Are you ready for the most unnecessarily intellectual blog post I’ve ever written? Goood.
High context refers to societies or groups where people have close connections over a long period of time. Many aspects of cultural behavior are not made explicit because most members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. Your family is probably an example of a high context environment.
Low context refers to societies where people tend to have many connections but of shorter duration or for some specific reason. In these societies, cultural behavior and beliefs may need to be spelled out explicitly so that those coming into the cultural environment know how to behave.
Many assume based on the “high/low” divide that interacting with society’s elite is automatically a high context situation. Years of tradition and isolation certainly lead to esoteric behavior, hence the popularity of The Preppy Handbook. However, nearly every group of people has an impenetrable fortress of exclusivity, hence Jeff Foxworthy‘s Complete Redneck Dictionary.
And then there’s the ‘Cac, a mixture of high and low: the 1%, the 99%, and the 20% that the college admitted.
One of the benefits of being a total slob, is that people can tell a lot about you just by walking in your room and sweeping their feet around. Case-point: I cleaned out my car recently and found a veritable shrine to ‘Cachood:
Half eaten oats n’ honey bar
100+ glow in the dark stars
Smith+ Telford red cashmere cardigan
Heart shaped sunglasses (gas station purchase)
Democracy in America
O: a Presidential Novel
Shakespeare’s English Kings
Orvis silk cardigan with pearl buttons
A pair of broken Banger ski goggles (I don’t ski?)
A pair of ladies white kid gloves
A starfish (deceased)
A chambered nautilus (likely deceased)
13+ back issues of The Christian Science Monitor
One silver stiletto
One white high school graduation shoe
A CD from a group of aspiring rap artists on 6th Avenue
Grandma’s old black bowler “Willoughby Hatter/7. Rue de Castiglione/Paris”
A teddy bear’s t-shirt
One red cowboy boot
fliers for club events (posting fail)
The Collected Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor
It was all there: the high and the low. The Katy Perry and the Katherine Hepburn. I’m not a hot mess, I’m a museum. A staunch protectorate of ‘Cac past, present, and future.
Every year for the past whatever years my family drives up to runnerunner13’s farmhouse, eats ourselves stupid, and plays a rousing round of competitive Pictionary.
Talking about the ‘Cac is like playing Pictionary: you have to play with someone who GETS IT. This year I played with my sister, because only my sister can look deep in my eyes and know that THIS means Tokyo:
And THIS means orphan:
On the Low Context end of things–four small dogs one house, those baby onions that one only eats at Thanksgiving, and the Packers game.
Apropos of nothing, here’s an adorable Brooks Brother’s advertisement:
And here are your best #hometweets:
Me too A.J., me too.