Forum Level of Nice-ness. Cultureshock.

Comments about LibriVox? Suggestions to improve things? News?
Stephan
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Post by Stephan » January 31st, 2006, 1:06 pm

I am not qualified to talk about it.
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LibraryLady
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Post by LibraryLady » January 31st, 2006, 2:36 pm

I do think it is the job of the BC or MC to mentor their readers. I'm not saying cheerleading or false praise, simply acknowledgement of their work. For instance, when someone posts a section for a project for which I am the BC, I post to let them know I got the audio file. When a soloist for whom I am MC posts that a new chapter is up, I respond to let them know that I read their post and encourage them to continue. I think it is important for people to know that their post has been read and their file received, or else they may feel ignored. And, like Betsie said, I've noticed that you do a great job at this for the projects you are coordinating Stephan.
Stephan wrote:Our differences in nice-ness levels is even more important. It makes me feel, like i can?t live up to you all, makes me feel awkward. Do you really think i am the only one with this feeling?
Honestly, yes. Like I said earlier, I don't see any other posters agreeing with you so I do think you are the only one who doesn't like the niceness.
Stephan wrote:Please mind too that there is as good as no other german (or even european?) here communicating so much as me and maybe thats why i am so atuned and sensitive to the different perception.
Other Germans who post regularly: Gesine, Raynr, Fox. Other Europeans: Peter Why, Alex, Wolvrin, and Martin off the top of my head.
Stephan wrote:I mean isn't that topic enormously interesting? And immensly worth talking about? We just get side-tracked so often, by us beeing personaly affronted.
Yes it's interesting and yes it's worth talking about but we've talked and talked and talked about it until we've talked ourselves into circles and we've gotten nowhere. So, as I said before, time to move on. I'm not side tracked by feeling personally affronted, I'm side tracked by getting stuck in an endless debate when I'd rather be recording and cataloging (not to mention doing homework).

So, please, just go record something and chill out a bit.
Annie Coleman Rothenberg
http://www.anniecoleman.com/

"I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice." ~Whitman

Stephan
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Post by Stephan » January 31st, 2006, 2:53 pm

Yup.

(someone please post, so this isn't the last word)
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thistlechick
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Post by thistlechick » January 31st, 2006, 2:58 pm

Stephan wrote:Yup.

(someone please post, so this isn't the last word)
*rotflmao* sure thing!
~ Betsie
Multiple projects lead to multiple successes!

LibraryLady
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Post by LibraryLady » January 31st, 2006, 3:16 pm

Stephan wrote:Yup.

(someone please post, so this isn't the last word)
LOL! Thanks Stephan. :D
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"I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice." ~Whitman

ChipDoc
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Post by ChipDoc » January 31st, 2006, 4:57 pm

Stephan wrote:But doesnt ANYBODY take anything home from this discusion? *drops shoulders*
Its a shiny all american model and there is always that one european barbarian who comes trampling down the flowerbed and the petunias. Isn't that how its always been? *sigh*
I'm really sorry that I was away as this discussion got underway, but I'm not going to let that stop me from speaking up now. Yep, the Net has always been a shiny American thing - not because American's are better at it, or because Americans are (god forbid!) the be-all and end-all of cultural awareness in the world, but simply because the Americans had the money to set up the Net's infrastructure first. I've been in this game long enough to have actually had an old ARPANet login, and there have simply always been a lot more Americans out here than anyone else. In fact, for quite a while there were a lot more Americans out here than everyone else put together.

Because of this, the early net had a pretty universally American flavor. It's the reason you see websites for tiny American businesses in an international forum - not because the folks who set up those sites are hoping do do business around the world, but because the folks who set them up simply don't have any awareness than anyone outside their hometown can even see them.

Now I've always been into the International aspect of the net. Perhaps a part of it is because I'm also a Ham Radio operator and have always enjoyed the cross-cultural interconnectivity which both the net and radio provide. Though it does produce some awkward moments, the confluence of cultures here in this forum is one of the most significant events in the entire history of the human species. Suddenly we are no longer isolated; we each speak as equals in a forum and we all learn from one another. Sometimes those lessons are easier to take than others.

Here's a hard lesson for us Americans; one most of us don't notice here in the forums because of the nature of the people who participate: Most Americans are essentially illiterate. In this country, with the almost unbelievable advantages we have, most people have a hard time in stringing three sentences together. I work at a newspaper (a NEWSPAPER, for crying out loud!) and many of the interoffice memos are simply unreadable! The people who are running the business simply can't do it properly.

This is tough to notice in these forums, since almost everyone who participates actually ARE good at expressing themselves. But think about it. Do any of you have long (or even short) discussions about anything signifigant to the growth of humankind with your friends in real life? Or have people simply put this sort of thing out of their minds altogether in their quest for money to pay the bills and leisure time to forget those responsibilities?

Most people do NOT read for pleasure. Hardly any of us read to our kids. Though there are wonderful examples of literary art here in America, they are appreciated mostly through reviews on television and when they are turned into films. Or Audiobooks for that matter... And this has led to an insularity of thought which takes almost any form of criticism as an affront.

Stephan is RIGHT to persue the quest for high quality in these readings. The way he does it offends some people, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't continue in exactly the same vein. Gesine made an excellent point about the differences between European cultures, just as Mickey made the same point about cultures in the different regions of America. But the intercultural polyglot which is this forum demands that we each try to listen to these varying perspectives without trying to impose our own feelings upon them. It's too easy to get offended that way - particularly when the goal we all share is to make this project better in every way.

But Rev Steve's reference to the American "culture of ingenuine smarmy niceness" is just an example of the irritation which many of us feel. Like "political correctness" it has come upon our culture with a vengance and has been quite successful in both deifying the lowest common denominator and in dampening most real debate. One thing gives me hope though; the voices which are actually heard here in our culture are those which IGNORE those strictures in an attempt to get to the heart of the matter. These folks may be right or they may be wrong, but at least they get attention.

Wow, that was a long rant. Well, I can't be responsible for my culture. I can only be responsible for the way I act. I have had people criticize my work here on LibriVox. Yes it hurts. It's also necessary and I accept it in the spirit in which it was offered - to improve the final product. And I use that criticism to improve my own work further. When I offer criticism, I certainly do make a point to emphisize the GOOD things as well as those which might be improved. It's neither smarmy nor ingenuine. It takes a lot of gumption to read aloud, and I'm happy that anyone does it and wish to encourage them in that. I do not try to hold them to the standards which I developed for myself in many years of doing professional voicing; that's unrealistic - particularly when you consider that I have a long way to go to get back to those standards myself.

There really is room for everyone here at LibriVox. It's one of the true charms of the place.
-Chip
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[i]The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.[/i]
~Mark Twain

Stephan
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Post by Stephan » January 31st, 2006, 5:42 pm

I must not answer. I must not answer. I must...not..ans...we..r
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Gesine
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Post by Gesine » January 31st, 2006, 5:48 pm

Chip wrote:Well, I can't be responsible for my culture.
Well yes, you can. Whenever you're part of a culture, you're also able to, perhaps even responsible for, shaping it, changing it, influencing it. Culture is made by people.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world." Albert Einstein

Stephan
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Post by Stephan » January 31st, 2006, 6:04 pm

I can critisize my own culture. Hence reason > culture.
So you can be held responsible for going along with an unreasonable culture. But i guess looking beyonds ones own culture is hardest. In a world of peace nobody would shoot anybody for not beeing able to look beyond its own culture, because it is so understandably hard.

I still gotta read rousseau, but i think he came to a point where he despised his own culture and wanted a radically new. People of his time laughed at him, thought of him as crazy, couldnt understand why somebody would want to put himself out of the system. And after all trying to critizing a system from within, while beeing part of it will always lead to some self-contradictions. Rousseau noticed this and started to hate himself for it, lamenting and selfpitiing a lot. Its what i would like to record right after i am through with that fiction i got going...or uhm...try. :lol:
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RobertG
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Post by RobertG » January 31st, 2006, 6:25 pm

Stephan wrote:I must not answer. I must not answer. I must...not..ans...we..r
:lol: :lol:

Man... this is becoming like a night of the living dead thread! I ain't saying that is all bad, neither! (oops, there goes Eugene slippin' in!) Seriously...
ChipDoc wrote:But think about it. Do any of you have long (or even short) discussions about anything signifigant to the growth of humankind with your friends in real life?
Actually, yes, Chip. I do this all the time. I do it with my mother, I did it with my father when he was still alive, I do it with my children. Okay, that's family and I think it's important to discuss the real things of life with the people I love. There can be no facades or shallowness there, else the center will collapse.

But I also do this with complete strangers that I meet along the way. I have even had these conversations with engineering students in the heart of the military-industrial complex within our country. This at the risk of being led to the gate under gunpoint and thrown out.

You know what? People generally respond favorably to "real speak"-- even those that some refer to as wingnuts in our country. I would go so far as to say people are hungering for it. Sometimes they don't even know they are hungering for it, until they hear it.

I am not the only one, by any stretch. I have run across others who do the same. Heartingly enough, many are young. It gives me hope when I see that the young are not completely snuffed out by oppressive consumer group-think. While it has pained me to see some of the anguish that Stephan has been going through, I commend his courage in asking questions and being real.

Gesine is correct. We are responsible for more than ourselves. To just groom ourselves, our own minds and lives to be enriched while neglecting to reach out in a real way to those who are different, or especially those that we might even be afraid of (for vague and uncertain reasons) does not really make for a life worth living.

It is not enough to read the story, though we can learn through that process. We must also write the story, be the story, live the story. As I have said before, that story is our own lives and we write it with our blood and our breath.

I know that many Americans (at least the stereo-typical Americans) are not very interested in the discussion of anything meaningful. We are pressed by our corporate society to fit the mold of good and obedient consumer. But I think that there is a strong and growing undercurrent in America that is rejecting that now. To my European friends who have not come to the United States or Canada to see first-hand, let me assure you that this is not a vast continent of Hollywood stereotypes.

Change begins with the individual but it flows by that individual reaching out to another who reaches out to yet another.

My grandfather was a poor Texas sharecropper who watched his first wife and first three children die of disease and poverty. Yet, he was respected by landowners and others in the region even though he wasn't a windbag (like his grandson). I could very easily say that he was representative of the ideal American of that period-- strong, silent, fair, etc.

But he was also the third generation of a German immigrant!
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Stephan
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Post by Stephan » January 31st, 2006, 7:14 pm

We are pressed by our corporate society to fit the mold of good and obedient consumer. But I think that there is a strong and growing undercurrent in America that is rejecting that now.
oh living bondaged to corporations and brands and blind consumerism isn't american at all anymore. Maybe america is where it began, the corporate model, strategical advertising...you?re just a bit ahead....but its well underway to beeing neatly repeat in the exact same way and scale here. We blindly copy the success receipt of your country, you know. Heck, it gets the most money to the ones who really crave for it, who go along with it, don?t it. Whether its increasingly inhumane or not - who cares.

Thinking and precision once was germany, and we let it out of sight. We let our school system out of sight, our teaching, most valuable rescource of a thinking country - to get young talent. Our teachers are heavily overworked and have to care about so many children that they all don?t get enough attention. Families don?t attend to their kids enough either, because its money and other wished they prefer - families easily break too and nobody wants to have kids anymore in the first place. In Munich for instance only 15% of the households have kids at all. 80% of the female managers, 60% of the female scholars would rather not have kids at all. All along our teachers have to make up for the family-destruct.

Consumerism eats and plows under grunge and punk easily, any weak ecological movements,... someday there?s got to be a HUGE cultural upheaval. The undercurrent you?re mentioning, is audible here too. It might come to a huge cultural fight between the accelerators and the decellerators. "bigger, faster, newer, better, more, competition, simultanious, money, technik, ever more flexible and mobile" AGAINST "slowness, renunciation, humane, calm, control, intensity, mindfullness, ecological reasoning". Its a long way till enough people moved into the latter extreme. But then its a cultural fight, i?d like to see.
And i wonder what this cultural fight might look like.

A sudden massive consumer waiver! Yay. Corporations shocked. Massive dismissals but nobody cares.
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RobertG
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Post by RobertG » January 31st, 2006, 7:46 pm

Let me clarify one thing from my earlier post and then I've really got give this topic a rest or I'll accomplish nothing this evening.

Before the clarification, let me say that it baffles me entirely why anyone would want to copy the American corporate model in their own country. It is a self-defeating, unsustainable model. I guess it's the "I've got to have that shiny toy in the window" syndrome.

Now for the clarification.

When I was born in 1953, there were just slightly under three billion people on this planet. Now, there are well over six billion. This has happened within my memory and lifetime.

I do not believe that some great cultural revolution is going to come about because suddenly all of these people became enlightened through discourse amongst the nations. I wish I could believe that but there is the weight of thousands of years of human history that argues against it.

Change is going to come because the center cannot hold and it is only a matter of time before it collapses inward. There will be fights resulting from that but it will not be pleasant to see or even be a part of.

I am no great believer in human social systems. One collapses, another arises and the common man goes on as best he can.

My country has accumulated massive debt and precious little good will in the world. We are armed to the teeth but I doubt that will save us in the end.

Chip, this is why I talk to my children and others. This is why I will talk to my grandson when he is capable of comprehension. It is they that will inherit the whirlwind when I am long gone.

It is also why I speak to anyone who seems willing to talk about anything other than the latest episode of a reality tv show or who will become the next American idol.

I'd like to give them a few intellectual and emotional tools to help them through. And to ensure that not all laughter dies.
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ChipDoc
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Post by ChipDoc » January 31st, 2006, 10:18 pm

Gesine wrote:
Chip wrote:Well, I can't be responsible for my culture.
Well yes, you can. Whenever you're part of a culture, you're also able to, perhaps even responsible for, shaping it, changing it, influencing it. Culture is made by people.
This is certainly true in the micro sense, and in that sense I work hard to influence my culture. I treat everyone gently, I try to help where I can, I try to get through the day without causing folks grief. But to say that I am responsible for the American culture is like saying that a library clerk is responsible for the corruption within government. It's simply not true. We each do the best we can, but culture happens on a grand scale, not an individual one.

As you said, culture is made by people; I am person.
-Chip
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ChipDoc
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Post by ChipDoc » January 31st, 2006, 10:38 pm

Stephan wrote:So you can be held responsible for going along with an unreasonable culture.
This is true, but it's a matter of degree. Should I have been held responsible had I lynched a man? Should I have been held responsible if I stood in a mob and cheered as a man was lynched? Should I have been held responsible if I stood by silently and watched a man lynched? Should I have been held responsible if I knew a man was lynched but did not attend the event? Should I have been held responsible if I lived in the area where a man was lynched but did not know about it? Should I have been held responsible if I knew about it but was prevented from attending or participating in the event because of some unrelated circumstance? Should I have been held responsible if I lived in the country where a lynching took place, but far from the area?

What is "going along with" a culture, anyhow? Acting the way everyone else acts? Acting as I think best? When is going your own way a noble rejection of a wrongheaded idea, and when is it just being curmudgeonly? Is it ok to do the right thing for the wrong reason? Or for no reason?

You cannot paint individual actions with a cultural brush; culture is the action of masses rather than the action of individuals.
I still gotta read rousseau, but i think he came to a point where he despised his own culture and wanted a radically new. People of his time laughed at him, thought of him as crazy, couldnt understand why somebody would want to put himself out of the system. And after all trying to critizing a system from within, while beeing part of it will always lead to some self-contradictions. Rousseau noticed this and started to hate himself for it, lamenting and selfpitiing a lot. Its what i would like to record right after i am through with that fiction i got going...or uhm...try. :lol:
I've got to admit that I'm not familiar with Rosseau. Perhaps we could do that as a group project and all of us learn something!
-Chip
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Gesine
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Post by Gesine » February 1st, 2006, 8:49 am

Chip, my point was that the masses are made up of people. You already said you're doing your bit to make certain changes, by treating people in a certain way, trying to help where you can etc. This will, in its tiny way, have an influence on your culture, and that's the responsibility I was talking about.

As for the nastier things that happen in life, of course you're not responsible, unless you have direct influence over it, or condone it. Culture is not only made, it is also inherited, and it takes a looooong time, and a lot of effort, to change it - even a micro culture, for instance in an organisation, or a family. But change it does, all the time - and the change originates from persons like you.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world." Albert Einstein

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