Stranger in a Strange Land
Tradition and Customs Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Mike must learn human customs. He must take off his shoes in a mosque, wear his hat in a synagogue, and cover his nakedness when taboo requires, or our shamans will burn him for deviationism. But, child, by the myriad aspects of Ahriman, don't brainwash him. Make sure he is cynical about it" (12.27)
Every society has its customs. We leave apples on teachers' desks, brides wear white on their wedding day, and we watch new Steven Spielberg movies even though we know they'll be awful (except Super 8—we're just sayin'). But we seldom question these customs because they're just so cozy and easy to roll with. Jubal isn't saying customs are bad; in fact, they're necessary. He is just saying that we should question them and not accept them simply for how easy they are.
"Okay, so I'm from Kansas. Never was any cannibalism in Kansas" (13.4)
Duke confuses Kansas's stance on cannibalism as a universal view on the issue. Depending on where you're born, your customs will be very different. East Coast and West Coast. The Northwest and the Bible Belt. California and Maine. All these areas are part of the United States and everybody who lives in them are Americans, but the customs between them are majorly different.
"It is almost impossible to shake off one's earliest training. Duke, can you get it through your skull that if you had been brought up by Martians, you would have the same attitude toward eating and being eaten that Mike has?" (13.83)
When you're raised to believe certain things, it can be hard to see them as not being true and even harder to shake free of them. Remember that sad day you learned about Santa Claus? (We do.) But the silver lining for someone like Jubal is that it's almost impossible, not plain impossible.