[LMB] Re: Cultural differences

CatMtn at aol.com CatMtn at aol.com
Sat, 29 Nov 2003 16:21:43 EST

Paula writes:
New York City and Texas are on the same continent, and in the same company.
Miles isn't from the same nation, the same country, the same continent, or
the same stellar system as Elli is from, and who knows about religious
backgrounds for them.  We've seen seen Miles practicing at least some
Barrayaran funerary traditions, with cutting off locks of hair and burning
them and such.  That's not likely to be a Kline Station habit.  Miles is
from a planet, Elli from a station.  There are very different views involved
in that.  Miles grew up under an open sky and breathable atmosphere and wide
horizon.  Stations don't have wide open skies, and probably from a very
early age emergency procedures and discipline get drummed into Kline Station
residents.  Look at the influene of Horrible Helda, who has no real
counterpart on Barrayar.   Imperial Auditors and the Health Department head
on Kline Station, as not interchangeable, even though they have
extraordinary powers to interfere with the lives of everyone else.

M replies:

If you think that a Texas small town and Manhattan have many cultural 
similarities, you haven't been to at least one of them.  Did you ever see the movie 
"Raggedy Man" with Sissy Spacek?  The town that was set in was the one I taught 
in for seven years after two years of teaching in Corpus Christi--about five 
miles from where I grew up--and had the advantage of being on a road that 
didn't just get to the town and stop there like the road to my home town did. 
Miles and Elli spoke the same language--so did Joe and I.
Miles and Elli were both in some sort of military careers--scratch that one; 
he was a lawyer, I was a teacher.

Joe grew up going to Broadway shows, Rockefeller Center, Museums, art 
galleries, movies--in walking distance or a subway ride.  He went to a scholarship 
high school that had a competitive entrance exam.  We didn't even have a TV 
station close enough for reception until I was grown, let alone a movie theater, 
and certainly no public transportation.  There were about 100 kids in the four 
grades of my high school, and abilities varied along the normal curve.  We did 
have a library, but I had read every book in it except the dictionary 
multiple times before I was twelve.  I'm not claiming to have understood all the 
nuances of some of the classics, but speaking as a compulsive reader, it was WORDS 
and I was an addict.  OTOH, when I went to Manhattan, the libraries were 
great but I was as claustrophobic as Barrayarans who went to Komarr--It felt like 
all those tall buildings were going to fall on me or I was going to be 
smothered in the crowds.  

However, we had similar senses of humor, ethics, values, priorities, 
patriotism, and goals, and respected one another's intelligence, so we managed to work 
through the rest.  That's where Miles and Elli seemed to come up short, at 
least on the priorities, patriotism, values, and goals part.  They had 
everything else, but if two people don't want the same kind of life, it's just not 
going to work, even if the woman appears to be more fun (to somebody else, not the 
man involved).  Miles and Ekaterin have the same patriotism, priorities, 
values, and goals, along with the same background and sense of humor, and they 
also respect one another's abilities as much as Miles and Elli do.  I think 
they've got a better chance than most.