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Archive for March, 2009

I came to the US in 2003, which means I have been here for more than 5 years. Living in two very different cultures can be a bit disorienting at times. An immigrant like myself will interact with fellow Indians in India, Indians in the US, and of course, Americans in the US. And the way you interact with each of the groups of people can be different because of their cultures. Usually, there is no right or wrong when it comes to cultural differences. For instance, Indians tend not to wear footwear inside the house, whereas Americans do. There is no absolute reason why one is right and the other is wrong. Both are quite reasonable. However, people tend to get a bit emotional when they start talking about culture. They get into a dogmatic mode and attribute the reasons for their actions to their culture, rather than reason or logic. This generally takes the form of statements like: “I don’t wear shoes inside the house because I’m an Indian”. To me, this makes as much sense as saying I don’t jump off a cliff because I’m wearing a red shirt. As a cold, mostly rational person, the argument from culture has no effect on me. So when it comes to choosing between the Indian way of doing things, and the American way, I fall back on the only method I know: reason.

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Warning – Dark sense of humor required to read further.

Ever wondered what it must be to be a racist? Clearly racists get something out of putting down others. What must it feel like? Well, we (Giving you the benefit of the doubt) could never be like that, so we’ll never know. If you are a racist reading this, then keep on reading. This could be like a smoke patch thing which could act as a substitute while you get over your (shall we say?) undesirable habits.

So in the name of experimental psychology, I hereby propose the Carcist manifesto – a psychological experiment to try to understand bigotry, by enlightened people. It is not equivalent because while racism cannot be justified, carcism, to a certain extent can. But there are some similarities which could be enlightening.

What is Carcism ?

Carcism is the act of discriminating against people based on the cars they own. The race of a car will henceforth be known as carce.

Which are the superior carces?

The most superior carce is the MINI. This is because it is fast, efficient, and can take turns at 30 miles an hour on 15 mph curves, and 70 mph on 45 mph. In addition, it is very well engineered and designed and is also the most attractive carce (Especially when it goes topless) that cars from every other carce want to get it on with.

A topless MINI

A topless MINI

Following closely are

  1. Prius
  2. Honda Hybrids
  3. Porsches
  4. Smart Cars

And then there are the inferior carces. They are called ‘SUVs’. These tend to be very inefficient, slow, and so ugly that none of the other carces from above will sleep with them. Even for 200 gallons of gas for an hour. This frustration due to rejection by the superior carces leads to a type of aggressive behaviour known as ‘tailgating’, where the SUVs try to convince the superior carces that they can also go fast. While it is true that some SUVs can go fast, their innate handling inferiority means it is very hard to control them at high speeds. Which leads to stuff like this.

Inferior Controls.

Trying to go fast like the superior carces.

Which brings us to the lowest form of carces. Pictured above, it is called the ‘Hummer’. Members of this carce are pretty hideous and unattractive even after 3 martinis.

Discrimination

Now that we have identified the superior and inferior carces, let us establish the rules for how the above carces should be treated.

Parking SpaceIdeally, the superior carces should not be parked near the inferiors. A separation of at least two parking spots (3 for MINIs) is recommended in order to preserve the pristine aura surrounding your superior car.

Filling up on gas – Unfortunately because of the law, we cannot have separate gas fountains for the inferior and superior carces. This means your car might have to use the same hose that was used by an SUV. In order to preserve the carcial purity of your carce, it is recommended you carry around wipes and thoroughly clean the nozzles before inserting them in your car.

Giving way and followingThe cars belonging to the superior carces should always give way to each other, be polite, and courteous. There is no order here. For instance, if a MINI sights a Prius trying to get onto the road from its garage, the MINI should ideally stop and let the Prius join the road. However, if an SUV is trying to get onto the road, do not bother to stop. If you do, said SUV will not only slow you down, you’ll also have to look at its ugly ass down the road. If you’re a male and there’s a pretty head inside the SUV, resist the urge to let her in. Most likely, the pretty head is empty. If she gives you a bright eager smile, then you may be forgiven the occassional lapse.

If a Porsche or MINI is behind a Hybrid, they should be patient. Hybrids tend to be inferior in speed and handling, but they are superior in terms of efficiency and environment. Respect that, slow down, and appreciate the nature around you while you are behind one.

Traffic light etiquette – The owners of cars belonging to the superior carces should preferably exchange smiles. If you admire the other carce, a thumbs up is also good for fostering strong bonds among the superior carces. On sighting a car of an inferior carce, it is recommended to ignore them. However, if you have been on a really nice drive where you saw a pretty lake, birds, and deer, it is acceptable to give them a dirty look. If there is not too much traffic, and a Hummer shows up, you can also flip them off like this. It is strongly recommended you do this just before the lights turn green. Step on the gas once it does, and watch the pathetic Hummer trying to chase you down. For extra fun, you can slow down, let it catch up, and then again speed up.

Driving Lane – The lower carces are bad for the progress of traffic. In general, SUVs belong to the rightmost or the slowest lane. As far as possible, do not allow one to come in the middle lane. And definitely do not allow them to come in the fastest lane. If you allow one to come in the passing lane, then the entire highway will be slowed down. SUVs belong to the slow lane. Keep them in their place.

Now go forth and discriminate!

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