So, what’s with the hummingbird logo, you might ask?
Okay, maybe you’re not asking.
But, since I spent so much time trying to come up with just the right logo for this blog, I feel compelled to explain.
So, here’s my take on the four ways culture is like a hummingbird:
- Culture is fleeting. Despite our best efforts at preservation, there is a certain ephemeral quality to some cultural practices. Just ask the good folks over at UNESCO. Since 2003 they’ve been busy creating the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding – yeah, I know, rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Bottom line – Like the elusive hummingbird, it’s important to pay attention to culture. Blink and you just might miss it.
- Culture is eternal. Yes, I know this contradicts point # 1 above. But, hey, when you’re talking about culture, there are no absolutes. There are, however, cultural dimensions that remain relatively constant no matter what culture you’re talking about. It’s just a matter of figuring out where a given culture falls along the spectrum.
- Culture is mutable. Ever notice how a hummingbird’s wings seem to change color as it moves? Culture too is changeable. But while the hummingbird’s wings only appear to change, culture really does, morphing over time, as people from different cultures interact and come together. Need an example? American Gospel music, for example, has its roots in African griot songs.
- Culture is mobile. As it flits from flower to flower a hummingbird beats it wings at a rate of 10-80 per second, depending on the size of the bird. Culture may not be as speedy but it too has a way of getting around. How? Travel and commerce – the Silk Road trade route, for example – are two of the most common ways that culture is spread. The pollinators? Humans, of course!
Okay, enough talk! Watch my favorite hummingbird in action.