Cultural Ephemera

This is a room for the discussion of travel plans or experiences and the culture of places you have visited or plan to visit.
User avatar
sctroyenne
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:06 am
Location: Montreal, QC (moved from the SF Bay Area living my dream!)
Languages: French (C2), Irish (beg-intermediate), Spanish (intermediate but mostly passive)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=767
x 744
Contact:

Cultural Ephemera

Postby sctroyenne » Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:55 am

I was just taking a walk down memory lane thanks to YouTube when I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to sharing cultural ephemera from our respective cultures.

A wide range of objects can be considered ephemera but for the purposes of this thread, it can be anything that isn't typically associated with culture (film, most TV, literature) yet still has cultural significance. Commercials, print ads, cards, pamphlets, packaging, PSAs, After School Specials, anything. I'd also include defunct/mostly defunct media genres (like the pulp books that emk was mentioning). Think of the kind of stuff that would make someone from your culture nostalgic, mundane things that would entertain foreigners, things that now have an unintended historical importance (thinking of memorabilia from the Soviet era, for example), and/or things that may be a major cultural reference that pops up in media even today (very useful for language learning). You can also share stuff from other cultures that stood out to you as a foreigner (I have a whole series of pictures from French grocery stores, for example).

Through some testing we do know that it's possible to overload these threads with embedded media to the point that it's difficult to impossible to navigate on mobile and older devices. I'd say to avoid problems, limit embedded YouTube clips to one per post (or less) and link any others.

To start off, the Pee Wee Herman anti-drug PSA I found tonight on YouTube that started my idea for this thread:



In the 80s and 90s there were huge anti-drug campaigns aimed especially at kids. D.A.R.E. was a popular in-school anti-drug program (in my school and in others an actual police officer came in to talk to classes to scare us straight). Here, someone thought that Pee Wee Herman was the appropriate spokesperson to deliver this message urging kids (? - I assume, though it doesn't seem to be aimed at kids) to not use crack. There were a lot of anti-drug PSAs on TV, especially during Saturday morning cartoons and after school.

(Bonus D.A.R.E. ephemera)

Image
2 x

User avatar
AlexTG
Green Belt
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:14 pm
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Languages: Easy to Read: English(N), French, Spanish
Able to Read: German, Latin
Learning to Read: Japanese, Hindi/Urdu
x 523

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby AlexTG » Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:23 am

I love the reaction of Reginald D Hunter after the audience on an aussie celebrity game show breaks out with the "Vegemite Song" (an ad jingle).

Last edited by AlexTG on Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
2 x

User avatar
zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2012
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
x 4951
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:31 am

What would this thread be without School House Rock!!

I grew up watching these little educational ads (and since I was an ESL acquirer they helped!!):

Conjunction Junction What's Your Function?


1 x
Tagged posts: Language Method Resource
Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
I am inconsistency incarnate.
Go study! Publisher of Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew alphabet apps at http://alphabetsnow.zyntx.com

User avatar
sctroyenne
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:06 am
Location: Montreal, QC (moved from the SF Bay Area living my dream!)
Languages: French (C2), Irish (beg-intermediate), Spanish (intermediate but mostly passive)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=767
x 744
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby sctroyenne » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:03 pm

zenmonkey wrote:What would this thread be without School House Rock!!

School House Rock was exactly the thing I was thinking of. If no one else posted it I was going to post it down the line. Also interesting would be various classic bits from Sesame Street around the world (I believe they often create sequences that are locally relevant).

For a departure from English, I'll post some pictures I snapped of products that struck my fancy while shopping in France.

Yogurt in glass jars (pretty common to have as packaging - not just for uber-fancy products in stores like Whole Foods) with the ubiquitous hazelnut flavor (which I didn't think worked very well for yogurt):
Image

Yogurt, this time in plastic, from a Monoprix convenience store. Flavor is barbe à papa: "papa's beard" or cotton candy (candy floss across the pod?). Not a rare flavor in France, which surprised me a bit.:
Image

If I had a photo I'd also show the "panier" yogurt packaging - yogurt packaged together in bulk because it seems pretty typical to consume a lot of yogurt in France (my friend and host during my last visit came back from the store with practically the whole yogurt section).

Bottled smoothies (note the pronunciation guide at the bottom of the bottle and how French people think of the "th" pronunciation):
Image

Smoothies aren't as big in France as in the US (no Jamba Juice or equivalent that is as widespread as JJ is) but you'll still commonly find them packaged. And yes, I'm watching How I Met Your Mother subtitled in French in the background.

Daddy, a major brand of sugar. No idea if the people who named the product knew the connection between "sugar" and "daddy" in English or if this is coincidental (I'm thinking they did).
Image

A sort of powder capsule you're supposed to add to water to produce various "health" benefits (which I'm sure have as much effect as Vitamin Water). I was tempted to buy this just so I could tell people, "Time to take my Sexy Pills!" Contrary to what is claimed in French Women Don't Get Fat French women succumb to all sorts of marketing schemes to make them thinner, younger-looking, etc as opposed to relying on their natural joie de vivre. Beauty products (like cellulite cream) are a major source of profit in French pharmacies and the doctor's waiting rooms I found myself in had ads and pamphlets for cosmetic skin treatments.
Image

And finally, some actual medication. Typical packaging for over-the-counter pain killers such as Aspirin. No giant 100-pill bottles. I'm pretty sure I only ever saw aspirin and the like in pharmacies, never in regular stores (but last I heard there were attempts to change what could be commonly sold in supermarkets, which included some OTC drugs, I believe).
Image
1 x

User avatar
zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2012
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
x 4951
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:33 pm

Ok, I've been living in France for 20+ years, have 4 daughters - regularly buy yoghurt and this is the first time I ever hear of barbe a papa flavoured yoghurt. Saperlipoppette!

Bonne Maman
Petit Suisse
Petit Filou

Daddy is the most common sugar brand.

As to the possible changes of OTC pharmacies - I'd guess a local cultural ephemera is the Pharmacist - providing medical input and, yes, advice. But the emergence of OTC has been going on for over 18 years with no success (I work in the Industry) current pharma distribution is a monopole and ruled by laws dating from Napoleon.
0 x
Tagged posts: Language Method Resource
Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
I am inconsistency incarnate.
Go study! Publisher of Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew alphabet apps at http://alphabetsnow.zyntx.com

User avatar
sctroyenne
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:06 am
Location: Montreal, QC (moved from the SF Bay Area living my dream!)
Languages: French (C2), Irish (beg-intermediate), Spanish (intermediate but mostly passive)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=767
x 744
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby sctroyenne » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:04 pm

zenmonkey wrote:Ok, I've been living in France for 20+ years, have 4 daughters - regularly buy yoghurt and this is the first time I ever hear of barbe a papa flavoured yoghurt. Saperlipoppette!


I had meant to say that I saw it used as a flavor for other products as well (I think Monop' was the only one that had it in yogurt), which I never/almost never see here in the US. I also seem to remember pre-packaged barbe à papa in stores as well.

zenmonkey wrote:As to the possible changes of OTC pharmacies - I'd guess a local cultural ephemera is the Pharmacist - providing medical input and, yes, advice. But the emergence of OTC has been going on for over 18 years with no success (I work in the Industry) current pharma distribution is a monopole and ruled by laws dating from Napoleon.


It's funny, the absolute nastiest radio debates I've heard were over the reforms of the professions réglementées. Especially the optometrists (apparently you should never tell a French optometrist you got your glasses/contacts online or are thinking about ordering them online). For some related ephemera: an article about protests over the reform with photos: Très forte mobilisation des professions libérales contre le projet Macron.
1 x

User avatar
zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2012
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
x 4951
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:23 pm

Strikes in France are certainly non ephemeral ephemera - I was living in Paris as a student on the 11/6/91 strike and shot about 600 photographs, a few sold, which paid for 3 months of food!
1 x
Tagged posts: Language Method Resource
Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
I am inconsistency incarnate.
Go study! Publisher of Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew alphabet apps at http://alphabetsnow.zyntx.com

User avatar
zenmonkey
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2012
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:21 pm
Location: Germany and France
Languages: Spanish, English, French trilingual - actively studying German (B2/C1), Hebrew, Tibetan, Setswana.
Some knowledge of Italian, Portuguese, Ladino, Yiddish ...
Want to tackle Tzotzil, Nahuatl
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=859
x 4951
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:27 pm

And since you are in the Bay Area and I grew up there - a CE from my childhood and related to language constructs were the radio station call names and voices.

KMEL - you can guess the animal used by the radio station
KOIT - always made me giggle, even if it was about a big toweer.
KRGB
etc...
1 x
Tagged posts: Language Method Resource
Please feel free to correct me in any language, critique my posts, challenge my thoughts.
I am inconsistency incarnate.
Go study! Publisher of Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew alphabet apps at http://alphabetsnow.zyntx.com

User avatar
sctroyenne
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:06 am
Location: Montreal, QC (moved from the SF Bay Area living my dream!)
Languages: French (C2), Irish (beg-intermediate), Spanish (intermediate but mostly passive)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=767
x 744
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby sctroyenne » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:47 pm

zenmonkey wrote:And since you are in the Bay Area and I grew up there - a CE from my childhood and related to language constructs were the radio station call names and voices.

KMEL - you can guess the animal used by the radio station
KOIT - always made me giggle, even if it was about a big toweer.
KRGB
etc...


Speaking of the Bay Area, radio, and ephemera:



Though apparently they're all around the country and other regions got the same radio spots so we're not so special. But this ad has been around my whole life.

(And that's hella cool! :) I grew up in East Oakland/San Leandro and later Castro Valley).
0 x

User avatar
sctroyenne
Orange Belt
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:06 am
Location: Montreal, QC (moved from the SF Bay Area living my dream!)
Languages: French (C2), Irish (beg-intermediate), Spanish (intermediate but mostly passive)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=767
x 744
Contact:

Re: Cultural Ephemera

Postby sctroyenne » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:48 am

A bit like my post on French store products, here's an article in French Morning on a blog/book written by a French expat in the U.S. about food shopping in the U.S. After a quick look at her blog I can see she notes typical American products and cultural practices as well as the latest trends of our "health" food scene (like kale). An interesting outsider look into American (mostly) food culture.
2 x


Return to “Travel and Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests