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View Poll Results: Are you part of a "counter culture"?
Yes 29 50.00%
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:54 AM   #21
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I'm definitely out of the "main stream". I'm too English to ever be american and I've lived in the US for too long to ever be completely at home in the UK.

I'm a physicist who worked for the Man but rejected all the heavy defense stuff for a career in academic biology.

I compost and want to build a "green" house off the grid

I'd never join a club that would have me as a member. I'm a Socialist Libetarian with anarchist tendancies and a bit misanthropic.

I tend towards goth and punk music.
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:54 AM   #22
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No. My counters are cheap laminate.. no cultured stone there.
No, I'm not counter-culture, show me a counter and I'll sit down and order a cup of coffee.
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Old 07-24-2007, 01:18 PM   #23
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On the streets in Chicago in '68, currently have a 85 VW camper, and we're off to Bunring Man ( The Burning Man Project :: Welcome Home ) in Aug/Sept. , spend 3 days each year in a Zen retreat.


This is normal for California, maybe counter culture in Ohio?
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:14 PM   #24
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When I was growing up, very poor, I had pants with patches/holes in them. Then, I was probably counter-cultural. Nowadays, that would make me mainstream.

I wear flip-flops. Does that count?
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:04 PM   #25
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I voted "Yes". I have always wanted to make my own way in the world and rebelled against the stifling thought control of my childhood. Don't fence me in!
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:18 PM   #26
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No, I'm not counter-culture, show me a counter and I'll sit down and order a cup of coffee.
Me Too and I'll probably also have a bagel with creme cheese.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:05 PM   #27
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On a more serious note... I don't watch tv. I also don't recall that we had cable until I was 8 or 9 (side story, we got cable the day the Challenger launched. Yes, that was my big introduction to the wonderful world of tv, death and sadness) and I'm pretty sure that we didn't have cable again when I was about 15. I am horrible with remembering names, much less names of celebrities and the movies they were in... and, I can't sit still long enough to watch a movie as it is.

To top it off, I was homeschooled. My first introduction to public school was college and I seemed to fit in just fine there.

So, basically, my life is a series of people making pop culture references and me looking at them dumbfounded because I have no idea what happened in the 80's or 90's. When we watch anything related to high school, my wife needs to point out to me what it was really like (apparently, not fun if you're a geeky kid).

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't even know what pop culture is to know if I'm counter culture or not.
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:12 PM   #28
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The notion of a mainline popular 'culture' is a bit rich.

Independent thinking, critical reasoning and the ability to speak one's mind are some of great qualities.

If that makes me counter to the popular culture, then so be it.
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:59 PM   #29
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I don't see myself as being in a counter-culture (although I sure wanted to back in the sixties and seventies, but was a little too young/good/middle
class suburban to totally successful in this quest!). It's not so much a deliberate bucking the system---it's more just not finding a comfortable place for myself in a highly conformist consumer culture. And as Want2 said and others, don't need to be pigeonholed. I always get a kick out of kids today who think they're total nonconformists, but instead they all wear the prescribed hiphop/Goth/punk uniforms!

It's not that I ever dropped out of the mainstream culture---I don't think I ever fully dropped in! When I was in grad school in 1976, I chose a low-paying field where I thought I could help others. It never even occurred to me to choose a higher-paying field (of course, I had no idea of the cost of living, never having lived on my own, just going straight from college to grad school). I looked at the business majors and felt sorry for them that they were "selling their souls." I thought most who grew up in the sixties and eventies felt the same way. But somewhere along the line, people changed---and left me behind! So not having had a successful or even average paid career, it wasn't entirely possible for me to fully buy into the consumer culture, although I certainly could have spent up to every cent of my paycheck and not saved anything, as so many co-workers did.

Questions for 3 of you:

Citrine, I admire your values. It takes courage not to buy into the culture. I am pretty familiar with Indian-American culture (friends, books, movies). Do you think it's an unfair stereotype that Indian-Americans---are they called Desi's or ABCDs--are portrayed as being even more consumer-oriented and success-driven than other Americans? Are Indian parents really determined for every child to become an engineer or doctor? If so, I could see where yours wouldn't understand your artistic anture.

Rich, what is the title of the book you read about Indian Americans?

Khan---are you really as much a hermit as you claim to be?
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:40 PM   #30
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Rich, what is the title of the book you read about Indian Americans?
Lahiri, The Namesake

Thanks for reminding me to post it.
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:50 PM   #31
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Although I might have described myself in that way 40 years ago, by now I do not feel part of anything, whether culture or counter-culture.

I am an individualist, and I have finally come to terms with that fact. It is the only way that I can live and be entirely true to myself. Otherwise, I am crowbarring myself into someone else's set of assumptions instead of making my own. We are each inventing ourselves as we live our lives, and in the end, in a sense we are each alone. That is not necessarily so bad.
Couldn't put it better. Dear Husband has a tee shirt that says he is "Diagonally parked in a parallel universe." Kind of sum us up. We do make some of the people uncomfortable some of the time but never all of the time. One of the many reasons it was good that we could FIRE.
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Old 07-25-2007, 06:02 PM   #32
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Dunno that I'm any kind of counter-cultural person. I'm more a Sears poncho kinda guy. Did the Navy thing during the SE Asia adventure under the 4 on the water beats 2 in the jungle theory, but didn't even consider Canada. Did various drugs but didn't join any communes. Had long hair through all our bank loan processes on the properties but finally cut it off a couple years ago. I do think Mick kind of nailed it: "Just as all the cops are criminals, and all that sin are saints, as heads are tails ...."
I think businesses tend to advertise what they wish they had (customer service, lowest prices) and that people tend to gravitate toward the things they feel weakest in: I funded our real estate with work as a mechanic, though i don't feel i've any natural mechanical bent. Now as a landlord I do a fair amount of social stuff with tenants though i am by nature withdrawn. Could it be that we are all internally counter to our selves? Thus being most likely in a culture foreign to our inner essence; thus countercultural?
Love this post.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:03 AM   #33
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Cat---I may need to use your DH's T-shirt saying as a new tagline! Love it...

Rich, thanks. I read The Namesake a couple of years ago and thought it was wonderful. It's now out as a movie (I'll see it when it comes out on DVD).
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:21 AM   #34
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Citrine, I admire your values. It takes courage not to buy into the culture. I am pretty familiar with Indian-American culture (friends, books, movies). Do you think it's an unfair stereotype that Indian-Americans---are they called Desi's or ABCDs--are portrayed as being even more consumer-oriented and success-driven than other Americans? Are Indian parents really determined for every child to become an engineer or doctor? If so, I could see where yours wouldn't understand your artistic anture.


Yes, they are very driven and consumer-oriented....my brother is a prime example....only brand name clothes, wants a big house, visits the trendiest bars/lounges, has an indian girlfriend etc.
My parents would not let us do anything until our homework was finished. My father would tell us that he would only accept A's and if we got anything lower....all hell would break loose. For dinner conversation, he would quiz us on math applications. I was told that I had to put in my time of studying.....then I could do whatever I wanted after I got the indian husband, popped out a couple of kids, and got a good paying job.
My brother has a lot of pressure on him....I have overheard my mother saying to him that I have disappointed them and the family....he needs to become a doctor and make it right. I see him very unhappy in his field....working long hours in residency, never taking the time to pursue his dreams and wants....just living the life that my parents have constructed for him.

In our culture, it is an unspoken given that the children do what the parents want them to. The ultimate duty of the daughter is to get married, provide grandchildren, and defer to her husband. Art and music is a great skill to have, but cannot become a career because there is no money in it.
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:39 AM   #35
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Citrine -

I completely understand where you are coming from; I too grappled with the exact same issues. Although I am not Indian, my parents are European immigrants who instilled the same 'traditional values.'

Life in America has been 'problematic' for me more than anything - I've gone back and forth from thinking and wanting the more traditional life to being my own person and following my dreams. Of course, this didn't always bode well with my parents who wanted me to stay on the straight and narrow, get nothing but As, and be either a doctor or lawyer (preferably doctor). Of course, this means marrying a girl from the old country as well, because according to my family, they have culture and values whereas Americans (as a whole) do not.

I accept some of it, and I reject other notions. I 'rebelled' when I was in high school with all of this. I dyed my hair, rode a skateboard, cut class, was very into photography, art and music, etc. I loved life, however, after high school I regressed back towards my upbringing - somewhat. I never whole heartedly accepted it, but I do accept most of the traditional values than not.

I have many Indian and Pakistani friends, as well as many Europeans - most of these are either immigrants who came to America at a young age, or they are 1st generation. They seem to be some of the only people who truly understand me - a mixed bag of traditional values as well as being an 'American.' Neither fully in one camp or the other. They grappled with the same issues growing up as well, and many seem to have regressed towards the traditional stance as well, but they are very open-minded through their experiences of trying to find their identity; the real them.

This has been by far the toughest task in my life - adhere to culture and tradition or assimilate into a new culture, with other traditions and beliefs? Parents (and extended family) looming over your shoulders with mounting pressure to adhere doesn't make it an easy decision to make, even if you know what you really want, because then it becomes rebellion and ultimately abandonment if you go against the grain. For me, the toughest part was (and still is) trying to figure out which life I really want - a merger of the two is practically unheard of.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:40 PM   #36
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I ran into this when I was dating a beutiful blonde Ukranian girl. Regardless of our mutual feelings for each other, her parents forbid her from seeing me any more. They did not want to risk having a non-Ukranian into their family, losing the focus on continuing their culture.

A good friend in Indian and left the culture to marry a western girl. His family is still in India. He has not been ostricized and goes back once a year to visit. They do not come here though. I guess it was esier because they were not local.
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Old 07-29-2007, 01:45 PM   #37
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kcowan -

Yes, that is pretty common in more traditional families. My parents are 'liberal' with who I date and eventually marry so long as she embodies good values and is 'a good person' (I'm polish, but they would prefer if I married a polish girl). They have been 'Americanized' with having 4 kids who went on to assimilate into American society and succeed - we all modernized and taught our parents along the way, but we still retain our core values from how we were raised.

My girlfriend back in college was Korean, a 1st generation herself. She had to hide me from her family - when we were together and she was going to her parents house then she would drop me off at Borders or Starbucks while she went to see them. I understood this to an extent, but it ultimately wore on the relationship - I began to get frustrated with the entire covert operation of being the boyfriend. I felt like I was the other man.

Many slavic nations operate the same way - there is a distinct culture and tradition which is tough to abandon entirely, and difficult to overcome certain compatibility issues with someone who was not raised the same way. Like your Ukrainian girls parents (Ukrainian women are gorgeous!), it is not looked at as a matter of feelings for one another - compatibility and core values are at the heart of the relationship, along with the culture and tradition. Chemistry follows naturally so long as compatibility is in place.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:32 PM   #38
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This has been by far the toughest task in my life - adhere to culture and tradition or assimilate into a new culture, with other traditions and beliefs?
Quote:
Parents (and extended family) looming over your shoulders with mounting pressure to adhere doesn't make it an easy decision to make, even if you know what you really want, because then it becomes rebellion and ultimately abandonment if you go against the grain. For me, the toughest part was (and still is) trying to figure out which life I really want - a merger of the two is practically unheard of.
Pavo:

I know exactly what you mean. After years of rebelling and trying to find my way....I have come to the realization that God/Higher Power put me on this earth to be a person who is defined by my character...not my religion/race/culture. I have come to terms with the fact that I am me....and that is all that I have to be. I think that we as a society put a lot of value on the "wrapping" rather than the "core" of a person.
I know that when I go to bed at night, I am content with the life that I am leading and the person that I am evolving into....and I guess that is all that I care about.
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:08 AM   #39
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If you're on this forum you're probably saving money and thinking about the future, so you're different from most Americans, but would you additionally describe yourself as part of a "counter culture"?
What is your definition of "counter culture"? My wife says I lack culture.

Before my wife and I FIREd over the last year we were investing about 50% of gross; lived on 25%; with about 25% for taxes. We did all the construction on our 2 houses with the exception of excavation and placing concrete by reading books on the subject. I do all my own repair work including automotive work. We have never taken on any debt. Debt seems like voluntary slavery. I hate the thought of paying someone for something I can do as well or better. Our family car is 15 years old; our TV was bought 27 years ago; do not have cable; do not have a cell phone. I like toys, but they have to justify being purchased. I will buy tools. They can be justified. Vacations usually consist of camping; backpacking; or something of minimum expenditure.

Am I "counter culture" or just cheap?
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Old 07-31-2007, 12:00 PM   #40
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i'm a practicing gay contrarian individualist who almost didn't get barmitzvah'd because i complained to my cantor about the hypocracy of his religion when i was 11 or 12. after being threatened with removal from hebrew school, i capitulated & subdued my critique to please my parents. barmitzvah was my last time in temple.

i am butch enough so that no one growing up knew i was gay. i never quite fit in the gay world either as almost every trick, um, i mean date asked first if i was married or a cop. i rarely attract the right guy; but when i do, the dynamics of the relationship is nothing less than wonderful.

i can see the hypocracy in others as if it were dandruff on the shoulder of a dark shirt in a blacklight. i naturally avoid theories that for me do not hold water and so i have managed to construct for myself ways of thinking that even i can not poke a lot of holes through.

i entered the world of publishing knowing i would not make much money. i was taught to find something you enjoy doing at which you can earn enough money to pay your bills. i had no early retirement role model, only workaholics and i knew i wasn't one of them.

i was never a spender and always a saver. i lived a life of luxury on someone else's money. i have befriended hookers and the holy. i was roomates with the grandson of a president and i have a dear friend who can only afford to live behind a shopping center on a noisy major highway.

even though i never quite felt i fit in, i also never considered myself counter culture. i am aware of prejudicial thoughts which creep up in me but i try my best not to act upon them and i believe these thoughts rubbed off from my culture. i like to think that they are not inherent to me.

in college i joined bucky fuller's world symposium on peace and as a young teen i recycled glass bottles but i otherwise never really tried to change my culture. i'm more observer than participant. my one pet peeve which sets me in motion is that i do not allow people close to me to fool themselves. i didn't get away with it in my family and i do not allow for it in my circle. i would rather be alone.

i try to be sensitive in countering a friend's foolishness but i have found that i am only tolerant to a point and i have lost friends to maintain what i consider to be my integrity. but the close friends who i have allowed into my life have been the most amazing people and i am proud to have known them all. i am, for lack of a better word, pleased to be part of this culture.
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