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April 27, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Insensitive remark or cultural crash?

cartoon characters. 1943 "Porky Pig's Feat".(US PD. Tunes/OswaldLR/

“What did you say?” (1943″Porky Pig’s Feat”.Looney Tunes/OswaldLR/USPD/

A Chinese reporter and NBA Golden Warrior Draymond Green. Pretty much opposites. Each with their own frame of reference.

The two played verbal jump ball Sunday afternoon during a news conference. The reporter hobbled out the loser. He was quickly fired.

Many called foul and scored the reporter with an insensitive, combative remark, but should a whistle be blown for a time out?

Here’s a newspaper account or watch the video of the actual remarks.

Those who work frequently with individuals from other countries may be slower to jump to conclusions. Was Draymond’s response a cleanly dunked ball in this hoopla?

We have friends who are Chinese. The ones who always call me to make sure my shoes are pointed the same direction in the closet – especially at Chinese New Years – so you will keep going forward in one direction through the year. And wear red. And be sure that the first person you welcome across your threshold on New Years is one who is successful and prosperous. And don’t buy a house with a bathroom right at the front door or your luck will flush away.

Look, I need all the luck I can get, so who am I to question?

What I am trying to say, is that some cultures look for patterns that indicate signs for the future. Our Chinese friends do. They laugh about it, but do. It’s the way they were raised.

Was the Chinese reporter simply asking Draymond if he saw a pattern and had any prediction for the next game?

“Draymond, here’s an interesting question,” a reporter said. “So last year you visit [Houston], Game 3 there’s no flood, you win. Game 4, there was flood, you lose. This year you visit [Houston] … Game 3 there’s a flood, you lose. Game 4, there’s no flood, you win …”

If you think life has patterns, the question might be logical.

Or maybe he really is a jerk being annoying.

It’s very diverse here. Not everywhere.

As the country’s demographics change, it’s becoming smart to not snap to judgement. Break and think before charging down the court full speed.

There will be times when people from different cultures don’t see eye to eye.

  • Abortions are simply a procedure to some and a crime against humanity to others.
  • Arranged marriages and big age differences between man and wife are perfectly normal to some and totally irrational to others.
  • Short skirts on women are simply trendy fashion and acceptable clothing to some, but to others it’s a character advertisement and an invitation.

To have game, we’re going to have to find center court and a way to get along with those of widely varied beliefs and concepts.

A start might be, take a breath and clarify when something seems odd or offensive before jumping to conclusions or making a basket load of assumptions.

This reporter may be a total obnoxious person and deserves to be fired. I don’t have enough information to know. Does anyone?

Wouldn’t be the first time cultural differences caused a clash and a game loss.

If in doubt, a sense of humor may be your best shot.

Jump ball.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge







  1. heretherebespiders / Apr 27 2016 2:19 pm

    Interesting. I see both sides, especially when put in context of superstition. I rather hope the reporter wasn’t fired, as he didn’t seem to intentionally be ‘poking the bear’.
    By the way, the Irish have one similar New Year superstition- it has to be a man who crosses the threshold first on New Year’s Day. My mother in law holds fast to it, and now that she lives alone, sometimes hubby has to go over to her house just so she can leave it! People are strange 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2016 2:25 pm

      This whole thing is a very awkward incident. I appreciate Draymond’s sensitivity to the flooding around here, but the guy got fired (of course there may be more to the story…and there are jerks everywhere).
      Better be safe than sorry with rituals. (Hmmm intrigued enough to look up other places’ New Year’s superstitions) – hubby sounds like a good (and smart) sport for stepping in as needed. Thanks for sending a smoothing response


  2. Kate Crimmins / Apr 27 2016 3:06 pm

    People are quick to blame these days. Reflecting along with some humor does wonders.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:02 am

      Best summary of what I was trying to say than I could write. People really need to take a deep breath and lighten up. Thanks for bouncing over with an astute comment


  3. marthaschaefer / Apr 27 2016 3:17 pm

    It feels like the general population is just gearing up for a fight on every corner…can’t wait for April to be over and the planets to realign…

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:06 am

      Whew. The planets need to align or something. Far too much hair trigger anger out there. Can’t walk on egg shells all the tim without a crack-up. Thanks scoring a point with that comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. D. Wallace Peach / Apr 27 2016 3:31 pm

    Wise advice for a blending world. I like learning about different cultures, but it’s impossible to learn everything, including the subtleties. Better to take a position of curiosity and politely ask versus jumping to conclusions. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:12 am

      I have some sympathy for those who have to deal with news conferences. They may be exhausted or in a time crunch or have low blood sugar or something. But that’s what they pay them the (outrageous) big bucks for, right? Dealing with what you think are annoying people is part of the job. Many could take hints from your comment. Nicely said. Thanks for tossing that one into the comment basket

      Liked by 1 person

  5. RAB / Apr 27 2016 3:35 pm

    Well observed, Phil. The FIRST thing I though of was “So, if there’s a flood, you lose…so good luck for the people of Houston is also good luck for you, no?” His intention seemed so clear. I imagine what was in Green’s mind was that the flood was terrible for people and what the hell was the reporter getting at? Worlds apart, but also neither of them really HEARD the other; they just kept repeating the same question and answer. No wonder the outcome was so bonkers!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:19 am

      Three pointer comment. That’s what it look like to me, too. Especially after someone in the office laughed and said, “The player didn’t realize what the Chinese reporter was thinking” (We deal mostly with international projects…and sometimes there’s a lot of smiling, nodding, and desperately mentally analyzing of words and phrases going on on both sides…it is funny and everyone has to keep a sense of humor.) Bonkers indeed. Thanks for musing along


  6. sustainabilitea / Apr 27 2016 6:13 pm

    People seem much to ready to take offense these days. I’ve bemoaned the lack of civility during this election year many times and that carries over to too much of every day life it seems to me. Yes, there are plenty of insensitive people but I think often you find they weren’t thinking, didn’t know, or had no idea. If we were all a lot less ready to assume the worst, the world would be a much more relaxed place.


    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:29 am

      A major problem is the one in your first sentence. People are so touchy and confining their focus to what is immediately in front of them/at the front of their brainlock. What happens is snap judgements, over generalizations, immediately jumping to conclusions, and, then, explosive anger. Getting people to recognize and change behavior is difficult. Smiles always help! Thanks for sending one with your comment


  7. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Apr 27 2016 8:42 pm

    A sense of humour goes a long long way. Of course i never read or listen to the news so i have no idea what you are talking about but I do agree that sometimes people are too quick to take offence and they end up taking the gate as well! Laughing it off is sometimes a reasonable course of action. c


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:33 am

      Laughing disarms many situations so you can move on….either it’s the facial expressions or the intake of more oxygen that restores sensible thinking? Love your taking the gate comparison – hadn’t heard that one, but it fits perfectly. (Hope the farmy isn’t having to deal with all these terrible fronts. Have to run by and check on the calving progress shortly!) Thanks for bouncing a comment into this basket


  8. Paul / Apr 27 2016 8:53 pm

    Sigh, I could make some insensitive remarks myself- but I won’t. Honestly Phil,the US has always defined itself as a melting pot – everyone has to adopt the American culture or be ostracized. Many European countries and Canada, see themselves as mosaics – wherein each component culture remains pure and yet adds a facet of interacting with other cultures. So they all fit together like a huge stained glass window.

    Far too many of your cultural underpinnings move away from the mosaic concept =your society has become strong and rich by pursuing that which is exclusive vs inclusive. For instance the “Me” generation is very prominent – a side effect of a capitalist democracy. Here in Canada we share health care, subsidized education,social assistance for the poor, sick, disabled, government programs – all in a socialist manner that brings us all together under one roof. In the US,most of those programs are the responsibility of the individual – may the best person win. That reduces government size and taxes but increases isolationism. More power, less sharing. You can say that individuals are very giving and that may be true but the sum total does not even scrape the surface of shared resources in Canada.

    Most Americans would(and many have) die for Freedom of Speech. We do not consider that a right here in Canada – you cannot speak hate or incite violence. To do so is to be charged and imprisoned. Here many of Trump’s words would have gotten him detained and charged – you cannot tell people to punch anyone in the face who disputes the opinion of the speaker. You cannot call Mexicans rapists. You cannot threaten to discriminate against all Muslims. You cannot discriminate against women by saying they are stupid and should be chained to the fridge at home. That’s all hate – and is viewed as such. The kind ladies who put on the Mohammed cartoon festival in Dallas knowing full well that was offensive to Muslims and that gunfire would occur. Then place armed guards outside to shoot the Muslims who show-up. They called that “Freedom of Speech” Phil – it was deliberately baiting those with different beliefs so you can fucking kill them. And you think maybe Americans should be more considerate wrt to remarks by other cultures? Maybe if they stopped talking hateful and discriminatory words and abusing those of other cultures, that would be a good start. To ever hope that in our lifetimes America will become kinder and gentler is, in my opinion, a lost cause.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 7:55 am

      Hey, Paul, EVERYONE make insensitive remarks once in a while – hopefully innocently,though. This incident was probably that. (Whew, had much coffee today?) The post was about jumping to conclusions, making snap judgements, and being too quick to apply overly-broad, sweeping generalities without any real personal experience to base them on. Misunderstanding and the “know -it-all” arrogant attitudes cause a great deal of trouble when people try to communicate – whether on a person level, between local communities, or among nations.
      Maybe someday all rainbows and unicorns, meanwhile today’s all we’ve got. Would be nice if everyone lightened up, weren’t so quick to become angry, self righteously intolerant, or play victim, and just sat down and really listened to each other for a change. But that would mean everyone would have to be tolerant of others without judgement.
      Cookie? Or would you prefer chocolate? RC offered to let you count her mousies, but I we stalled on her offer not knowing if you’d consider it that a treat or not. HA HA
      Thanks for playing in this court!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul / Apr 28 2016 8:54 am

        Ha! coffee’d out – Ha! Oh Phil, some days I despair. I listen to all the horrible rhetoric coming from the Republican Presidential candidates and I fear for Americans. How can that much hateful rhetoric be supported by so many? On TV here we see interview after interview of Americans who say they would rather kill immigrants than live with them. 30 American states refuse to accept starving and homeless refugees from Syria. 30 out of 52 Phil – that’s a majority.

        The reason people jump to conclusions is because they live in an environment that surrounds them with the wrong answers. If there were 50 people in bathing suits standing on the shore and no one in the water, would someone jump to the conclusion that swimming there was safe? Of course not. If there were 50 people swimming and you came along,jumped in and got attacked by an alligator – you could be forgiven for saying that you jumped to the conclusion that it was safe. Jumping to conclusions is simply another way of saying that you are doing what everyone else is doing without considering the action itself. You cannot set up a cultural defense by saying someone jumped to conclusions – it is the culture that allows you to jump to conclusions.

        You know, I worked in the US for many years and individual Americans are no more prejudiced than individual Canadians. It is their trained relationships with others that causes the problem – the culture They have bought into survival of the fittest at any cost. Very kind and giving with those who are no threat to their existence. Deadly to competitors or those who pose a threat even if it is an assumed threat (i.e. the Syrians). That gives them a very powerful economy and military and a cliquish culture. Others are either friends or enemies – and woe unto those who are seen as enemies.

        I would love to count mousies, thank you RC.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 10:40 am

          Oh, great, RC is now signing you up for who knows what….how do you feel about “relocating” lizards indoor so she can practice bathtub soccer?
          Easy to feel all is lost with the dramatic media these days – following the international scenes/presses any? Good way to keep perspective (pays to read in multiple languages – translations are alway problematic)The US isn’t the only place struggling to reconcile philosophies and traditions with the modern realities. Europe, Scandinavia, Germany, Japan, Russia, Spain…endless list as what is occurring is one of the largest human migration in human memory.
          I’m cautious offering much advice to other places as I don’t live there every day and get a real understanding from history, traditions, and present day problems – especially with the way the media “reports” stories often to inflame situation for their own purposes. (Really miss those old new guys who gave neutral facts and let people make up their own minds.)
          It’s like everyone thinking they can tell teachers how to teach and manage student without ever sitting foot in a classroom – and I mean being in an average local classroom for 6-8 months everyday every hour – if people had to do that, they’d pay teachers a whole lot more and shut up being glad anyone chooses to do it…dropping by once in a while, only going to lab schools or honor classrooms doesn’t give a clear picture of the dynamics or learning situation…sort of like driving through a town and stopping at one stop light and thinking they’ve got the town and the people figured out. As you always say and is obvious in your writing, human interaction is quite complex and what is really going on often masked by noise.
          Things have changed a lot – everywhere. We’ve always been pretty international here from the start, but I cannot and will not speak for other places. One thing that might that’s interesting is that the old “melting pot” concept was dumped out some 30+ years ago here in schools and has been replaced with a more crazy quilt concept which is much more realistic – the stitching keeping it together may get worn and stretch a bit, but as with anything, restoring and refreshing most things usually strengthen them and give them a whole new outlook. Everyone like to remodel and redo living spaces, right?
          What? Rollie-pollie pill bugs? Sorry RC, I think it’s still too cold for anyone to have those available in their gardens for import to sports practice. I know, RC You don’t like slugs: you try to bat at them and they just stick and gum up your fur. Paul would never try to substitute slugs…you will have some nice tea for him? No doubt you two can amuse yourselves by making staff run to and fro…
          Oh, sorry Paul. Not rudely ignoring you. RC does command attention at times. One does not question. (Careful, she is penciling you in on the calendar….maybe you can demure and say you have to prepare for your move…)

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Hemangini / Apr 27 2016 11:42 pm

    you are totally right about the differences in living around the world but it would be a boring world if everyone thought the same right? Wearing skirts was mainstream at a time for women of western culture and in mine it was sari but now the gears have shifted and dress codes have changes… world changed pretty fast since industrial evolution, na? It’d be tough to wear skirts and go out in my country just like that.

    Finding humor? These days I mostly find sarcasm in things and my mind is churning… I need some humor..> reading your blog feels great. thanks 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 8:36 am

      People used a long long time ago to say this country was a melting pot of people – actually it’s now more of a bright crazy quilt even with the stitches getting stretched and worn at times. Restoring anything usually strengthens it and gives it a fresh new outlook. As you say, who wants boring? Thanks for getting on this playground with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hemangini / May 9 2016 9:10 am

        Restoring does brings more strength… It becomes anew and attractive. It’s my pleasure to get to read your writing. 🙂

        have a great day.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. easyweimaraner / Apr 28 2016 5:12 am

    it seems this time everything is no longer what it was once… so maybe this time a special sense of humour is no longer funny but offensive … it’s not better here (erdogan vs. boehmerman). Your chines friends are right with the shoes :o) we also never put shoes on a table, that brings bad luck as long as you wear that shoes :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 8:09 am

      A head-spinning whirled. Certainly difficult to keep up and out of trouble these days. The shoe thing always makes us smile. Several places shoes are left at the door and all in sockie feet…they laugh it’s only to keep the house cleaner, but there’s a bit of tradition there. We like sockie feet…so does Molly as she wants to grab a loose corner, tug, and run with the sockie. Thanks for giggling along!


  11. Ally Bean / Apr 28 2016 6:34 am

    Fascinating take on how multicultural considerations are going to be the new norm. I hope that with that realization our overly judgmental society mellows out a bit. There’s room in this world for more than one way to do things.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 8:13 am

      “There more than one road to the city – and they all get there, so what’s the problem…” Old rural saying. Maybe we should re-vist some of those old sayings and proverbs – a lot of common sense there. Reviving a sense of humor would also help. MAybe it’s all the vampire movies and stories that is sucking the funny life out of things? Thanks for stitching in a comment about the crazy quilt of life


  12. jubilare / Apr 28 2016 8:49 am

    “A start might be, take a breath and clarify when something seems odd or offensive before jumping to conclusions or making a basket load of assumptions.”

    Preach it, brother! 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 10:03 am

      Rushing to get things done, being so busy being busy, and rapid fire of media and life seems to be removing people from sane behavior. A little slow down might be healing for many ills. Thanks for the rim shot comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jubilare / Apr 28 2016 10:22 am

        I would love to slow down in all aspects of my life. I should look into doing so… 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 10:46 am

          Small steps here and there can make a difference – but it’s difficult to break habits and routines…trying here, too

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Larissa Thomson / Apr 28 2016 10:55 am

    This IS an interesting discussion, particularly with regards to your comment about the superstitions of the Chinese. It’s very true and sometimes people forget to take that portion of cultural anthropology (not sure if that’s the right word?) into account. We think and react from a very Westernized p.o.v. I do think Draymond handled that well, but yes, a sense of humour and an understanding of other people’s cultural tendencies would have been important in maybe handling it better?
    I have a Canadian English-speaking girlfriend who was married to a Lebanese man. English was his second or third language. She often had to think about what he was TRYING to say because what he was actually saying was getting lost in translation. She also had to weed out “TONE” in his comments because she felt the tone she was hearing was actually coming in part due to his translating his thoughts into English. Needless to say, they are no longer together. Unfortunately the language of love couldn’t overcome the linguistic challenges.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 28 2016 11:22 am

      A mix of languages can create laughs as well as difficulties with couples. That concept used to play for laughs all the time in the old old episodes of “I Love Lucy” series.
      We had a neighbor couple who were French Canadian and from Ecuador – both spoke English, and both their L1 languages were “romance languages” with many words in common from the same linguistic family roots, but they didn’t manage to keep it together either. Mainly due to reality didn’t match their expectations based on their home cultures mixed in with childhood religion (Catholic and Mormon backgrounds).
      Sometimes home country traditions (rather than superstitions) are more of a problem than language. But all of it keeps things very interesting. (Especially if the US wife is surprised to find out there are other wives back in the old country and the husband shugs “So what?” happens…more than once….more than twice….more than…) Just have to get a smile and sort things out carefully. Thanks for running by with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Jill Foer Hirsch / May 1 2016 3:20 pm

    You’re right of course, about taking a step back and looking at this culturally. But I had kind of a visceral response to the clip “pro basketball is just a game…floods are life.” I guess I get it from the superstition standpoint, even though I hate that kind of thing. And I am all for diversity and learning about other cultures. But this still rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe if he had prefaced it with “In Chinese culture it is believed that three is blah blah blah.” But not just cold, and sounds like the second time he’d gone after the same question. It’s funny though, because many years ago I hired a smart young Indian woman as my right hand. As we came to know each other I learned that she was in an arranged marriage. A woman ten years my junior, an independent thinker, who had an MBA just like me, what? She explained very simply that while the marriage was arranged, she had chosen to allow her parents to choose. She felt that no one understood her better or wanted the best for her more than her parents. Romantic love is a concept she didn’t subscribe to. When she explained it like that, it made sense to me. She is still quite happily married with two kids.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 1 2016 6:08 pm

      Two train (of thought) passing in the night. It was so crowded, so loud, with many jostling for attention. Sounds like the two had focus in completely opposite directions: the reporter already had an idea for his story and just needed a quote (player sees pattern and predicts the outcome of the next game) while the player probably had actually seen the flood and most likely knew players and families that were dealing with it. Two people in the same room on total different wave lengths
      A bit sad was how the reporter was quickly fired ( for making himself and employer seem callous to the suffering. Causing shame). Then there was all the immediate slamming by social media of the reporter on line without even taking a breath – or facts, maybe? Not a fan of jumping to conclusions too quickly. Or maybe the guy really is a jerk. Who knows?
      We live in an international city, so educated couples of arranged marriages are fairly common. Many times, the families use a marriage broker back home and travel to meet, accept or decline the proposed potential spouse, and marry there – or here with the entire giant wedding with their traditional customs (sometimes they have a “normal” church wedding then the traditional one at a hotel ballroom or event venue. Some are days long…and you can see elephants as transportation). Local communities here try to keep “their kids” close to others in the community with weekly events – like Chinese School here on Saturday where the kids learn to speak, read, and write Chinese as well as dances,games, cooking, and such. One of our friends admitted they hope the kids will grow up knowing each other and find someone in the group to marry. The Indian community and others do similar things. It’s a whole different way at looking at life, marriage, and family expectations and responsibilities of the child toward elders. (The only problem is when a family decides a daughter/son is too disrespectful by refusing an arranged marriage or dates someone outside their religion/cultural background or becomes “too American” and the members kill the individual for shaming the family. Wish that was rare. Very sad. Clash again of cultures – but if you live here, laws of the land must be followed and respected. They are looking for a dad who killed 2 daughters in Dallas – they know he is living and being hidden in a sympathetic community out of state.)
      Certainly fun to see the participants all dressed up and happy. Great when everyone can find a way to merge things.
      Thanks for adding that lovely story about your friend’s view of marriage and life!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill Foer Hirsch / May 3 2016 9:26 am

        Yes, the rigid barbaric patriarchal societies are a problem. As I read your response though, all I could think about is that I was born Jewish to two Jewish parents who were second generation Americans. They raised us in the synagogue, we learned Hebrew, I was Bat Mitzvahed, and they were truly delighted when I married someone Jewish. It was drilled into us in the context of the Holocaust, when we really did almost become extinct. So I forget sometimes how hard every culture tries to sustain itself, regardless of circumstance.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 5 2016 2:44 pm

          No doubt your parents were soooo relieved when you married. Growing up in our area, “mixed marriages” were any between Jewish/Catholic/Protestant couples – and the warning of “You’ll be dead us and to all your family” was not an idle threat. Jewish and Catholic fathers warned that the most often. About 75% of my high school was Jewish. The Jewish kids might casually date outside the faith until last or High school – not in college. The risk of being shunned was too real at that time. By the 60’s the Jewish community was more open than hard core traditional conservative – to the point that some in Israel snarked “those in the Houston weren’t really Jewish”. Growing pains happen within any family/group.
          The family across the street escaped with their lives from concentration camps – both parents had the tatoos on their arms. The mom was very nervous and all the kids on the street were told to be extra kind and considerate to her. (and boy, did they celebrate a son being born – not that the 3 older daughters were ever tossed aside.But a boy child, you know.. HA HA) My dad was one of the liberators/medical staff who opened the gates at Dachau. We have letters and pictures. As kids we knew very early how cruel mankind can be and the dangers of insanity in governments – no matter what race/creed/color. Must never forget.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jill Foer Hirsch / May 6 2016 12:12 pm

          OMG that is an amazing story about your dad. I can only imagine what he saw. We were taught that must never forget is the single most important thing about being Jewish. Knowing about your dad really warmed my heart.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 6 2016 12:38 pm

          It was a life changing experience for a small town farm boy. The stories and images must never leave human awareness. Fortunately there are good people who will step up and provide a cautionary thread to the past.

          Liked by 1 person

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