3 Apr 2011

kaigou: you live and learn. at any rate, you live. - doug adams (2 live and learn)
[belated realization: this is not a question I'd ask if I met you outside the South and we weren't at my home. This is a question asked by a host of a guest, and I honestly cannot recall ever seeing it the other way around (not counting the host's concurrence after a guest completes the response). As "home" counts as a kind of "Southern turf" regardless of geographic location, that might be why I can recall asking guest-Northerners visiting my home when I lived in RI... but even in the South, it's not a question I'd ask as a guest. It's certainly not something I'd ever ask, or have ever asked, just to make conversation. When I say it's part of the formalities, I'm using "formality" intentionally. Just FYI.]

This is riffing off the previous post re the US Deep South, in that it occurred to me to write something out thanks to [personal profile] taithe's comment -- but it's something I've bandied about mentally, many a time, over the past few years. (This is not to say this kind of question or its message isn't important in other geographic/sociocultural regions. I'm sure it is, although maybe asked/approached differently.) Your Southern mileage may vary, but upon meeting new people (especially in a social/casual situation), this is a question I've seen asked many times in my life, have been asked many times, and have found myself asking many times.

Where's your family from?

Now, I've also read plenty about how people -- whether recent or farther-back immigrants -- who do not look some generic form of "white" or "black" (which both tend to be classed as, "been here awhile") -- will get asked (usually by white USians), "where are you from? Pittsburgh? No, where are you really from?"

This is an annoying, and patronizing, question. Absolutely! So I figured maybe it's time I explained that when a Southerner asks you the question above -- where's your family from? -- that this is NOT the same question. In fact, if the purpose of "where are you from?" is to to prove (if unconsciously) that you are not a 'real' American, the purpose of the Southern version is quite different. It's for you to demonstrate that your family matters to you.

How not to answer, how to answer, and why it matters to me. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (1 Jiji surprised)
Speaking of cholera, [personal profile] starlady posted a link to Murder in the Time of Cholera from the Philadelphia Weekly, about a century-old mass murder. Verrrry interesting, with a touch of the paranormal to boot.

If you're watching a historical drama, is it considered spoiling yourself for the ending if you google the real-historical characters who make cameos, to find out when, how, and why they die?

After cholera and the massive awesomeness of the replies on that post, yesterday and today I've been reading about syphillis, tuberculosis, and the invention of the petri dish, alongside a biography of Sakamoto Ryouma (who sounds like a guy who would've been a lot of fun whether drinking together or fighting together). Back and forth to wiki every five minutes, it seems, and there onto academic articles with more info.

I need an icon that says: learning ALL the things!