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Monday, November 28, 2011

Where 'Ya From?!

I've given some thought occasionally about the weather, the region where I live and how that may have affected  my personality in any way. Obviously on the surface it's obvious that it's true that region and weather affect things like a persons personality, tendencies say to be out of doors, that kind of thing...It can even in a larger sense affect the culture of the people around them. This would be particularly true if you lived in an area populated by a large ethnic presence...say the Irish in Boston, New York or Chicago are good examples. 

But we see less and less of that "neighborhood" effect anymore here in America. I think we are grouped more by the region where we live.  I for example, have lived in the lower peninsula of Michigan since the early 1980's, spending the majority of that time in Holland, Michigan. Yes, a place that definitely had a strong ethnic influence...Hispanic! 

That's right, Holland had a definite Mexican feel to it even though you would obviously think it was the Dutch. When I first moved there it was a more noticeable Dutch influence but there was always a large population of migrants in the area that stayed after harvest because of the low cost of living, nice town, good schools. Every year after harvest more and more workers stayed and soon there was a large and vibrant Hispanic Community in Holland and it's stronger then ever today.

But even the Mexican population is more affected by what I have come to call the "Michigan Culture" then even they would imagine: Out doors oriented people, hunter/fishermen (sportsmen), winter sports, rural/country feel, blue collar yet educated, etc.  I would say that is mostly the type of cultural lifestyle that has rubbed off on me as well.

I was not raised that way back home in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio but I definitely have a farmer/hunter mentality now...I own firearms and know how to use them, I eat food I catch or kill....I think the emphasis in Michigan..indeed it's an American trait as well is on independence more then any other entity.

I have no clue where this post-riff idea came from is not something that was on my mind or an issue in any way but it's relevant I guess to the kind of person I am. But I was a person who had moved here from another area and I stood out like a sore thumb...both ears pierced, long hair, a bit more liberal socially (though conservative fiscally, especially when I was wealthier with assets!) and I tended to flaunt the differences. 

Holland in particular was ultra-conservative and religious (we call West Michigan the northern Bible-Belt) and that gave me a ton of cannon fodder targets in the local hypocrite/religious nut population I so frequently ridiculed. And they were ripe in their hypocrisy...they were the classic "Sunday" Christians...then they drank, lied and cheated on each other's spouses every other day of the week. There was so much judgmental attitude and self righteousness behavior it would have been hard to actually believe it was true if I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes. I relished ripping these assholes to shreds...

A life long resident of Holland, K-Sue will attest to the truth of this portrayal here. She was raised in a Christian Reformed Household and it was incredible how much emphasis was put on LOOKING GOOD, looking like nothing is EVER wrong...even when there was a lot that was really wrong! They always acted pious even though they didn't practice what they preached...which was NEVER. It really damaged Kim, especially her self-image being brought up this way but hey...that is a whole freaking post all on it's own.

So that is why I frequently will mention here on Shell Shock how weird it is that I am now a Christian because my whole opinion of Christians was based on this stereotype and caricature...I couldn't have been more wrong about that!

I think this is an interesting topic with some more room to explore so perhaps we'll visit again some time...but for now, well it is time for supper.

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