About Me

Find out more about me here.

07 August 2012

Passing Processions

I learned something interesting a few weeks ago. I was heading back into town on my daily bike ride when I was approaching one of the several funeral homes we have here. A police office had her squad car blocking one lane of traffic while she stood in the other, directing a procession into the street. I, in the midst of a workout and not wanting to leave my target heart rate zone, was readying to pass the squad car when the police office stopped me. I immediately asked her if that was legal. As I have written about before, I worked for a summer in a cemetery in my hometown of Saint Joseph, Michigan, and learned that, while never enforced, it was technically illegal for cars to stop for a passing funeral procession. She informed me that in Baldwin County, Georgia, it is in fact punishable with a $150 fine! She also felt the need to add that since Baldwin Co. was such a "small, close-knit community," it was that much more important. (We were counted at about 44,000 people in the most recent Census.) We exchanged pleasantries, she thanking me for complying, and I thanking her for the information, and I waited for the procession to pass. (I got stopped again by the same procession a few blocks later as it meandered its way through town.)

It occurred to me that these are some pretty big differences in cultural practice. Laws are symbolic and tell us a lot about the values of a given people. How to account for these differences? Is it urban/rural? Midwest/South? contemporary/traditional?

It reminded me of this analysis of tweets about beer vs. tweets about church. People in the Northeast and Midwest love their beer. People in the Southeast (i.e. Southern Baptists) and in Salt Lake City (i.e. Mormons) love their church.

No comments:

Post a Comment