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Posts: 1989
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2000 4:51 am

Politics, Religion-polite?

Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:44 am

I work with a bunch of Brits, Canadians and Arabs. Last time I was at work I got in a bit of an argument with a Brit who was always going on about religion, and how stupid it was, and politics, re the US and Iraq,etc. He was annoying a few people, (myself included) and I pointed out to him that in Canada, it is generally considered impolite and inappropriate to discuss religion or politics at work, or at a party or any social gathering, since both topics are usually near and dear to peoples hearts and only end up in pointless arguments.
Obviously this is not the case on A.net, but how about your country?
Posts: 348
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2004 2:22 pm

RE: Politics, Religion-polite?

Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:14 am

This is a good question. In the USA it depends really on where you live. I think that in the coastal cities debate and discourse are often appreciated. In the middle of the country I tend to think it is similar to Canada in the way in which people are generally unassuming and humble. I have lived all over the midwest and I would have been looked at poorly if I would have brought up politics and especially religion. Perhaps its a reason why so many Americans(Including me) feel very comfortable in Canada(and vice versa).

When I lived in Europe I found that baby boomers were similar to people around where I grew up but that people my age(25-35) had a tendency to speak about politics quite often, and often obnoctiously and with a great deal of ignorance about the US(Very similar to how people from the US would sound if they tried to develop opinions about Europe without spending a significant amount of time there.) Most of these people were university students so I dont that could be a completely accurate view of entire societies...but it was my conclusion.

War is a very poor political tool
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Politics, Religion-polite?

Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:15 am

Europeans and Americans seem to have varying levels of decorum, in France if we do not know someone we address them as vous, not tu. We do not begin conversations with direct personal inquiries and we do not discuss personal issues with people whom we do not know well. I believe it has become a bit more open since m childhood in the 70's, but the standards are still different in the US, where we begin conversations with name, occupation and life history in many cases. In classes for Salespeople I have taught around the country we always tell salespeople to avoid discussion about politics and religion with people as there is always someone you are likely to offend in any group.

The younger people everywhere are the less decorum they seem to have when it comes to sensitive issues. The idea of polite conversation has its roots in the era when people were prone to violence when offence was given. It allowed, and still does, people to exchange ideas and discuss issues in a calmer environment.

Today people have far fewer inhibitions and wish to take things farther than their elders merely for the purpose of appearing smarter and more daring. It is often an attention getting device when one is rude or aggravating. As we have become a more fast paced society these trends in our society have increased in speed.

Here on A.Net there is the additional anonymity which allows some to feel that they are entitled to say the most obnoxious and abominable things, that would probably incite violence if uttered directly to someone in person. This tendency typically reduces the exchanges to the third stage of sex during marriage (where the two people sit in separate rooms yelling screw you at each other). The actual exchanges of ideas here do occasionally rise above this, and that makes this forum worthwhile. Just like polite conversation can allow a discussion to reach some kind of mutual understanding which makes that process fulfilling.
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