it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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bears repeating

"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

--George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

(thanks to supergee for the reminder)

I've often said that one of the most useful accidents of training for me as a writer has been a thorough grounding in social anthropology, because it alienates the hell out of you. Seriously, a good bit of an undergrad anthropology program is designed to make you look at your own tribal customs as the bizarre set of beliefs they are.

Once you understand acculturation, you're doomed to spend the rest of your life second-guessing your assumptions. This is a really useful tool for a science fiction or fantasy writer.

Unfortunately, it also makes it really difficult to take better-acculturated people seriously. But since it usually takes two or three years of undergrad training to alienate somebody sufficiently to turn them into an anthropologist, there's not much you can do about it under field conditions.

...of course, the crowning irony here is that the process of breaking somebody's acculturation in order to alienate them from their society is a process of acculturation, too. And the person you wind up with when you're done with them is painfully self conscious, more or less not fit for polite society any more, and probably also a little bit creepy.
Tags: it's turtles turtles turtles, no sense of humor of which we are aware, now *there's* a demographic, qotd
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