History Main / CultureJustifiesAnything

19th Jul '16 6:31:09 AM Josef5678
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For good, neutral and neutralish forms of cultural relativism, see instead GoodVersusGood, BothSidesHaveAPoint, and BlueAndOrangeMorality. Compare AgreeToDisagree, AppealToInherentNature, and MyCountryRightOrWrong. Contrast AgainstMyReligion, where someone uses religion to avoid taking a certain action. NobodyEverComplainedBefore is when this has apparently never caused a major disagreement that the culture remembers.

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For good, neutral and neutralish forms of cultural relativism, see instead GoodVersusGood, BothSidesHaveAPoint, and BlueAndOrangeMorality. Compare AgreeToDisagree, AppealToInherentNature, AppealToTradition, and MyCountryRightOrWrong. Contrast AgainstMyReligion, where someone uses religion to avoid taking a certain action. NobodyEverComplainedBefore is when this has apparently never caused a major disagreement that the culture remembers.
20th Jun '16 7:09:21 PM M84
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* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': [[CrapsackWorld Where do we even begin?]] Boiling down a ''lot'' of story, it becomes clear that while this ''[[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped definitely isn't the case]]'', drawing the line can be very, very tricky. Forcibly intervening [[spoiler: as Daenerys found out]] is ''not'' going to help in the long run, especially when the victims are ConditionedToAcceptHorror, said horror is InherentInTheSystem, and that destabilizing said system will leave its people [[NiceJobBreakingItHero even worse off than they were when they were under it]]. Also, cultures [[HereWeGoAgain have a way of bouncing back from forceful extermination]].

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* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': [[CrapsackWorld Where do we even begin?]] Boiling down a ''lot'' of story, it becomes clear that while this ''[[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped definitely isn't the case]]'', drawing the line can be very, very tricky. Forcibly intervening [[spoiler: as Daenerys found out]] is ''not'' going to help in the long run, especially when the victims are ConditionedToAcceptHorror, said horror is InherentInTheSystem, and that destabilizing said system will leave its people [[NiceJobBreakingItHero even worse off than they were when they were under it]]. Also, cultures [[HereWeGoAgain have a way of bouncing back from forceful extermination]]. The Ironborn in particular don't get along with the rest of Westeros because their culture not only "justifies" [[RapePillageAndBurn raiding everyone else]], it attaches ''divine mandate'' to it.
29th May '16 3:00:54 PM intastiel
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* Used in ''Literature/TheEarTheEyeAndTheArm'' when the main characters visit Resthaven, an idyllic CityInABottle that preserves the traditional lifestyle -- which happens to include the practice of killing the younger member of every set of twins. One villager argues that the visitors can't pick out the bits of their culture that they find objectionable and leave the parts they enjoy, so they promptly leave with the baby that would have died.
23rd May '16 7:38:57 PM Wbender14
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* In ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'', the watchmen use this as an excuse not to try to break up the brawls that regularly erupt in dwarf bars, believing this behavior to be their "ethnic folkways". The truth is, dwarfs go wild in Ankh-Morpork specifically because they're away from the harsh discipline and austerity of dwarf mines. [[NewMeat The rookie]], himself an honorary dwarf, is able to get them to stop by [[DontTellMama reminding them of their poor old white-bearded mothers back home]].

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* In ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'', the watchmen use this as an excuse not to try to break up the brawls that regularly erupt in dwarf bars, believing this behavior to be their "ethnic folkways". The truth is, dwarfs go wild in Ankh-Morpork specifically because they're away from the harsh discipline and austerity of dwarf mines. [[NewMeat The rookie]], himself an honorary ethnically a dwarf, if not biologically, is able to get them to stop by [[DontTellMama reminding them of their poor old white-bearded mothers back home]].
7th May '16 9:38:00 AM Discar
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-> ''Why is the authentic culture...that of the masters and not of the slaves?''

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-> ''Why ''"Why is the authentic culture...that of the masters and not of the slaves?''slaves?"''



'''LTJG. K'lak:''' Yes, and my species’ dominant culture considers it honorable to attack unarmed passenger liners from cloak.

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'''LTJG. K'lak:''' Yes, and my species’ species' dominant culture considers it honorable to attack unarmed passenger liners from cloak.



* In the {{Twilight}} series, it's implied at several points that because it's considered normal for vampires to drain humans of blood (as opposed to drinking animal blood, which only has the drawback of being slightly less tasty than human blood), they shouldn't be thought badly of for doing so. In [[AllThereInTheManual some supplementary materials]], it's hinted that [[WordOfGod Stephenie Meyer]] agrees with this.
--> Other Twilight vampires see humans as beef or poultry, it’s true. And it’s a hard viewpoint to resist—after all, vampires are physically and mentally superior to the nth degree. Their life spans measure in centuries and millenniums. Human lives are so short—sort of like fruit flies that only live a day in comparison. Humans die so easily, too, in their sleep, from tripping, from a tiny heart glitch, from a virus, from getting bumped a little too hard by a car. It’s sort of hard for an average vampire to take them seriously. They’re going to die soon anyway, right? (I know it might be difficult to step away from a human perspective and see it through their eyes. The question is, is it really wrong for them to see the world that way? Vampires are at the very pinnacle of the food chain. Should they feel bad about that? Or are they simply following the dictates of nature?)

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* In the {{Twilight}} series, it's ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'':
** It's
implied at several points that because it's considered normal for vampires to drain humans of blood (as opposed to drinking animal blood, which only has the drawback of being slightly less tasty than human blood), they shouldn't be thought badly of for doing so. In [[AllThereInTheManual some supplementary materials]], it's hinted that [[WordOfGod Stephenie Meyer]] agrees with this.
--> --->'''Meyer:''' Other Twilight vampires see humans as beef or poultry, it’s it's true. And it’s it's a hard viewpoint to resist—after resist—-after all, vampires are physically and mentally superior to the nth degree. Their life spans measure in centuries and millenniums. Human lives are so short—sort short--sort of like fruit flies that only live a day in comparison. Humans die so easily, too, in their sleep, from tripping, from a tiny heart glitch, from a virus, from getting bumped a little too hard by a car. It’s It's sort of hard for an average vampire to take them seriously. They’re going to die soon anyway, right? (I know it might be difficult to step away from a human perspective and see it through their eyes. The question is, is it really wrong for them to see the world that way? Vampires are at the very pinnacle of the food chain. Should they feel bad about that? Or are they simply following the dictates of nature?)



* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' has [[ChaoticEvil Belkar]] [[SociopathicHero Bitterleaf]] defending his right to a cultural heritage of murder and evading the DetectEvil spell. Made funnier by the fact that the context makes it quite obvious that he made up this "cultural heritage" on the spot.

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* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' has ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
**
[[ChaoticEvil Belkar]] [[SociopathicHero Bitterleaf]] defending defends his right to a cultural heritage of murder and evading the DetectEvil spell. spell by claiming that halflings in his village carry lead sheets (which block detecting spells) to prove their manliness. Made funnier by the fact that the context makes it quite obvious that he made up this "cultural heritage" on the spot.spot.
--->'''Miko:''' Could you put it down for just a--\\
'''Belkar:''' STOP OPPRESSING MY CULTURE, YOU ETHNOCENTRIC BITCH!



-->uu: REMEMBER WHAT I SAID. ABOUT OUR DIFFERENT CULTURES OR WHATEVER.
-->uu: HAVE A FUCKING OPEN MIND, JANE.

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-->uu: --->uu: REMEMBER WHAT I SAID. ABOUT OUR DIFFERENT CULTURES OR WHATEVER.
-->uu:
WHATEVER.\\
uu:
HAVE A FUCKING OPEN MIND, JANE.



* Discussed and defied in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': Zoidberg challenges Fry to a form of Decapodian ritual combat, which by the rules of his society must end in one of their deaths. Fry wins the fight, but refuses to kill Zoidberg.
-->'''Fry:''' My fellow fish-monsters, far be it from me to question your stupid civilization or its dumb customs, but is squeezing each other's brains out with a giant nutcracker really going to solve anything?

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
**
Discussed and defied in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': defied: Zoidberg challenges Fry to a form of Decapodian ritual combat, which by the rules of his society must end in one of their deaths. Fry wins the fight, but refuses to kill Zoidberg.
-->'''Fry:''' --->'''Fry:''' My fellow fish-monsters, far be it from me to question your stupid civilization or its dumb customs, but is squeezing each other's brains out with a giant nutcracker really going to solve anything?
4th May '16 4:29:47 AM Morgenthaler
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1st May '16 10:06:04 PM VanHohenheimOfXerxes
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For good, neutral and neutralish forms of cultural relativism, see instead GoodVersusGood, BothSidesHaveAPoint and BlueAndOrangeMorality. Compare AgreeToDisagree, AppealToInherentNature. Contrast AgainstMyReligion, where someone uses religion to avoid taking a certain action. NobodyEverComplainedBefore is when apparently this has never caused a major disagreement that the culture remembers.

to:

For good, neutral and neutralish forms of cultural relativism, see instead GoodVersusGood, BothSidesHaveAPoint BothSidesHaveAPoint, and BlueAndOrangeMorality. Compare AgreeToDisagree, AppealToInherentNature.AppealToInherentNature, and MyCountryRightOrWrong. Contrast AgainstMyReligion, where someone uses religion to avoid taking a certain action. NobodyEverComplainedBefore is when this has apparently this has never caused a major disagreement that the culture remembers.
1st May '16 10:04:37 PM VanHohenheimOfXerxes
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* Referenced in Music/WeirdAlYankovic's song "Weasel Stomping Day," about [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a holiday devoted to stomping weasels to death]]. One of the lines in the song is, ''It's tradition; that makes it okay!''

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* Referenced in Music/WeirdAlYankovic's song "Weasel Stomping Day," about [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a holiday devoted to stomping weasels to death]]. One of the lines in the song is, ''It's death]]:
-->''It's
tradition; that makes it okay!''
27th Apr '16 2:54:49 PM margdean56
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* In ''ComicBook/TopTen'', after the alien porn star M'Rrgla Qualz is arrested for beheading several prostitutes to eat their pineal glands, her lawyer tries to use this as a defense, alleging that this is part of her species life-cycle and citing some alien laws. Captain Traynor remains unconvinced and says that, alien laws notwithstanding, eating people's brains is still a crime by Neopolis' laws. That said, she's been on Earth for at least 20 years, so she'd know that it was already illegal.

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* In ''ComicBook/TopTen'', after the alien porn star M'Rrgla Qualz is arrested for beheading several prostitutes to eat their pineal glands, her lawyer tries to use this as a defense, alleging that this is part of her species species' life-cycle and citing some alien laws. Captain Traynor remains unconvinced and says that, alien laws notwithstanding, eating people's brains is still a crime by Neopolis' laws. That said, she's been on Earth for at least 20 years, so she'd know that it was already illegal.



* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' the idea of doing things different than they are done (for example, having one husband per woman), is brought up, and the main characters discuss it, but come to the conclusion that it is impossible to change such fundamental things about their culture. Likely used to lampshade the DeliberateValuesDissonance. However, the trope is averted by the heroic female characters, who think that men's GenderRarityValue (which is the reason why the culture evolved the way it did) does not justify using them for breeding like cattle.

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* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' the idea of doing things different differently than they are done (for example, having one husband per woman), is brought up, and the main characters discuss it, but come to the conclusion that it is impossible to change such fundamental things about their culture. Likely used to lampshade the DeliberateValuesDissonance. However, the trope is averted by the heroic female characters, who think that men's GenderRarityValue (which is the reason why the culture evolved the way it did) does not justify using them for breeding like cattle.



* Fen in {{Literature/The Osmerian Conflict}} is of a race that is constantly seeking the best scientific outcome and self preservation. As a result in situations that are difficult to make based on emotions she frequently will point out that a statistical advantage is better and emotions are things that hinder or obstruct proper decision making to the point she willingly sacrifices people for the cause and when Sarah calls her out on it Fen simply replies that is simply how things are done in her world and no one is worse off because of it.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': [[CrapsackWorld Where do we even begin?]] Boiling down a ''lot'' of story, it becomes clear that while this ''[[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped definitely isn't the case]]'', drawing the line can be very, very tricky. Forcibly intervening [[spoiler: as Danaerys found out]] is ''not'' going to help in the long run, especially when the victims are ConditionedToAcceptHorror, said horror is InherentInTheSystem, and that destabilizing said system will leave its people [[NiceJobBreakingItHero even worse off than they were when they were under it]]. Also, cultures [[HereWeGoAgain have a way of bouncing back from forceful extermination]].

to:

* Fen in {{Literature/The ''{{Literature/The Osmerian Conflict}} Conflict}}'' is of a race that is constantly seeking the best scientific outcome and self preservation. As a result result, in situations that are difficult to make a decision about based on emotions emotions, she frequently will point out that a statistical advantage is better better, and emotions are things that hinder or obstruct proper decision making decision-making. Fen takes this to the point where she willingly sacrifices people for the cause and cause; when Sarah calls her out on it it, Fen simply replies that is simply how things are done in her world and no one is worse off because of it.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': [[CrapsackWorld Where do we even begin?]] Boiling down a ''lot'' of story, it becomes clear that while this ''[[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped definitely isn't the case]]'', drawing the line can be very, very tricky. Forcibly intervening [[spoiler: as Danaerys Daenerys found out]] is ''not'' going to help in the long run, especially when the victims are ConditionedToAcceptHorror, said horror is InherentInTheSystem, and that destabilizing said system will leave its people [[NiceJobBreakingItHero even worse off than they were when they were under it]]. Also, cultures [[HereWeGoAgain have a way of bouncing back from forceful extermination]].



* An episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' featured the ''Enterprise'' crew running into a civilization of two planets that were locked in an eternal war. To limit the devastation and preserve their culture, both civilizations agreed to stop shooting real weapons and use giant, inter-linked computers to simulate shooting at each other. When the computers recorded "hits", it also listed who was "killed" by the "attack". Those "casualties" were then rounded up and sent to actual death chambers. The war rages, people die, but no actual damage to either world. At the episode's climax, the planet's top leader tries to trick the entire crew of the Enterprise into beaming off the ship because the computer recorded a "hit" on her. At the end of the episode, Kirk severs the radio link between the two planets, which brought down a threat of a war with real weapons and real destruction coming down on both worlds. Kirk leaves the planet saying that this could be the consequence, or they could negotiate a much needed peace.

to:

* An episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' featured the ''Enterprise'' crew running into a civilization of two planets that were locked in an eternal war. To limit the devastation and preserve their culture, both civilizations agreed to stop shooting real weapons and use giant, inter-linked computers to simulate shooting at each other. When the computers recorded record "hits", it also listed who was "killed" by the "attack". Those "casualties" were are then rounded up and sent to actual death chambers. The war rages, people die, but no actual damage to either world. At the episode's climax, the planet's top leader tries to trick the entire crew of the Enterprise ''Enterprise'' into beaming off the ship because the computer recorded a "hit" on her. At the end of the episode, Kirk severs the radio link between the two planets, which brought down brings a threat of a war with real weapons and real destruction coming down on both worlds. Kirk leaves the planet saying that this could be the consequence, or they could negotiate a much needed peace.



* This is a thorny issue that frequently crops up throughout the entire Franchise/StarTrek universe, mainly because none of the writers ever precisely defined the Prime Directive and its tenets. In the broadest sense, it states that no society has the right to judge another society's values or interfere with their natural course. The room for interpretation is large enough to accommodate several small planets: DependingOnTheWriter, what constitutes "interference" varies greatly, as does which societies the Prime Directive applies to (sometimes it's just pre-warp civilizations, other times it extends to warp-capable civilizations that aren't Federation member states). The concept has been frequently Deconstructed in TNG and DS9, with characters often accusing the Federation of avoiding responsibility for the problems of the larger universe by refusing to even try to affect them.

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* This is a thorny issue that frequently crops up throughout the entire Franchise/StarTrek universe, mainly because none of the writers ever precisely defined the Prime Directive and its tenets. In the broadest sense, it states that no society has the right to judge another society's values or interfere with their natural course. The room for interpretation is large enough to accommodate several small planets: DependingOnTheWriter, what constitutes "interference" varies greatly, as does which societies the Prime Directive applies to (sometimes it's just pre-warp civilizations, other times it extends to warp-capable civilizations that aren't Federation member states). The concept has been frequently Deconstructed in TNG and DS9, [=DS9=], with characters often accusing the Federation of avoiding responsibility for the problems of the larger universe by refusing to even try to affect them.
27th Apr '16 2:39:50 PM margdean56
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Note that the claim that "Culture Justifies Anything" is usually done by a ''character'', not by the narrator. The character being portrayed as wrong is still a straight example, not a subversion. For this trope to come into effect, it must be clear that the setting or at least the author treat the act thus defended as morally questionable at best. Otherwise it's merely YourNormalIsOurTaboo. If the setting in general agrees with the objectionable act, this trope does not have to be used, since the act is simply considered normal and doesn't have to be defended by reference to culture. If the trope is used anyway, its purpose might be to [[LampshadeHanging highlight]] the DeliberateValuesDissonance. Keep in mind that culture has never been static or unchanging, not in any part of the world nor in any point of history, and when confronted by someone using culture as their justification, one must not make the assumption that these spokesman and their practises represent that culture on the whole.

to:

Note that the claim that "Culture Justifies Anything" is usually done by a ''character'', not by the narrator. The character being portrayed as wrong is still a straight example, not a subversion. For this trope to come into effect, it must be clear that the setting or at least the author treat the act thus defended as morally questionable at best. Otherwise it's merely YourNormalIsOurTaboo. If the setting in general agrees with the objectionable act, this trope does not have to be used, since the act is simply considered normal and doesn't have to be defended by reference to culture. If the trope is used anyway, its purpose might be to [[LampshadeHanging highlight]] the DeliberateValuesDissonance. Keep in mind that culture has never been static or unchanging, not in any part of the world nor in any point of history, and when confronted by someone using culture as their justification, one must not make the assumption that these spokesman and their practises practices represent that culture on the whole.
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