Why are Americans so religious?

Cpt_pineapple
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Why are Americans so religious?

From what I've seen GDP was a negative predictor of religiousity sans one exception: The US.

 

Canada has the same basic amount of believers yet about half the creationists. [I think it's 41% and 23% respectively]

 

So why is the US so religious? Why are they the exception?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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:3

 The U.S. has great economic instability from one area to the next, and contains mass amounts of people below the poverty line.

 

 

Look at the states, and look at their value on religion. The U.S. is a large country, consider the states individually.

 

Also, look at the distribution of federal money. Taxed from, and provided back to the individual states.

 

In addition, take a look at comparable GDP lists from regions globally, like this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_country_subdivisions_by_GDP_(nominal)

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:So why

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

So why is the US so religious?  

 

They have the economic system of a third world banana republic, and their educational system is laughable at best. Add to this a tyrannical and all-powerful federal government which is wielding draconian laws and is armed to the teeth and beyond. As for the population, it seems to me that even the intellectuals are living under the delusion that the US of A is "special" in some ill-defined, almost mystical way, compared to other countries.

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Marquis wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Marquis wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

So why is the US so religious?  

 

They have the economic system of a third world banana republic, and their educational system is laughable at best. Add to this a tyrannical and all-powerful federal government which is wielding draconian laws and is armed to the teeth and beyond. As for the population, it seems to me that even the intellectuals are living under the delusion that the US of A is "special" in some ill-defined, almost mystical way, compared to other countries.

We do think we are special ~ and I have never understood it. I wonder where this 'privileged' sense of being started..? Back at the founding of this fantastic country  Eye-wink  Passed down from generation to generation..just like god belief?

Anyway, thanks to this post I have determined my next research paper topic! American Privilege has a nice ring to it.

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I would like to see a study

I would like to see a study to see if there is a correlation between heightened feelings of nationalism and feelings of religious fervor.

"Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such."
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 Here's a monkey wrench for

 Here's a monkey wrench for you, Alison...

I can't find the reference right now due to a stupid mac/pc incompatibility issue, but I'll dig it up for you.  There's a scientist (in California, I think) who claims to have identified a gene which expresses as an increased tendency towards risk-taking and "maverick" behavior when times are bad.  

Here's the hypothesis.  America was founded by people who all left their countries and took a huge gamble -- both on profitability and survival itself.  This gene which has just been isolated is found in a small percentage of the population of MOST countries, and correlates to increased tendency towards risk and emmigration.   So.... that means that America was originally populated by mostly risk takers, which are otherwise in a small minority.  So our colonial history inadvertently caused us to be populated by mavericks.  

I dunno whether this also contributes to our religiosity, but it's damn interesting.  Like I said, I'll get you the citation when I can borrow a mac.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:  So....

Hambydammit wrote:
  So.... that means that America was originally populated by mostly risk takers, which are otherwise in a small minority.

 

The american indians were risk takers?


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 Quote:The american indians

 

Quote:
The american indians were risk takers?

Pardon me.  That should have read, "The United States was originally populated..."

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote:a gene

Hambydammit wrote:
a gene which expresses as an increased tendency towards risk-taking

 

I know bollocks when I see it.

I have one word for you: Australia.

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Ok the response raise

Ok the response raises another question:

 

Why is the US so patriotic? Once again to compare it to Canada where cultural expression is encouraged, whereas in the US if you're not American GTFO

 

 

 


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 I don't know that the U.S.

 I don't know that the U.S. does stand out as uniquely patriotic.  Nationalism has a rich and unique history.

However, having said that, I do believe patriotism and religious fervor are similar cognitive states.

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Hambydammit wrote: I don't

Hambydammit wrote:

 I don't know that the U.S. does stand out as uniquely patriotic.  Nationalism has a rich and unique history.

However, having said that, I do believe patriotism and religious fervor are similar cognitive states.

 

I would believe that, both seem equally foreign to me in much the same way, and seem to have quite a bit in common.

 

To the OP-

As others have sated, the USA is not on par financially with many other countries. We've got the highest poverty rate among '1st world' countries. And as was pointed out, our education system pretty much sucks.

 

 


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 Quote:I would like to see

 

Quote:
I would like to see a study to see if there is a correlation between heightened feelings of nationalism and feelings of religious fervor.

There may be a correlation, but I doubt there's a causal connection.  The only reason I think there might be a connection is that the mind which will accept the nationalist paradigm has everything in place to accept the religious paradigm.  They're essentially two manifestations of the same kind of worldview.  So, we wouldn't really expect one to cause the other, but we wouldn't be surprised if people who embraced one also embraced the other.  

I'm also thinking of the non-theist nations that have fervently embraced nationalism.  I don't have time now, but if I remember tomorrow, I'll do a keyword search of the university archives and see what pops up.

 

 

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Cpt_pineapple wrote: So why

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

 

So why is the US so religious? Why are they the exception?

 

 

The only thing I can think of it may be in the water mixed in with fluoride.

 

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You're not going to argue

You're not going to argue that patriotism is a religion are you?

 

Any way according to the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago in the US in a survey of 34 countries

 

 http://www.docstoc.com/docs/19472825/1-National-Pride-in-Specific-Domains-Tom-W--Smith-NORC-University

 

  1. United States
  2. Venezuela
  3. Ireland
  4. South Africa
  5. Australia
  6. Canada
  7. Philippines
  8. Austria
  9. New Zealand
  10. Chile
  11. Great Britain
  12. Israel
  13. Uruguay
  14. Finland
  15. Spain
  16. Denmark
  17. Switzerland
  18. Japan
  19. France
  20. Portugal
  21. Hungary
  22. Bulgaria
  23. Norway
  24. Russia
  25. Sweden
  26. Slovenia
  27. Germany (West)
  28. Czech Republic
  29. Taiwan
  30. Latvia
  31. Korea
  32. Slovakia
  33. Poland
  34. Germany (East)

 

 

 

 


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I can't believe I'll be the

I can't believe I'll be the first person to explain this...

The first European settlers here were Puritans who--yes, took risks to get here--for the purposes of gaining religious freedom. Another reason for making the voyage was Missionary, to save the souls of the "savage" native peoples (who were actually far more "civilized" than the settlers) by whatever means necessary, including murder and torture. The entire foundation of our country by white Europeans was religious in nature from the beginning.

Furthermore, the US has a great deal more "middle" than most other countries. That is to say, areas of the country that don't border either a major body of water or major waterway, which would be an avenue of trade and therefore bring people from other places and different cultures, or an international boundary, which would accomplish the same thing. If you look at the voting patterns in this country, red (McCain) to blue (Obama), the waterways, even all up and down the Mississippi River (which can get VERY hillbilly in the southern states), the counties next to water are predominantly blue. Insulation and isolation breeds conformity and uniformity, not to mention ignorance. Ignorance breeds religious superstition.


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Quote:You're not going to

Quote:
You're not going to argue that patriotism is a religion are you?

Who, me?

No.  I'm not going to argue that patriotism is a religion.

 

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:3

 I think the nationalism was ramped up for the world wars, and became the dominant culture ever since. All the propaganda never stopped through the cold war with Russia. People were being fed thoughts.

 

An excuse is always rallied around, but the majority of my generation are not nationalistic like the ones before were. I think that is mostly due to the internet, and communication with people elsewhere though. That "exceptionalism" is not really so exceptional as delusional, and a lot of people realize that now. (under the age of 30)

 

I expect you will find nationalism still today though within landlocked states of the US, as well as those same people unconvinced to travel outside the country. Most people in my age group don't really care though, and most of the population in this country are not in landlocked states.

 

 

There is a difference between liking the place you live and fervently promoting it as #1 in everything despite all evidence to the contrary. Of course if you bring that up to someone promoting that, they will often suggest you leave the country then and call you "un-American". Hilarious.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Ok the

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Ok the response raises another question:

 

Why is the US so patriotic? Once again to compare it to Canada where cultural expression is encouraged, whereas in the US if you're not American GTFO 

The US is the largest melting pot of people from virtually every country in the world. I don't think there is anyway else with such a diversity of origins. Each group met resentment and hostility as they emigrated to the US. The first settlers were British, then large amounts of many other Europeans. In order to show allegiance these immigrants became very patriotic to show they had left behind their previous allegiances. All have been held with suspicion until a new group becomes the newcomers.

Countries of origin US immigration

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0201398.html

The largest groups of immigrants from 1820 to 1996:

1-Germany

2-Italy

3-Mexico

4-United Kingdom

5-Ireland

6-Canada

7-Russia

8-West Indies

9-Austria

10-South America

11-Sweden

12-China

13-Central America

14-France

15-Norway

16-Poland

17-Greece

18-India

19-Portugal

20-Japan

In Europe for centuries people of different countries have adequately demonstrated that could not get along with one another, from the 100 years war to WW 2 and Bosnia (really WW 1 cont'd) Yet when they have become Americans eventually they all get along. The patriotic pride helped them to leave behind their previous country of origin and to integrate successfully in US society. Is it necessary to be a super patriot, probably not, unless you look Islamic.

 

 

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Paul The same is in Canada

Paul The same is in Canada for the most part if not more, prominent that groups that normally dislike or outright hate each other in their countries or origin get along fine here, my best example is the Scots, English and Irish where I use to work at, they got along great, however when it was just one of them and me they would just through on the hate about the English back in the UK or the Scots or the Irish, however they never bad mouthed about the ones in Canada.

Same went for various other nationalities, Indian and Pakistani, Japanese n Chinese, and various other Ukrainian and Russians or pollacks etc, etc, etc.

They are away from the rest of their group and try to find people they can identify with, even if when at their country of origin they can't get along. Even in the Latin American community it tends to be that way, and we in our own countries tend to dislike the others, Argentinians against everyone, Colombians vs Venezuelans, Salvadorians and Guatemalans. However in Canada we tend to get along pretty well.


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Latincanuck, I was aware

Latincanuck, I was aware that in Canada different people from other countries of origin do get along far better than in their original region. Perhaps for the same reasons, to fit in. The US had many episodes of outright warfare between each new group, as in the movie Gangs of New York. It was the Irish, the Germans, the Chineese etc. When a new group comes in they become the one that is ragged on. Right now, it's the illegals from Mexico. As these people assimilate it goes away. The patriotism thing seems to be how it's done. My ancestors were German and came here in 1898 and were held in suspicion big time during WW 1. By WW 2, they all joined the service right after Pearl Harbor to show they were patriotic.

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"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Latincanuck, I was aware that in Canada different people from other countries of origin do get along far better than in their original region. Perhaps for the same reasons, to fit in. The US had many episodes of outright warfare between each new group, as in the movie Gangs of New York. It was the Irish, the Germans, the Chineese etc. When a new group comes in they become the one that is ragged on. Right now, it's the illegals from Mexico. As these people assimilate it goes away. The patriotism thing seems to be how it's done. My ancestors were German and came here in 1898 and were held in suspicion big time during WW 1. By WW 2, they all joined the service right after Pearl Harbor to show they were patriotic.

Well not to say that we had outright war with other groups, however much like the US everyone had their moments at being at the bottom of the totem pole, from chinese to black, irish and germans etc, etc. It wasn't just as bloody.


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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
I would like to see a study to see if there is a correlation between heightened feelings of nationalism and feelings of religious fervor.

There may be a correlation, but I doubt there's a causal connection.  The only reason I think there might be a connection is that the mind which will accept the nationalist paradigm has everything in place to accept the religious paradigm.  They're essentially two manifestations of the same kind of worldview.  So, we wouldn't really expect one to cause the other, but we wouldn't be surprised if people who embraced one also embraced the other.  

I'm also thinking of the non-theist nations that have fervently embraced nationalism.  I don't have time now, but if I remember tomorrow, I'll do a keyword search of the university archives and see what pops up.

 

 

I doubt it's a causal relationship.    I guess that most of the "God, Guts, and Guns" crowd have that kind of mentality so I would think that nationalistic feelings/uber-patriotism probably go hand in hand with religious fervor.     Like to see some numbers in any case to see if anyone has actually studied that hypothesis or a simillar one.  

I have run into attitudes and statements many times from theists longing for the 'good old days' of the 50's and 40's and 'simpler times' before America rejected God.     I've oftentimes found this strongly associated with feelings of uberpatriotism flag waving, applepie, baseball, hotdogs, fireworks, and 4th of July.   I am not sure that I accept the premise that the 50's were that much more moral if at all than today.    Maybe through greater mass communication we've seen more of what people are doing and how they are living but I'm skeptical of the idea that people were more moral then.

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 Quote:I am not sure that I

 

Quote:
I am not sure that I accept the premise that the 50's were that much more moral if at all than today.    Maybe through greater mass communication we've seen more of what people are doing and how they are living but I'm skeptical of the idea that people were more moral then.

From THIS ESSAY:

Hambydammit wrote:
The 1950s

From political pundits to parents to grandparents to Hollywood, everyone seems to be in agreement that the fifties were a swell time to be an American. Proponents of the Traditional Nuclear Family myth are particularly enamored of the decade, and at first glance, it appears that there's very good reason for this. For the first time in the 20th Century, divorce and illegitimate births dropped sharply. For comparison, both were less than half that of the 1990s. Gang violence, drugs, and teenage rebellion were not yet considered to be social problems. School discipline was strict, and students were getting good educations, going to college, getting married, and starting families. From 1945 to 1960, the Gross National Product rose 250%. There were record numbers of housing starts. In 1954, the words “Under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. For the first time in the collective memory, upward mobility was a real possibility for almost everybody. On all counts, the 50's seemed to be a utopia of family values and morals.

Unfortunately, all of these statistics are grossly misleading. Though they are all essentially true, they mask a much less pristine reality. The fifties were a time of great social upheaval, widespread discontent, and the beginnings of heavy handed government intrusion into private lives. The prominence of the nuclear family was not so much due to the collective desire of individuals to form such bonds, but on the social, political, and legislative lack of other viable options.

Much like the nostalgic memories of colonial American life, our memories of the 50s are colored by our collective amnesia. During the 50s, twenty five percent of Americans – between 40 and 50 million people – were living below the poverty line. There were no food stamps, and very few options for low cost housing. Compared with the poverty in later decades, the fifties were intensely difficult for those below the line. Sixty percent of the elderly were poor. A staggering number of blacks and hispanics lived in squalor. Like every generation before, the poor had to work very long hours at the most undesirable jobs, and there was virtually no such thing as a nuclear minority family.

Things were not all rosy for the middle class whites, either. After World War II, a great many women lost the jobs they had entered while all the men were away. If they were not outright fired, they were forced into menial jobs with terrible pay. The reality for women was that they could either get married or starve. While television celebrated core families like the Cleavers, and Ozzie and Harriett, the real middle class women were being herded into marriage, motherhood, and domestic duty, whether they wanted it or not. Popular medical wisdom said that any woman who did not desire motherhood and family domesticity was neurotic, unstable, or worse, morally loose. There was a very common cure espoused by the medical community: Shock treatment. (If it sounds to you like women were tortured if they failed to conform to social expectations, you're not alone in that assessment.)

The general consensus among psychologists of the day was that women were essentially untrustworthy, and capable of little more than housework. While previous generations of middle class women were at least able to hire out their housework to lower class servants, the 50s generation was ridiculed, shunned, and often medicated if they didn't love to stay home and do the housework themselves. Consequently, even with the availability of modern appliances, the amount of housework for the average wife increased drastically.

Not surprisingly, women were not always as happy as the media portrayed them. Though there were shockingly few divorces in the fifties, approximately 1/3 of the marriages begun in that decade were dissolved by the seventies. In what is considered the definitive social survey of the decade, less than 33% of women indicated that they were either “happily married” or “very happily married.” Over 20% indicated that they were “unhappily married.”

Sexual battery, though largely unreported, appears to have been rampant. The medical community generally regarded sexual assault within the marriage as a female problem. If only the woman would be more sexually responsive, they said, things like that wouldn't happen. The problem of “female frigidity” was discussed much more than female repression or unhappiness. (It's worth noting that the cure for sexual frigidity, i.e. males sexually abusing their wives, was also shock treatment.) Similarly, battered children were quite common, and though it's difficult to get exact percentages, the evidence clearly shows that incest and sexual abuse of minors was at the least not uncommon.

Predictably, drug and alcohol abuse by women skyrocketed. Although much of it was hidden (specifically, in a flask underneath the unmentionables), there is clear evidence that alcohol abuse was at record highs. Also, a little known fact about the pharmaceutical industry is that tranquilizers were developed and marketed specifically as a solution to “the female problems.” Millions upon millions of prescriptions were filled for women unable to cope with the happiness gained from their traditional family.

By 1960, the problem was clear. Redbook magazine ran an ad soliciting stories explaining “Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped.” The editors received over twenty four thousand entries. Even in 1949, Life Magazine had reported that young wives “suddenly and for no plain reason [have been] seized with an eerie restlessness.” Obviously, there was a lot more going on in this decade, and the emergence of the core family did not solve any problems, at least not without creating significantly more problems.

Although things were significantly better for men, they were not great. The same pressure that women were put under, to marry and reproduce, were felt by men as well. There are volumes of anecdotes about men who were passed over for promotions because they were not married. Bachelors in the fifties were regarded as reckless, deviant, and morally depraved. Men were expected to get married, buy a house, and start a family as soon as they finished school. If they didn't, there were sometimes very severe social repercussions.

Perhaps worse than the social consequences of bachelorhood were the potential political repercussions. Most of us are familiar with the Red Scare and McCarthyism, but what is not as well known was that sexual deviance was also considered potentially seditious. Gay bashing was almost as common as Commie bashing, though it was not flaunted publicly. Particularly in larger cities, an unmarried man was open to suspicion of sexual sedition. Whether the speculation was that he was gay, or that he was simply too undisciplined and deviant to have a respectable family life, the consequences were very real. Thousands of men lost their jobs and families due to the intrusive Big Brother tactics of overzealous communist hunters.

Lastly, one of the most commonly flaunted statistics from the 50s is the dramatic drop in teen pregnancy and illegitimate births. Again, however, these statistics, while technically accurate, are not reflective of reality. The most obvious reason is that with the emphasis on early marriage, women were simply getting married earlier, and thus reducing the number of unwed mothers. With more careful scrutiny, it becomes obvious thatmore teenage girls were having babies in the fifties, but because they were married, the statistics for teen pregnancy went down. Married women, after all, were not teens anymore, regardless of their age.

Another major contributor to this deceptive statistic is the way illegitimate births were reported. Due to an archaic quirk in the census data, no matter what age a girl conceived, if she was living with her parents, it was not reported as a single mother. In addition, babies that were born in wedlock were not counted, regardless of when they had been conceived. There was intense social pressure to marry if a girl was found to be pregnant. Specifically, the number of pregnant brides doubled!

Yet another factor must be considered. The sexual rules for women were changing drastically. Whereas in previous generations, men had been responsible for respecting the purity of women, teenage girls in the fifties found themselves on the other end of the stick, so to speak. Men were seen as actively pursuing women, and it was entirely up to the woman to protect her own virtue. In the interest of finding the right man, girls were constantly encouraged by their peers to engage in heavy petting, but they were considered loose if they allowed any penetration. (The question of how many teen pregnancies were the result of heavy petting gone too far – with or without the girl's consent – is another matter, but you can probably make an educated guess.)

The cold, hard facts belie the apparent bliss of the fifties. The “traditional core family” has never existed on its own, and for the one decade that it was forced, and enforced, the results were not nearly as wonderful as they were popularly portrayed. The Cleavers are a product of wishful thinking. The fifties were a failed experiment in social engineering. They were a last ditch effort by those who believed they could enforce happiness through conformation.

 

 

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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:The

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The US is the largest melting pot of people from virtually every country in the world. I don't think there is anyway else with such a diversity of origins. Each group met resentment and hostility as they emigrated to the US. The first settlers were British, then large amounts of many other Europeans. In order to show allegiance these immigrants became very patriotic to show they had left behind their previous allegiances. All have been held with suspicion until a new group becomes the newcomers.

 

 

 

Perhaps I should rephrase that as: "You conform to our American values our you're a terrorist Communist that should GTFO!"

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Ok the

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Ok the response raises another question:

Why is the US so patriotic? Once again to compare it to Canada where cultural expression is encouraged, whereas in the US if you're not American GTFO

 

Because we have a very strong and relatable history, not just for one class of people. Some may relate to the history of our founders, others to the struggles of our immigrants, and black communities. And this keep people of various stripes still claiming to be proud Americans, because it's easy for them to find a home in its history.


EXC
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Religion has been an

Religion has been an organizing principle for migration, invasion and settlement. Examples are the Puritans, Mormons and now the Islamic religion. Missionaries were often the first groups to settle and build a village around a church settlement, the center of town was the church. The Masons had a lot to do with building churches. Plus not have an official state religion has lead to a wide range of religious groups to find a following.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


NoDeity
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latincanuck wrote: ...the

latincanuck wrote:
...the bottom of the totem pole...

Just a point of cultural accuracy, here.  I know that "bottom of the totem pole" is a popular expression referring to those who are discriminated against or who are of low rank but, among North American indigenous cultures that produce such poles, the figures are arranged in order of honour and importance from the bottom up -- the most important figures are at the bottom (my wife is a member of one such culture).  So, the popular expression is really rather pathetic in that it completely fails to understand the culture from which it borrows the image.  Nothing personal, latincanuck -- I just find it difficult to see such errors perpetrated without saying something about them.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.