Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

Culture Brutality

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I returned from work tonight to find “The Pilot” sitting on my couch.  For a few months now, my roommate and I have taken on a third roommate.  We have a tiny extra room that works perfectly for a party in need of temporary shelter.  My roommate’s co-worker needed a place for her boyfriend to stash a change of clothes and stay a few nights per month.   Perfect.

The Pilot is a Frenchy.  The uber-French type.  Big, pointy, high-heeled, black boots.  Long, dark hair, usually heavily greased and neatly combed back to disguise a neither here nor there wave to his ‘do.  I also witnessed a pair of purple, crushed velvet pants.  On another occassion it was a pair of (children’s?) bicycle shorts being worn around the living room  in some sort of experiment in comfortability.

He pops in and just talks and talks.  It is only for one night per month it seems, so the pay-off is painless.  Don’t get me wrong, The Pilot is a good dude.  Really, he is just a little bit too much of a Dude.  For someone as well traveled as a pilot assumingly is, his vantage point of the world is often “a bit” rudimentary.  Like the Iraq War has gone “a bit” wrong.

He is The Pilot.

Tonight, him and I briefly compared notes on how this culture differs from our own in the workplace.  He made some pretty common points about cultural differences and culture shock.

Somewhere in this time, our friendly housekeeper came to the apartment.  He clearly saw here enter.  She is a nice middle-aged Filipina who works her butt off to put two children through college, living in a country which views and treats Filipinos very poorly.  I was about to retire to my bedroom to stay out of her way when The Pilot came bubbling out of his room with a behind-the-scenes of the newest Iron Maiden DVD.  He was really stoked to watch this thing.  He had been jammin’ on these guys since he was 14, he told me.

Wait! Wait!  Before he pops that in, I have to hear this song.  “Have to.”  I am a man who thoroughly enjoys music, so I am enticed.  Bass beat.  Bass beat.  Then a women moaning.  Moaning louder.  Continuously.  The whole time.  Enter the rapper, some nobody and rightfully so.  The entire song is about just degrading every fiber of a woman in the most blunt, ignorant, thoughtless, uncreative, uninteresting, un-everything way.  All with a screaming moan coming over the backbeat.

I left the room, hoping he would get the clue.  But he had this look.  The look of a young puppy that pisses in your shoe, then comes to show you wagging his tail because he thinks you will be proud of him.  It was a look of sincere unawareness of how awful this song was on two points: #1. the way-too-graphic-porno-macho theme (which I’ve heard more than enough times to become disgustingly desensitized to), and most of all #2. the overall SUCK factor of this entire song.  It was noise.  And here is The Pilot, grinning and nodding.  I felt like washing my couch after.

I don’t have any clue what to say to my housekeeper.  There is a family that lives on the other side of the hall, with a young daughter.  I feel I didn’t turn it off fast enough.  The Pilot was “a bit” confused when I did.  He tells me he cannot wait to here something jam like this in the club.

Ten minutes prior I was venting work-related, culture-guised bullshit.  I exercised my own Western cultural benediction, only to be reminded by The Pilot of my own cultural brutality.  For some things, there is no excuse.  Bad music is one of them.  In all cultures, there are manifestions of the illogical.  The body of Culture carries many ugly scars, and beauty is in the eye of the Beheader.


Written by Miles

January 17, 2007 at 2:16 pm

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