:: Everything you ever wanted to know about taboos, but were prevented by societal norms from asking ::
Monday, January 05, 2004
I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and link to Paul Graham's article on What You Can't Say, because I have a sneaking suspicion that there's not a lot of crossover between my readership and Slashdot's.
I can think of one more way to figure out what we can't say: to look at how taboos are created. How do moral fashions arise, and why are they adopted? If we can understand this mechanism, we may be able to see it at work in our own time.
Moral fashions don't seem to be created the way ordinary fashions are. Ordinary fashions seem to arise by accident when everyone imitates the whim of some influential person. The fashion for broad-toed shoes in late fifteenth century Europe began because Charles VIII of France had six toes on one foot. The fashion for the name Gary began when the actor Frank Cooper adopted the name of a tough mill town in Indiana. Moral fashions more often seem to be created deliberately. When there's something we can't say, it's often because some group doesn't want us to.
Posted by morland @ 07:19 PM
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