“Culture is everything,” fellow Luce Scholar Mark L. said during one of our orientation lectures (the one about culture shock). “It’s what you do with your time. It’s what you do. It’s where you go. It’s everything.”
His statement went along with what I think might be the single most important sentence I heard from any professor all through college—from a guest lecturer in Brian Van Norden’s Intro to Asian Studies class as Vassar. She was a lively woman from the anthropology department. “Anthropology is based in this idea we have that culture is as much of a force in human life and behavior as the seasons, or even gravity. Culture,” she said, and this is what stuck, “is as real as a rock.”
--That popular movie that starts with three sisters eating in their lamb’s wool coats in their ger. The sequel ends with the prettiest one baring most of her body to a wildly cheering audience in a pop show. She’s the new Britney! She’s skinny! She’s shimmying! Her midriff is tiny! The crowd is going insane!