Best of the Week
of Oct. 24, 1999

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Oct. 24, 1999, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing our new database using our search form, or, in the case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in our Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the new database as well). In the Original Archives and the new database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.


Question:
I believe it a custom of Jewish origin to set an extra place at the table so there is a place for Elijah to sit and eat, should he come. My general understanding is that it is a custom having to do with hospitality, but I would like to know more. Can anyone help?
POSTED 10/25/1999
David G., Snowflake, AZ, United States, Male, Unitarian Universalist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Learning Disability, diabetes, others as well, Minister, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1022199951312

Responses:
The customs vary somewhat, but generally it is accepted that Elijah's spirit will visit at every Pesah (Passover) seder. For me, the custom I follow is to leave a door open for him to come. Others may set an extra place setting, but I'm not specifically aware of it.
POSTED 10/27/1999
Jesse N., Herzliya, NA, Israel, 40, Male, Jewish, Engineer, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1026199923105
To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
What does black people's hair feel like?
POSTED 10/25/1999
C.P., Montreal, Quebec, NA, Canada, 21, Female, Mesg ID 1022199983130

Responses:
These blanket questions gain so few yards in understanding. Not in a million years would I ask "What does white people's hair feel like?" (partly because I already know). To answer you directly, it depends on the particular texture of our hair. I'll tell you about my household: I wear locks. My hair doesn't have any chemical (relaxer) in it. I naturally have soft, coily hair that doesn't have much density. I'm not exactly sure what wool feels like, but I have heard references that black hair has a woolly feel. I suspect my hair is a cross between this and a little coarser than cotton balls. My locks are uniform in shape and size. Many have commented that my locks 'feel' softer than they 'look.' My oldest daughter has a perm (straightened hair). She keeps it conditioned fairly well, but she also puts a lot of heat on it. (I have a typical hip hop kid.) Her hair is softer than my locks (provided it doesn't have hair spray on it) and is thicker than mine. Still, she doesn't have what would be called thick hair (a great number of hair strands from a single hair folic). My youngest daughter has a head full of thick, dark brown hair. It has never been chemically treated. When washed, she has beautiful ringlets all over her head, and it is a tangled mess. Her hair is oilier than mine and my eldest child's. Her hair has a natural, wavy pattern. It requires a lot of brushing and needs to be conditioned well to keep it manageable. I put little oil on it. Otherwise it holds a lot of dirt and becomes coarser to the touch. My oldest daughter and I both use a light oil more frequently to keep our hair properly moisturized, which prevents breakage. Hopes this helps.
POSTED 10/27/1999
Zawadi, Farmington Hills, MI, United States, <aquarius9@hotmail.com>, 34, Female, Black/African American, Publishing, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1025199954414
To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
Why is it that Christian networks/shows feature people with really big hair and lots of make-up and gawdy, over-decorated sets? It makes me cringe, so I always skip over those channels -probably exactly the opposite reaction these people want. Do they think that kind of image will really convert viewers?
POSTED 10/25/1999
Jenna M., Albuquerque, NM, United States, 28, Female, Agnostic, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1024199911806

Responses:
The styles you describe are those prevalent in the Southern part of the country. That part of the country also produces the greatest number of 'Born-againers,' who are also the people who watch these shows. I suspect that the folks broadcasting these shows are not actually trying to convert anyone. What they are doing is raising funds to perpetuate the TV show, with money left over to pay the evangelist. Ergo, you are probably not the target audience in the first place.
POSTED 10/25/1999
PappaJerry, Tampa, FL, United States, 66, Male, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 10251999114850

Did you check how old the shows are? Big hair and lots of makeup sounds very 1980s. Perhaps the reason the shows are like that is the era in which they were produced.
POSTED 10/27/1999
T.R., San Jose, CA, United States, 17, Female, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Less than High School Diploma,Mesg ID 1026199943718
To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
Does it not seem that in countries such as France, the level of intellectual/academic standards seems to be of a higher and better quality than in countries such as the United States and Great Britain?
POSTED 10/21/1999
Marilyn H., Boulogne, NA, France, <marilynhubert@goplay.com>, 29, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student, Over 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1021199991552

Responses:
My sense is that, while a graduate of an elite secondary school in France is much better educated than an 18-year-old graduate from an American high school, French colleges and universities are woefully inferior to America's better colleges and universities. Moreover, while France's schools do a good job in some respects, they do a very poor job at producing innovative thinkers and inventors. Think about it - when is the last time you heard of a French firm coming up with cutting-edge technology? And when students from around the world wish to study engineering or computer science, where do they go? To France? Hardly. They flock to American colleges. Indeed, outstanding French science or technology students prefer American colleges!
POSTED 10/22/1999
Astorian, Austin, TX, United States, 38, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Programmer, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1022199923919

One thing distinguishes French education: High school students learn philosophy - clear thinking outside of ideology. Americans, and Australians like me, carry lots of ideological baggage, which is difficult to abandon
POSTED 10/25/1999
Kent, Melbourne, NA, Australia, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 10231999100914
To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
I'm doing research on rock and rap music. Do you think these are negative or positive forces in society? I would appreciate a response. Please state whether you want your name used. Thanks.
POSTED 10/21/1999
Diviana, Huntsville, AL, United States, 19, Female, Black/African American, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 10201999105335

Responses:
I'm a 17-year-old and love all different types of music. I don't feel that any one type can be considered a bad thing. Every different type of music reaches out to a different audience. Music all has a message, and it doesn't matter in what way it's presented. Although there are some negative mssages portrayed in rock and rap music, there are a lot of positive messages, too. But there is nowhere in the world where you will find anything existing in only its own honest form; there will be deviations in every element of life, music included. The rock and rap music of today is to many teenagers the silent voice within themselves; so many kids identify so strongly with some of today's bands and their messages. Who could ever see this as a bad thing? Although negative messages do exist, they are all around us in our world. It is not the rock and rap bands that 'poison our minds,' it is not these bands that inspire kids to get guns and shoot their schoolmates. Rock and rap bands today and their messages do not influence society, society influnces them. I hope my input could be of some use to you. You have my permission to use or publish my name and/or my comments. Good luck in your search.
POSTED 10/25/1999
Cassidy W., Peace River, NA, Canada, <ldwald@telusplanet.net>, 17, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Student, Less than High School Diploma , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 10251999121029

I believe that music is a barometer for what is going on in our society. People like to blame music for the problems in society - especially rock and rap music - but I think music reflects what already exists in society. A person can learn a lot about a specific time period by listening to the popular music of that time. So I think that rap and rock are positive aspects of society. Many people feel otherwise, but I think their feelings stem from a dislike of the type of music in general or a fear of the societal issues brought out in the music.
POSTED 10/25/1999
Lucy H., San Jose, CA, United States, 24, Female, Hispanic/Latino, Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 1021199940750
To respond
BACK TO TOP


Question:
What are people's opinions of unmarried women? What is your reaction to a woman telling you she is unmarried, but a mother? What about unmarried and childless? Does that opinion change based on age? At what age is it still OK to be unmarried and female? What about a man in the same spot? If you were to meet a man who is 35 and unmarried, would you assume there was something wrong with him?
POSTED 2/10/1999
Apryl P., Oak Park, MI, United States, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 2109910800

Responses:
I'm 39, never married and never had children. I feel I am basically happy in the single mode. Marriage is not necessary to fulfill my life. I earned a master's degree, have a good job that I like, bought a house, have two dogs that I'm passionate about and do regular volunteer work. A man would be nice, but not essential. However, I did get upset when my father told me that my uncle asked if I was gay because I had not found a husband. In my low moments, I, too, have wondered what is wrong with me. Luckily, those low moments are few. I haven't thought much one way or the other about unmarried men. As for never-married women with children - I'm against it. I think children should have two involved parents. I guess I vent my maternal instincts by having dogs.
POSTED 10/25/1999
Sue, Wilmington, DE, United States, 39, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 10231999112904
To respond
BACK TO TOP


  Copyright and disclaimer