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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

EXPLORING CULTURAL PISSABILITIES

The Anglosaxon/Nordic fear of "pissing people off" never ceases to amaze me. Of course, I live in a country where "pissing people off" is the national pursuit. Nothing is off-limits or reverent. As for politically correct...well, forget it!

At work, people may comment on the size of your bazookas or someone may ask you "Did you not have sex last night?" People argue at the laiki (fruit and veggie markets) as they haggle over prices and there's no problem in screaming at a family member when in public (forget reality TV, this is sheer reality with loads of interaction by passers-by).

It's lots of fun, really. Quite communal and catharctic. And I've grown quite used to this argumentative atmosphere. Strangely fond of it, even.

When in Australia I feel quite disconcerted when I discover bank errors and head to the teller in Rambo fashion only to find a meek, apologetic response and the matter quickly resolved without the flourish of emotions and flamboyance I am used to. Shucks, disappointment, I don't even get to call that teller a "moron".

When blogging it is quite unbalancing to visit other bloggers, disagree with them on political issues by calling them "dickheads" and come back the next day to find a pathetic response comment stating "Yes Purple Cow, shame on us. You are right." Or to blog post something like CLICK HERE and to have people feeling perplexed rather than fuming.

A Greek would throw ancient history in your face, even if you are right. The best way to get Greeks to agree with you is to praise their country so that they, not you, have the satisfaction of pointing out all there is wrong with it.

So how come we are like this? Is it because the sun has got us hot and bothered? Is it because we lived in slavery for 400 years of Ottoman Turkish rule and felt so stifled, frustrated and oppressed that all this uncivilised behaviour just rises to the fore? Has our volatile Balkan pressure cooker environment influenced our personalities as much as it has our politics? Is it because the system is set up in such a way (crooked cops, lazy public servants, etc) that you cannot "complain" to a body and get things done so that you are forced to speak up for yourself?

Would Germans and Swedes, with their mentality and beliefs, be just as productive as they are now if by pressing some magic button they could have the same hot living environment and Balkan neighbours that Greeks have? I wonder.

What do you think?
Speak freely, don't worry about pissing me off.

PS. I must give credit where credit is due...this post was inspired by Sharon and Robin's posts where they worry about pissing people off. Beats me why one should be worried. I'd be proud of breaking through someone's numbness and having them want to bash my head in. Much prefer it when they like me though.  

8 comments:

Sharon said...

I feel better already. Thanks for this post. It's always good to get an unexpected and positive perspective on a perceived personal flaw.

Maybe I should move to Greece. Perhaps my ability to offend is really only an innate talent for honest negotiation. :-)

Purple Cow said...

Every flaw has an upside. It's just a question of how you use it...

Yeah, move to Greece! Oh, what fun we'd have abusing the crap out of each other! Hahaha, like tennis, but for the nerves...

Robin said...

I laughed all the way through this post. We live in a society that raelly doesn't like confrontation. Or at least, that is what I have found to be true. And, because no one likes it, you don't get an opportunity to be good at it. I tried to imagine what it would be like to grow up in a society that embraced it. I can see that this environment (blogger) would be strange for you. As for me, I don't know what living in someplace like Greece would do to me. I have the innate desire to "fix it" for everyone. All of that fighting would be hard for me. I can see my migraines going through the ceiling. The thing for me is this: eventually I have to decide whose opinions matter and whose don't. It took me too long to figure that out. Ultimately my own matter the most. But, there are other people's whose opinions matter to me, too, and I can choose not to air mine in front of them. It is just a matter of being diplotmatic about things.

Anyway, I ran on again. I really did love your post. I am going to assume from your silence that you didn't like your video clip. I will try to do better next time... Oh, and I am not offended. How about that? Of course, you didn't come over to my page and leave a smackdown comment, either. So, it's all good.

Purple Cow said...

What do you mean I didn't like the video clip? I responded to the post...did you not see????

Purple Cow said...

For some reason my comment was not on...I don't know what happened...it must have got LOST in transit. By the way, you now have me watching LOST online. See, you are influencing me Robin (and I'm not sure if its for the better!)

Anyway, I left another comment. Have a nice evening, dawn, morning or whatever time it is there.

PS Did you notice that I used your "pissibility" word?

Robin said...

You have me laughing again. I am sorry to be a bad influence. I love LOST. Sorry. I did notice that you used pissabilities. I need to start using it more often. In fact, I could have used it in today's blog. I should go back and edit it in.

When you go to youtube, underneath the video sometimes it will say "embed." If it does, click it. A code will appear to the left. Just click on it and copy it. Then paste it into your post. You have to be in the HTML mode to do this for it to work. Sometimes the originator will have the embed feature disabled. In that case, you have to use the old fashioned link process. Hope that helps.

Schafner said...

Great writing.

Even greater read -- thanks for the fun.

Purple Cow said...

Thanks Schafner. Glad you enjoyed.