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Public Culture 12.3 (2000) 793-799

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mis*cel*la*ny, n.: a collection of various kinds, especially news clippings and literary extracts.

An Ideal Public Culture Issue

Anatomy of an Ideal Issue, Public Culture, circa 1994. As rendered by then-managing editor Janelle Taylor.

[End Page 793]

Etiquette for the Global Family

The following is an excerpt from the volunteer guidelines for Chicago Welcomes the World, a five-day millennial event to which one person plus a guest from every country in the world were invited, and which culminated in a New Year's Eve dinner hosted by Mayor Richard M. Daley. In a press conference announcing the event--an attempt to make Chicago the world's cosmopolitan city--Daley described the dinner as "a symbolic gathering of the global family."

Meet and Greet

Americans customarily welcome and greet each other in both social and business situations with a hand shake, a smile, and an exchange of names. Some hand shakes are firm and some are gentle. Sometimes Americans greet each other with a kiss to the lips or cheek depending on the familiarity of the parties involved. Most of our international guests customarily meet and greet with hand shakes of varying degrees of firmness or with kisses or hugs placed cheek to cheek.

  • Allow our international guests to exhibit certain behaviors (eye contact and method of greeting, firmness of handshake) and follow their lead with your response. Some nationalities who generally do not greet with handshakes do when they are visiting a country that does!

  • During introductions, it is appropriate when exchanging names to address guests with Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss and the surname until given permission to address them otherwise. We bestow the same level of respect on fellow Americans we first meet (with some variation depending on the level of the social situation).

Increasing Verbal Understanding

When communicating with others whose first language is not English, we must become better listeners than we might generally be. Assume the mind set that you expect to understand the communication and this will promote a relaxed atmosphere for our guests. [End Page 794]

  • Focus all your attention and concentrate on what the guest is saying. If you think you might be misunderstanding or misinterpreting the message, repeat what you think is being communicated. The guest may confirm the message. If the guest does not verify your interpretation, ask questions to the determine the real message. Be patient!

  • Use simple sentences and common words.

  • Common missteps in communicating with those whose language skills differ from our own include:

    Raising the level and pitch of our voices which sends a stressful message to the recipient.

    Stating repeatedly, "Do you understand what I'm saying?" This message generally results in a positive shake of the head or a yes response which may inaccurately describe the communication.

  • [and more]

Virtual Bhakti

BOMBAY--When kar seva is replaced by web seva and temple poojas by online aartis, organised religion on the Internet has arrived in India. Chitra Subramanyam reports on the growing trend of computer piety.

  • RELIGION MEETS INTERNET: has a Gujarati version of its site along with details on the aarti at the temple

  • VIRTUAL BHAJANS: Downloadable songs make ideal for the Ayyappan devotee

  • OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLE: Read the Ramayana on

  • ONLINE PRAYING: With animated lamps, lets you worship Lord Ganesha on the Net

The above are captions to Web sites featured in "Virtual Bhakti," Indian Express, 13 February 2000. [End Page 795]

[End Page 796]

Virtual Infections

Clogging up your system's arteries?
Linking families who might otherwise be out of touch?
Circulation of texts like this link great-grandmothers to great-grandchildren,
brothers to sisters, and college roommates from thirty years back to each other.

Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 13:06:21 -0600 (CST)
From: your family <>
To: pubic culture <>
Subject: Fwd: Fw: [Fwd: Fw: SMILES] (fwd)

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Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 793-799
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2004
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