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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: JMS: gun port=respect?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 4/30/1996 4:55:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

It goes back a long time...if you look at certain members of the
animal kingdom, they will often flash their teeth or growl to establish
their identity, to show equality with someone else. You have to step
outside a human perspective and ask how an alien would show respect,
which may not be how we would logically do so. (Heck, in many cultures
here on earth, a perfectly normal habit -- crossing your legs and the
bottom of your foot showing -- is taken as a grave insult in some
cultures. Certain customs are deeply rooted in cultural backgrounds or
incidents that are often incomprehensible to us.)

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: JMS: gun port=respect?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/6/1996 2:44:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

Bottom line, Steven...what you're doing is applying not only
just Earth norms and standards of behavior to aliens, you're applying
distinctly Western modes of behavior, conduct and mentality. You're
expecting them to think and act like we do, in the way we consider
logical. You can't even apply that criteria to other countries right
here on Earth, let alone outside. Is it logical to one day just walk
away from all your possessions, just leave them where they are, and
start walking, not coming back? Here we consider that abnormal
behavior, abandoment...in Australia, among the Aboriginal culture, that
principle is called "walkabout" and is quite common and accepted
behavior. The idea of ritually mutilating a young woman's genitals is
a hideous, terrible notion to any sane person in this country...but in
many African nations, it's practiced quite commonly, on an everyday
basis as part of their notion of coming into womanhood.

Part of having *alien* aliens is that they don't think like us.
One big adjustment Americans rarely make when they go overseas is that
they expect everyone and everyplace to be just like home in attitude.
But there are huge differences...and those differences can start wars.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: JMS: gun port=respect?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/7/1996 11:41:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

True, though the female version of this, as practiced in some
countries, is extremely debilitating and far more violent or severe.
Much as we are all attached to our respective genitalia, I'd suggest
that snipping the foreskin is not quite so severe as taking a razor
blade and cutting OFF the clitoris and parts of the labia major, as is
done in some places.

But you're right, the practice on either side is certain of a
piece (so to speak).

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: JMS: gun port=respect?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/7/1996 11:41:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Gail Marsella <71551.3200@compuserve.com> asks:
> I think she's right - was slavery acceptable just because it was
> common, we practiced it for a long time, and a large number of
> people found it convenient? Was foot-binding in China acceptable
> just because it was always practiced on young girls who had no
> way to say "no"?

"However, neither is it appropriate to view all alien behavior as
acceptable just because it is different....."

Never implied it was. In general, on the B5 station, though, if
an alien acts toward one of its own kind in a cultural oddity (to us),
we tend not to interfere unless so requested; if, however, an alien
turns that cultural oddity toward one not of its own species, then the
B5 staff would definitely intervene.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: JMS: gun port=respect?
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/8/1996 3:18:00 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

"Different (alien) doesn't mean illogical in my book."

I can think of a number of Zen schools of thought that you would
consider vastly illogical...but quite human. There are many things we
would consider illogical to a western mind that are perfectly
reasonable elsewhere.

jms

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