Monday, March 16, 2009

Cultural Perspectives

This semester I am taking two culture related courses. One is about the overall view of culture and how it intersects with the axes of language, power-relations, race relations, historical relations and so on. The other course is all about how one goes about the task of integrating the culture of a foreign country (or group of people) when you are teaching the language of that country or group.

One of the elements that has come up is that each person, and each culture, are in fact shaped by various socio-economic-political-historical (and more) powers that are in effects in the regions where they grew up, where their parents grew up, their friends, families and coworkers. Within this shaping we have the creation of artifacts that are relevant to that culture.

Now snap forward to regular life outside the classroom. I was catching up on my reading of the FAIL blog, and I saw this image (you need to follow the link since it may not be appropriate for work).

This is a picture of a road sign. On the left hand side there is a drawing. I looked at the drawing and it kinda looked like a phallus with a hand on it, and a "NO" sign superimposed. I thought to myself that this couldn't possibly be a phallus. I looked at the text next to the warning and it said "Strictly no wanking during work hours". Waaaaaa? Is this for real?

If anyone knows (or has theories) as to how this sign came to be I would be really interested in learning about the cultural background.
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