Saturday, September 19, 2015

One more thing making me cranky

It occurs to me that if you wanted to design a course on sociocultural dysfunctions, you could almost use nothing but Republican speeches for the readings.  The topics would include sexism, classism, ethnocentrism...

Something else making me cranky

New rule*: If you're a politician, you don't get to talk prescriptively about "marriage" or "the family" unless you have taken a course in anthropology. And yeah, we want to see the transcripts.

What I mean is that unless your concept of "marriage" is comfortable with the tradition among Kenya's Nandi, which allows for a woman whose husband has died to marry another woman who will take on the status and role of "wife" so that the widow can slide into the status and role of "husband," you should keep your mouth shut.

*HT to Bill Maher.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Remembering 9/11

Yesterday was the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, surely worth remembering.  But as fellow anthropologist Mark Moberg (University of South Alabama) reminds us, there was another 9/11 back in 1973:
Long before 9/11/2001, September 11 was a day of mourning for South Americans. The region's longest-lasting democracy ended with the military coup that overthrew democratically elected President Salvador Allende, replacing him with the junta of Augusto Pinochet that ruled that country for nearly 20 years. After Allende was killed in the coup, Pinochet suspended Congress, banned the opposition press, outlawed all political parties, directed the murder of an estimated 10,000 Chileans, oversaw the torture of many thousands more, and exiled more than a hundred thousand. Allende's crime? He had nationalized US copper corporations that had held Chile's economy in thrall -- the coup was directed, funded, and supported by the Nixon administration under "Operation Make the Economy Scream." In the words of Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, "We will not allow Chile to go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people."