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31 December 2007 @ 03:42 pm
Unrelated to, like, everything  
I was recently pointed at very opinionated essay on a particular flavor of societal 'honor', which the essayist represents by the Arabic word 'thar'. I can't decide whether I think it's right or not, but it's certainly a good presentation of ideas, and well-written. While I can't easily evaluate how correct it is, it does point out some of the aspects of Arabic culture I find most idealogically troubling.
Brick (DBA Brian)caramida on January 1st, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
Dutch does present a compelling argument, but then he dilutes his argument by equating Arab oil money and 'paternalistic aid programs' in the US. It seems that he's stepping away from his argument about societies to score a domestic political point to little purpose. He's got some points in his favor, but I'd really like to see another perspective on the idea of thar toxicity.
Noahangelbob on January 1st, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)
Do you mean he dilutes his argument because the US doesn't (presumably) have such a toxic thar culture? Or because you feel the two activities don't equate?
msde on January 1st, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
There's some interesting points in there, but I keep getting distracted by the underlying bias. I feel like I'm being beaten on the head with a stick labelled "The USA got it right, and you didn't unless you're from Europe or Japan."
Noahangelbob on January 1st, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah. That's a pretty good summary of my reaction, too. I know a little, but only a little, about what he means by Shame cultures versus Guilt cultures, and that seems like a potentially powerful distinction. But his bias is certainly constant and powerful through the whole thing.
msde on January 3rd, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Trying to take it without the bias, the part I keep stumbling over is this:

"The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
Where blood ties rule, you cannot trust the contract, let alone the handshake."

Blood ties can cause problems when taken to extremes, but otherwise it's hard for me to agree with this point. I wish I was better at mantaining a closer relationship to more of my family, as I'm not very good at it. There will be obligations if the time comes, especially with my parents, but they were built upon a foundation of a two-way street.

Still, it's hard to take an article too seriously when it touts one Japanese guy not trying to sweep WWII under a rug as some kind of norm.