Thursday, September 9, 2010

"The Grid" is real, and it knows where you live.

Our Relief Society is having it's "extra curricular" meeting outside of normal church meetings this week. Our activity this autumnal Thursday evening is to discuss the various cultures of the women present in our ward. As one of only 2 American expatriates in our congregation (and the only one of us under the age of 80), I've been asked to present on my culture.

Firstly, I'll enjoy getting to talk about America, but unlike Europe we don't have one single ethnic culture that corresponds nearly coterminously with our borders. Trying to talk about "American culture" would take ages to decently give face time to each minority in the melting pot. Even to discuss my own experience of American culture involves talking about Irish, German, and Scottish immigrants, as well as slavery, the Civil Rights movement, and two tribes of Native Americans.

In discussing my own background, I've been using Google to double-check a few facts for my own pedantic need for absolute accuracy. I'm officially a bit creeped out. I looked up my mother's maiden name in conjunction with the town where my grandmother lives in coastal North Carolina. Lo and behold, after the Google Maps reference to a street in that town that bears our family name, the first entry was for The two first entries in the short text under that link? The names and ages and towns of residence of my uncle in MA and my grandfather, who passed away recently. That my own family is so ridiculously easy to Google is a bit surreal. It's not like I'm looking up the Kennedys or the Bushes or the Clintons.

Once the weirdness subsides I'll get around to making my interactive aide for the cultural presentation: a very American apple pie.

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