Dial Up!
November 22, 2019 8:10 AM   Subscribe

How the Hmong diaspora use the world’s most boring technology to make something weird and wonderful

Verge Extras: Pirate Radio » Dial Up! [audio]
posted by roger ackroyd (10 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Wow that's amazing. I absolutely cringe at the idea of playing music through a compressed phone line. But it's better than nothing and I guess the phone tech solves other problems.

I wonder how long this has been going on? If the article said I missed it. Guessing from the 1990s, or maybe early 2000s, that's when phone conference calls got ubiquitous and cheap (or free if you don't mind breaking some laws). You'd think some modern Internet technology would replace it, but once a community has established itself in one medium why change it?
posted by Nelson at 8:45 AM on November 22, 2019

This is amazing and I wonder if it might also be used by other refugee communities.
posted by Not A Thing at 8:49 AM on November 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Wow, that was completely fascinating and unexpected. I work in communications policy, and I've never heard of anything like this at all.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:59 AM on November 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

Interesting parallels to the old phone phreak conference lines..
posted by joeyh at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2019 [8 favorites]

Growing up in the 1980s in St. Paul, MN, it was interesting to watch the Hmong community manage the tricky task of integrating into the wider community (they became teachers and police and legislators over just a few decades), while still retaining so much of their culture (holidays, language, arts, and more).

In an area already saturated with existing cultures -- Scandinavians, Germans, Natives, Irish, Italians, and more -- the Hmong showed up, looked around, and got to work just living, without sacrificing their cultural identity. Considering how traumatic the journey was for so many of them, it really is wonderful.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:29 AM on November 22, 2019 [14 favorites]

posted by larrybob at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2019

The vibrancy of the Hmong community in my city is astounding. I've run into them playing pick-up soccer on MacMurray field, attended their New Years Festival at River Centre, watched them win city council seats, enjoyed their art and dancing, and tasted their wonderful cuisine. They are a model of how immigrants come to our country and enrich us in delightful and unexpected ways, reflecting back our own history to let us appreciate what is good and right about this country.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:20 PM on November 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

I love this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:36 PM on November 22, 2019

Not A Thing I had the same question! I participate in HL7 workgroup calls using freeconfrencecall.com and other meeting using the (also free?) Zoom.

I cant help thinking this could be so beneficial to other communities too!

Comments towards the end about female education and gay marriage were heartbreaking though, on top of the already insane work of higher education, potentially as an ESL student!
posted by esoteric things at 9:42 PM on November 22, 2019

I'm just reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which is kind of about the Hmong culture clash with modern medicine in California. But also so much more. Highly recommended.
posted by sneebler at 12:07 PM on November 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

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