Brian Towey ON Y2K AND CULTURE : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here's a repost from dc-y2k-wrp list, with permission from the author:


From: "Towey, Brian"

Hi, Folks-

I just want to add a cultural observation here.

Interesting word, "culture." It has at its core the way you make or grow things. Agriculture. Cultured pearls and cultured yogurt. Right wingers worry about cultural breakdown, but the breakdown has as much to do with forgetting how to grow food and nurse babies as it does with cussing in movies. You can get a Ph.D. from a good school nowadays without understanding how baking powder works.

Anyway, it seems to me that much Y2K preparation revolves around re-establishing and rebuilding a damaged culture. Like learning where your water comes from, and where your sewage goes. Or, learning the difference between hominy grits and regular grits. Or, getting a USGS map of the area and remembering what all those squiggles mean.

Another word I've been thinking about is "Upholstery." It's a very old word that comes from "upholden," to uphold or maintain things. And, here we are buying books on How To Fix Anything, and stocking up on duct tape and super glue. We have rejoined a long line of "upholdesters." We're not just feathering our nests. We're getting ready to hold things together, lest they fall apart for good.

There's moral and ethical culture at work, too. Under the threat of disaster, people are actively confronting and testing the belief systems they learned in Sunday school and Civics class. And, those who face up to the threat and prepare are exhibiting old-fashioned virtues like courage and prudence, temperance and thrift.

The other night when the power was out, we couldn't read bedtime stories to the kids. We had to *tell* stories, instead. How many fairy tales do you know? The Disney versions? Or the Grimms'? Culture is about making music as well as making bricks. Can you play music without a MIDI keyboard and a computer? I've got a soprano recorder in a closet somewhere...

The Cassandra Project emphasizes another kind of cultural rebuilding. (Their Web page seems to be dead, by the way. Are they still in business?) Neighborhoods were once central. If times are bad next year, they will have to be again. Folks are dusting off old memories what it means to live in a community, and remembering that neighborhoods require neighbors.

Almost all of the things we are doing for Y2K prep are what we should have been doing all along: Turn off the TV and get to work. Pay attention to the news, not just the funny papers and the sports page. Compost and recycle. Buy in bulk. Plant a garden. Make your own bread and beer. Make sure you get enough vitamins. Visit your neighbors. Respect your elders.

You know, I half expect to pick up a Y2K survival guide one day and read, "Sit up straight. Eat your spinach. Elbows off the table. Keep your arms in the car and don't hit your sister."

-cbt ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The DC Y2K Weather Reports - Helping People Understand and Prepare.

-- Anita Evangelista (, July 29, 1999


Anita, They changed their web address

-- ExCop (, July 29, 1999.

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