant of hygiene odours, and sometimes become nauseous around them.. and I'm often judgemental about these things too. I would be happy if the whole world wore lots of deodorant. I'm pretty tolerant of temporary smells due to gas (and am moderately gassy myself) except in cramped spaces. When I do have hygiene odours, I tend to become very embarassed and run home, even if I'm going to be doing something later that might induce more.
- Masculinity - Although I don't hold stock with much of masculinity in the broader sense, I do require a moderately large amount of personal space and avoid body contact with others (with females too though) most of the time. I consider this to be more of a neurotic and unhealthy attitude that's become a habit in me more than something that flows from my values, and would like to change it if I could figure out how.
- Meals - I mostly ignore the ideas in this section except when meals are being served in a non-buffet setting
- Money - I'm willing to talk about money, but I don't find it very interesting. The ideas in this section seem ok, but I don't have much invested in them
- Multiculturalism - I am strongly opposed to the ideas in this section, and while my libertene philosophy often leads me to similar practical conclusions on many matters, I have some strong differences in both theory and occasional practice. I also tend to strongly push people to recognise the difference between enlightenment liberalism and multiculturalist liberalism - while neither belong in the conservative camp, they are not at all the same thing.
- Profanity - It doesn't always stem from my values, but there are some kinds of profanity that tend to make me shudder - largely racial and sexist epithets. The word "bitch" has always been very difficult for me to make myself say, even to discuss its use as a word (except as a verb, where I very occasionally use it)
- Reserve - I tend to agree with this section
- Restaurant - I prefer to use eye contact to get waiters in restauraunts, eventually with raised eyebrows and/or a stare - I don't tend to like to refer to them as waiter because it seems to stress servitude. On that topic, I tend to get livid when people, in any customer situation, adopt the customer is always right attitude and either lecture people on that account or otherwise act inappropriately, and have been known to walk out of situations, even with friends, when they get like this.
- Seating - I'll usually offer my seat on a bus to pregnant women, old folk, or the injured. I sometimes make a point out of not doing so to fat people. Generally I prefer to stand on busses because I think it's healthier though..
- Shoes - I tend to pay close attention to what the hosts/other guests do, based on wide differences in customs on this matter
- Toasting - I have never offered a toast, and tend to do what others do in these circumstances, although I am also comfortable not drinking if I don't feel like it or don't like what's being served
- Visiting - I usually bring a small gift to people I haven't visited before, often wine, and sometimes to people I know well. This is a habit that Nicole brought back that my parents taught me but I had dropped for many years.
- Waiting - I strongly agree with this section, and sometimes encourage people to collaborate to thwart those who would ignore it. I do the same thing with highways, and am sometimes incredibly vindictive on the matter
On American issues:
- Black People - It's a toss-up whether, when exposed to private racism, I'll sit there invisibly fuming or express my ideas. Being from a Southern family, I've had to deal with this often.. When the matter is being discussed by people who don't have ingrained racism, I'm generally pretty open with discussing it, and like to push people to think of racism and cultural identity as separate issues. I am very willing to criticise cultures. I tend to react badly to hearing the term "Nigger", and accept coloured (although it seems stilted), african-american, and black.
- US Flag - I don't respect flags, even the Hammer and Sickle. I would burn them, rub mud on them, etc, if I wanted to make a point, and otherwise just treat them as other objects.
- Confederate Flag - It doesn't bother me much, nor does it feel racist to me, although I understand how others feel. While it's does have a historical connection to slavery, I don't think it's inexorably linked, and view it as being analogous to how a lot of wonderful classical music was religiously inspired and funded - I can separate its christian origins from the beauty of the music as much as I can separate southern culture from the slavery angle.
- Language politics - My ideas on the matter are fairly noncontroversial, although I'm not afraid to talk about them
- Latino - I exclusively use the terms Hispanic and Latin American, as appropriate.
- Native Americans - I reject "demands of respect" for any culture - respect is given, not demanded. I think the casinos are a blight on the nation, and while I regret the disgusting past tied to manifest destiny, I don't think the current situation regarding them works very well - I would rather have legal integration or greater amounts of "border"-ism, as decided by each community. I exclusively use the term Amerindian.
- Yankee - I use Yankee (or Yank) for the north (Idaho and east) and Dixie for the south (Nevada and east), and don't tend to think of the west coast, Alaska, or Hawai'i as either. I tend to be mildly irritated at being called a Yank by others, as much as being assumed to be a Christian by people who are of some non-Christian group, and have been known to correct people on the matter. I understand though that unlike the christian matter (some Jewish and Muslim people assume I am, but it's a very clear matter of fact that I am not a Christian in that I haven't seen any definitions of the term that are real contenders that can paint someone who doesn't believe in any gods and thinks Jesus's teachings were both dangerous and poor as a christian), there is a definitional matter at stake - if someone decided to stick to their guns on the Yankee = American definition, I'd be ok with it in the end because I think it's generally lousy to tell someone how to define terms if their system seems sane.