NJ culture
James Carville on Club Random with Bill Maher
Connecticut does not have a culture, ok?  I'm serious.  New Jersey actually has a culture.

Sacred rocks
This is really insensitive of me, and it's probably racist or elitist or ignorant:  I'm really not swayed by people claiming some area or rock is culturally significant to them and as such, other people shouldn't be allowed to go there or look at it.  The latest example is Uluru in Australia.  Before that, it was Mauna Kea in Hawaii.  This rock was important to your ancestors?  So?  It's a rock.  It was there before you decided it was culturally significant.  It was probably there before human beings existed, and it'll likely be there well after our species goes extinct. #sociology

Society in emergency
One of the disconcerting things about the brief period of pre-panic before the coronavirus quarantine was how unconcerned people were about basic preparation for emergencies.  I stocked up on a few essentials -- canned food, rice, water -- not in any crazy quantity, but enough to last us a few days in case something unexpected happened.  Everybody was like, "How could something crazy happen?"  I guess I've been on the receiving end of enough power outages from minor natural disasters (snow storms, hurricanes, etc.) to know that our society is held together by a very thin thread.  Hurricane Sandy was a real eye-opener in that respect.  When a bunch of people who live in the same area lose the same service at the same time, it suddenly puts a lot of pressure on stores and businesses in the area to provide.  And they obviously can't provide at that rate.  There were a few moments of almost-desperation -- "quick, get that gas container, they're almost all gone" -- where you realize there could've been an incident.  You get one particularly angry person who hasn't eaten or slept well for a couple days, and suddenly you have a spark that can ignite a fire.  It really wouldn't take much.  Add in some restrictions about when you're allowed to be out or how much you're allowed to buy, and suddenly you've got a full-blown panic. 

As much as we like to think we live in a well-run, organized, prepared, abundant society, all it would take to run this train off the tracks is for a store to run out of something -- meat, vegetables, toilet paper -- for some things to start going down.  Desperate people do desperate things to survive, and when scarcity looks threatening, desperation grows. #sociology

Too many fail videos
Things I'll never try because I've seen too many fail videos:  flaming shots of alcohol, hoverboards, exercise ball wars. #sociology

Cultural appropriation
Some people get mad when a person wears something or eats something or uses a phrase from another person's culture.  This is called cultural appropriation.  I really don't see what the big deal is.  Thankfully, this Atlantic article agrees, saying essentially that culture is appropriation.  One group of people likes what this other group of people does, so now they adopt it into their culture.  That's how cultures work.  And probably more so now that we live in such a connected world.  We come into contact with other people's cultures all the time, so appropriating them is second nature.  Take it as a compliment:  I liked your food and clothes so much, I bought some for myself. #sociology

Millennial ghosting
Millennials get blamed for everything, and it's unfair.  But there's this thing called "ghosting" which is when you cut off all contact with a person without telling them a reason.  This is apparently a thing millennials do. 

So at my job, we go through booms and busts, and we've recently been under a hiring freeze.  That freeze was lifted, and we looked for some people to fill some positions.  I work in a pretty specific industry that requires some pretty specific skills, so there aren't a lot of qualified applicants.  But we finally managed to find a few and gave job offers to two of them.  One of them accepted and started a few months ago.  The other accepted, but then we lost contact with him.  Emails and phone calls went unanswered.  The dude ghosted us. 

Ghosting isn't even a thing.  It's a lack of a thing.  It's a temporary method of avoiding an uncomfortable situation.  Instead of calling or emailing to tell an employer, "Oh hey actually I got a better offer from someone else, so thanks but sorry" you just ignore the problem and go on your way like nothing happened.  Guess what?  That employer selected you over other applicants.  They spent time and energy and money trying to employ you, and you can bet your ass you'll never get that courtesy from them again.  Grow the fuck up.  An entire population is criticizing your generation for being lazy and entitled, and you interact with them by being lazy and entitled.  Be an adult.  Stop ghosting. #sociology

Social progress
I like this idea of a social progress index from a group called the Social Progress Imperative that measures overall human well-being: 
  1. Basic human needs
    1. Nutrition and basic medical care
    2. Water and sanitation
    3. Shelter
    4. Personal safety
  2. Foundations of well-being
    1. Access to basic knowledge
    2. Access to information and communications
    3. Health and wellness
    4. Environmental quality
  3. Opportunity
    1. Personal rights
    2. Personal freedom and choice
    3. Inclusiveness
    4. Access to advanced education
It's a cool idea to see how different countries and groups measure up against each other in terms of providing their populations with a set of basic human rights. #sociology

Girls get guns
Since America has a bit of a gun problem that I doubt we'll ever solve, I think one thing we could do is take guns away from men and give them to women.  In fact, when a female child enters the world, she should be given a gun.  Maybe like a small one that's practical and cute for a female baby.  But seriously here's why:  The overwhelmingly vast majority of mass shootings are committed by men.  Men are bad at handling life appropriately.  They're aggressive, and often violent.  They shouldn't be allowed anywhere near guns.  I don't know that switching the ownership of guns from men to women would create fewer mass shootings, but I also don't know that it wouldn't. 

The other incredibly major reason to give girls guns is that they're more likely to be the victims of domestic and sexual violence than men.  I feel like a really easy fix would be to put a gun in every girl's hand.  Try slapping a girl who's aiming a gun at your forehead. #sociology

Student protests
Not to minimize any current topic, but I'm always a little skeptical of student protests, especially when they involve absenteeism.  I was a student once, and I would've taken any opportunity in the world to not go to school.  Mass shooting?  Let's not go to school.  Tests are too hard?  Let's not go to school.  I think it's important for young people to express themselves and determine how they stand on important issues.  But when the result of that is skipping school, it looks a little suspicious. #sociology

Death traditions
I've talked about this before, but I find the entirety of human cultural practices regarding death to be completely ridiculous.  Viewings consist of dressing up a corpse in formal wear and makeup and storing them in an open box so people can look at them.  Why that's comforting for people, I'll never understand.  I find dead bodies to be fairly repulsive, not only because historically they've been the carriers of disease, but also because of this weird psychological thing I have where if something looks alive but isn't it makes me uncomfortable. 

The two funerals I've witnessed recently have both consisted of an open-casket viewing on one day followed by a formal memorial service and burial the next day.  Why do we need to extend this process any longer than it needs to be?  Another funeral I went to had a closed-casket memorial service, followed by a trip to the cemetery where there was an additional memorial service, followed by everyone standing around confused because the body needed to be cremated.  Did the first memorial service not count? 

Storing corpses underground in heavy wooden boxes is weird.  Storing them next to a bunch of other corpses is even weirder.  "This is where we keep all our corpses."  Ok, bro.  I just can't comprehend why a person would want to visit a location of corpse storage to remind themselves their loved one is dead, as opposed to remembering their memory through pictures or ... memories.  A lot of it feels like we do it for the dead person, but I'm nearly certain they don't care. #sociology

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