Jan. 7th, 2012

hawkwing_lb: (DA2 isabela facepalm)
ObDisclaimer: I'm writing this post from a position of relative privilege and I know it. /ObDisclaimer.

Yesterday, riding the train to town, I noticed something that perhaps should be obvious. It is this: body-language and culture are linked on a very basic level. I noticed this because Ireland is still mostly made of pale people, and yesterday three nice code-switching bilingual melanin-rich teenagers in headscarves, together with a child of about ten, got on the train and sat opposite me.

The town I live in is 40% non-native Irish, some of whom have been here long enough to be naturalised citizens. But the nice Polish people and the nice various different African people have various different body-language cues and cues of facial expression that my lizard-brain reacts to as not from around here, and I have to consciously step on the instinctive suspicion of those funny foreigners. (It does this with people from certain cultural areas of Dublin, i.e. the wealthy parts, and Americans, too. Non-archaeologist Americans, at least. The lizard-brain is a suspicious organ.)

I hadn't realised it was subliminal body-language and facial expression more than phenotypal difference (yes, there are differences of phenotype among pale Europeans, which such insular parochial sorts as we Irish notice) until these nice teenagers got on, codeswitching between (I think) a dialect of French and Hiberno-English, and my lizard-brain said My people! They come from here!

Which got me thinking about body-language cues and their relationship to culture. Which is something I should have noticed before, because I have friends from all over. But the body-language of geeky emotional intimacy among my history-and-otherwise-geek peers - philia, not eros - is a lot more tactile than Irish culture at large, it seems to me. So when I went to Greece, where people touch your arm all the time to get your attention, and where there is hugging of all kinds between men and so on and so forth, I didn't really parse it properly as cultural rather than individual difference.

Anyway. It was an interesting realisation.

An intriguing paper on why tornados and hailstorms are less frequent on weekends in the US tornado belt via jlake.

Worth a look.

I think I am going to go see Ghost Protocol tonight, because I want to watch some shit blow up. Also, my brain is growing back, but it's still not up to actual work. Foolish meatpuppet. Needing rest, of all things!


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