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  • hardie karges 10:27 am on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , neoteny   

    Christmas Goes Viral: Festivus for the Rest of Us 

    Babel on in Babylon, the Hanging Gardens (as imagined) and the Tower of Babel

    Everything is a caricature of itself now, and entertainment is king. So Christmas in America is when we all get to return to our childhood fantasies, beyond sugar plums and into consumer gluttony—or not. If Thanksgiving morphs simple thanks toward God into thanks for the goods, then Christmas goes beyond celebrating the birth of Christ into celebrating the birth of consumerism. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    George Costanza’s dad on the old ‘Seinfeld’ series made alternative celebrations official, but I’m starting to warm up to the many ‘orphan’ events that now spring up around this time of year to give the rest of us some reason for the season: simple social camaraderie and spiritual communion, nuclear family optional. ‘Nuclear’ can sometimes be dangerous, after all.

    Christmas—and Christianity—is not alone in pushing their holidays to absurd viral proportions, though. Other countries and religions do it, too. Anyone who’s gone to Thailand for the Songkran water fest (read: ‘water fight’) is witnessing the modern spectacle of what started off as a simple dousing of water as a symbol of renewal. And I hear that the daylight fasting that occurs during Islamic Ramadan says nothing about what happens after dark. This is cultural neoteny, the evolutionary regression to childhood (in biology, literally the decreasing age of reproduction). (More …)

    • mary 9:52 am on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      and a happy winter solstice to you. no xmas for us-mas. the shortest day of the year-grand, it means they will be getting longer, if that is a good thing or not i am uncertain. pax

      • hardie karges 11:28 am on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes yes yes, it is all good if we want it to be that way and act accordingly…

    • Esther Fabbricante 6:54 am on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Family is first with me – 31 members including in-laws and step children..
      Merry Christmas to you.

  • hardie karges 8:13 am on August 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , neoteny,   

    Thailand is in a cultural drift toward neoteny. 

    The language is pretty, if vague, and some female TV personalities speak something close to baby talk to make it even prettier. Suffering fools gladly is a way of life here. English is the language of last resorts. Speak slowly and with multiple convictions. English is the language of aggression for use with outsiders. The use of Thai dictates a different level of politeness. Know that silly song you can’t get out of your head? Thais like that silly song, and can mouth most of the words along with the singer. They’ll even clap as the song starts rather than before the song ends to show their approval, since no respectable singer would change the song. Thais worship their kids, especially the males. Their mothers essentially work for them. It goes to their heads, of course, and many never really grow up. Thai male kids are spoiled rotten, indulged to the limit of a family’s resources. As long as the resources are limited, then they turn out okay. When a family’s lot improves and they just shower the extra on their kids, then the kids quickly become accustomed to the new standards and do their best to do as little as possible for most of their lives. Thailand is a nation held together by mutual fears and sticky rice. Fear of ghosts is common, so many Thais sleep with the light on. They are puppies in puppy love, sweet nothings without fire nor fiber, ready to marry up the food chain to further the cause of evolution. Blue-eyed lightning grounds itself in brown-eyed earth, and the rest is history.

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