Monthly Archives: March 2013

An Homage To Alternative Points of View: An Exercise in Objectivity

blog-suckThis one is for all the bloggers.

I don’t know why we all choose the blog as an outlet. For some people, it’s a away to feel like you are being heard – if even only by your friends and family and anonymous strangers – in a world where it seems like you just can’t shout loud enough the rise above the noise. For others, it’s like having a diary that you let strangers ready but still seems private because the veil of the internet between you and your readers keeps you at more than arm’s length from judgement. For others like me, it’s a way to practice your writing skills and to send a message that you feel is important (no matter how important others think it is).

But blogging is, whether you are a narcissist or not(and let’s face it, most bloggers are or they wouldn’t be doing it), a heavily ego-involved activity. You can’t help but get your feelings hurt if somebody doesn’t like what you wrote or appreciate your point of view. But you have to grow a thick skin or you’ll never put yourself out there. The world – even the “virtual” one, can be a scary place.

So, when I started this blog, I had to mentally prepare myself for the fact that, even though I may feel like I have a valid point, informed point of view or finely-tuned skill – others might not always agree with me. I needed to commit, from a scientific perspective, to allowing for objective data collection via the comment forum. I’m not just writing to put my point of view out there. Rather, I am often relaying an observation or putting something out there from one very specific perspective with the intent (and hope) of getting people engaged enough that they will respond with their own perspectives. From a social scientist’s point of view, more perspectives = more data. And I am always collecting data.

Given that imperative, I decided that no matter what, unless it was blatantly SPAM, I would always approve all comments, no matter how much I disagree with them, find them to be confrontational or just idiotic. Fortunately, the last on that list is few and far between.

That being said, after receiving a particularly “divergent”comment today on a blog I wrote months ago (see the first one below), I decided to dedicate today’s blog to “alternatives” and post some of the comments that got me in my gut a little – or a lot. All in the name of science and objectivity and the attempt to collect even more data.

So, Here are some of the best of the not so favorable comments on my blog since I started posting every day, 312 days ago:


From “Anonymous” at on “Some of My Best Friends are White People”

“Yeah, I’m really excited. We are going to be a minority! It’ll be just like being Bengali in Pakistan. It’s a good thing all the other “races” of the world are so much nicer to each other than “whites” are to “non-whites.” This is the best solution ever. You are the smartest anthropologist ever. I bet you must be rich. Or “non-white,” including the strong possibility of being a member of the jewish cult.

‘ “It would stand to reason that white folks in America should be able to take one on the chin every now and then given our American history of bigotry, oppression and otherwise mistreating minorities and non-white natives. ” ‘


But don’t worry. Once whites lose all their political power — and this has already basically happened–, I’m sure their replacements will be much better. It is something intrinsic about white human nature that they oppress others when they have more power.

Who will take the lead? It seems like it will be a jewish financial elite and an Asian technocratic elite. Well, ok. That’s great. jews have never harmed anyone. Their entire history, including the present, they have been at the forefront of human rights. I mean, have you ever heard a serious critic of their policies?

And Asians? Wow, these are the gentlest people on planet Earth. For example, did you know that Brahmin Indians are divinely superior to the Shudra? But they are so mericful that they had happily enslaved those people for 2k years before European discovery. Or what about the “Han?” When have the Chinese ever oppressed anyone? I’ve actually known a lot of Chinese people, and they have all loved white people like their own brothers. In almost every case, at least half of every Han’s friends is white.

Are you really that stupid? You make me physically sick. And I bet you won’t even bother to post this because you are a jewish pseudoacademic who is conducting information warefare against the Western world. Quit your job today.”

From Ana on “Are We What We Watch? TV Content as a Reflection of American Culture”

“And there is great value in showing the world that it’s okay to take a hard look at yourself. ”
I’m Brazilian and this is not what we are witnessing. No, it is not.
We are deeply concerned with America.

From Fireandair on “Why Can’t We Stay Out of Jodie Foster’s Closet? A Perspective on Celebrity as a Fetish” :

“I just wish some of the puking infants who are whining about her had any awareness AT ALL — and they appear not to — that some crazy dude once shot at a president to impress her. Do all of you baby “activist” fags and dykes walking around with your oppressed noses in the air even remember that? (Yeah, I’m queer too, so STFU, I get to say that.) Do any of you have any idea how a sane, well-balanced person will react to finding out that some murderous looney-bin tried to off a bunch of people violently because was obsessed with your life? GMAFB, people.

I cannot believe that out of all of the people who have felt obligated to have some sort of Social Opinion™ on this, damned few of them were even alive when that happened and NONE of them seem to recall it or think that it might have had an impact in how firmly Foster would like to slam the door on the toes of anyone who tries to stick themselves where they don’t belong.

Foster’s life and choices are HERS. Being an actor doesn’t mean losing all right to shut the door. Thinking otherwise is rape logic. Bitch opened the door for that other person one time, so she’s got no right to shut it on me.

Oh yes she does. Whenever she wants, and for any reason at all. Shut up and get on with your lives, all of you.”

From artmoscow on “Why Can’t We Stay Out of Jodie Foster’s Closet? A Perspective on Celebrity as a Fetish” :

“Flag waving is OK. But asking non-rhetorical questions and leaving them unaswered is not what anthropologists do. I don’t know if you allow comments that do not support your opinion, but I would be happy if it was just you who read it, for I am interested to learn more of what you think on a different perspective.

People form emotional bonds to celebs (just like they do to brands, which are NOT about benefits only), and that’s why people are interested in things/people to which they are emotionally bound. I am not bound emotionally to JF. I don’t care about her coming-out. But I will be interested to learn more about some other actors. People are also interested in celebs because media makes glamour the god and icon. For some, celebs and their lifestyle is a fairytale, to which ordinary folks aspire and which they envy. FOr some, whose life shows no signs of super success, it is important to know bad things about celebs that would prove the latter achieved their status via means far from honest effort and talent. It is not people’s fault that they are interested in celebs, and it is beyond their powers to control this interest. You can ask them not to as much as you like, but if you want to really change it, talk to Ms Foster first.

I’ve made myself watch this video. It is a well-rehearsed and relatively well acted promotion, and Ms Foster played the worldwide audience as a chess champion plays a game against a 10-year old. I can’t believe you’ve bought into this performance! )

PS I can’t press the Like button, but were there a Respect one, I’d push it )”

From Mind of Andy on “Why?” (My “About Page)

“I might have a few useful keywords about american culture here:
& and cheesy movies!
I hope it’s not too negative, though all of them seem true to me. :)


Categories: Anthropology, Blogging, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Experiment, Science, sociology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Creepy Consumer Culture Rituals: Pictures With Santa and The Easter Bunny

I don’t know If I share this opinion with most Anthropologists or not, but I know I share It with many of my other fellow humans. And that is, Americans do some weird sh*t for our holiday traditions – mostly because of how fervently we have integrated our religous holidays into consumer culture and vice versa.

I have nothing against religious holidays as a concept – aside from the forced gift-giving (I’m an “it’s the thought that counts” and purposeful-reciprocity kind of gal). Holidays are a time when we observe traditions rooted in our most ancient of heritages that remind us we are human. And if you are a kid, those holidays are intentionally designed for you to look forward to, with gamified rituals abound to pleasantly socialize you into the observance of said human traditions.

Much like most play, the fun things we do at holiday-time and the rituals we create to cater to children are designed to train us in our adult responsibilities. It’s why in normal life we get the new Monster High dolls and fake tools and miniature kitchen utensils as toys. These are the things that will be part of our “work” when we become adults. The same holds true for Holidays, I’m afraid. But when you are a kid, they are FUN FUN FUN! Lighting Channukah candles and getting presents and chocolate money, waiting for Santa to leave a pile of toys under the Christmas tree, hunting for Easter eggs in the back yard!

But then we turned a creepy consumer culture-driven corner somewhere in the mid-20th century and things started to get weird. More and more we associated those traditions with material acquisition and the shopping malls and department stores in America started getting aggressive to drive in the traffic.

Thus the creepy department store Santa was born: forcing children everywhere to sit in a big fat strange old man’s lap, tell him if we have been naughty or nice (when in normal life we are taught not to talk to strangers), ask him for presents (also a childhood no-no) and smile for a picture (another kid-favorite activity). It is at this point that we began to scar an entire generation for the sake of having a Christmas card photo or a picture for the mantle to remind us of our folly.

I think the following video clip from my favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story, sums it up:

Then at some point we decided that Easter was an in equally important indulgence holiday and the giant Easter Bunny was born. I am not entirely well-versed in the Easter Bunny origin story. But apparently, as is par for the course on weird pop culture, it has something to do with the Germans – at least according to Wikipedia’s Easter Bunny Entry.

So, I thought it would be appropriate to present my case about how consumer culture has made holiday’s creepy by showcasing some empirical-archeological-data-based-evidence from An astonishing collection of creepy Easter Bunny family photos submitted by many brave souls who decided to risk bringing back the pain so that they could share it with others and raise awareness of this damaging human ritual.

40 Easter Bunnies more terrifying than a crucified man coming back from the dead.

After I give them their eggs, I am taking them back to my planet with me.

As hard as shopping malls try to make “going to see the Easter Bunny” a thing, it’s never quite caught on like visiting Santa Claus. Maybe that’s because Christmas is a magical celebration of materialistic greed and gluttony while the closest thing to “fun” about Easter is showing off your new pair of church slacks — or maybe it’s because every Easter Bunny costume is a walking nightmare of soul-scarring horror. Here are some examples of why the image of a bleeding, emaciated guy on a cross rising from the grave is somehow not the most traumatizing thing about this holiday.

His eyes fell off so he had to replace them with a hand full of red jelly beans.

They look even scarier alone. What do they think about? Do they think only in screams?

Did it just die? Get the kid, he’s on a dead bunny!

It’s uncomfortable that the Easter Bunny sits like our Dad on a hot day.

The kid’s crying because that’s just a Chuck E. Cheez animatronic bass player come to life.

This bunny’s name is Hopalong Junkpouch.

Something tells me it’s not the bunny that’s chocolate-filled after this picture.

Prisoner 49581, please submit yourself to The Bunny. Prisoner 49581 to The Bunny.”

They say when you look into its eyes you can see Hell itself.

For the next page and more of this daring and disturbing set of images, click here to go to

And just remember, it should be our job to prevent children from having nightmares – not to make them come true.

This has been a public service message from The Narcissistic Anthropologist.

Categories: American Culture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Culture, Holidays, Rituals, sociology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

This one is for my “older” friends and colleagues who are having trouble adjusting to working with Millennials. Our ability to understand is only limited by our vision – and I love it when vision is put in perspective by the ones being observed. Enjoy!

So-Called Millennial

I’m not surprised when a millennial is able to sum up a grand observation about our generation. The more I learn about, and write about my generation, the more I notice similar observations, and a sense of cohesion of attitude with my peers. But I am pleasantly surprised when someone from a generation ahead of us is able to “get” millennials. The recently published Forbes article Millennials Will Inherit the Earth by Michael Schulze (Senior Vice President, Retail, SAP) has great observations into millennials, as well as ways for older generations to understand, and relate with them.

Here are some great quotes from the article, and my response:

1. The generational disconnect. As leaders of industry, we need to seek ways to understand and engage them, to teach and to learn from them.”

Millennials are here to stay, we are large in numbers and we’re changing the country…

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Categories: American Culture, Anthropology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Corporate Culture, Culture, Emerging Workforce, Generation Y, Millennials, sociology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Variations On A Meme: Marriage Equality Enthusiasm

Not to belabor the point on marriage equality, but I am always a fan of meme-watching…especially when you start seeing all the “hacking” that goes into personalizing a meme to make it more meaningful….and even borrowing from other memes to do so.

In the case of the marriage equality debate that is happening in the supreme court right now, I have seen (along with anyone else who has internet access) the emergence of the red HRC Equality symbol as a show of solidarity….mostly as people’s Facebook profile pictures.  Just this morning I started noticing some variation as different subgroups and even brands seek to identify their support or further signify their unique perspective.

From nostalgia buffs, to sci-fi geeks to drag queens and bacon-loving-foodie-hipsters, there is widespread equality love out there and everyone wants to be heard! Even some brands are speaking out.

Here are some examples:

It’s good to see people bringing levity to such a serious issue.  But I suppose humor has always been one of those things that reminds us to stay focused without sapping our energy – so we can live through life’s challenges and continue the conversation.

Categories: American Culture, Anthropology, Art and culture, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Culture, Culturematic, Politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are Millennials prone to a “waste not, want not” mentality? Kind of like our (by our, I mean Gen X-ers) grandparents who went through the Great Depression? Does that mean my hoarder-like collection of jars might actually have some value?

So-Called Millennial

So, this happened today:

Over the last month or so, I’ve saved 17 glass jars.

Inspired by 100 Days of Real Food blog, I decided to start saving jars, because Lisa Leake recommends freezing food in glass containers instead of plastic. I made an effort to save an Adam’s Natural Peanut Butter jar, or marinara sauce jar here and there. Or so I thought.

I noticed that empty glass jars were starting to line empty spaces of my cabinets. Fearing I was becoming a hoarder, I decided to put these pretty little jars to use. I love the look of the jars in my pantry.

I am on the furthest end of the spectrum away from being a hoarder. I hate having anything extra. I even think people who are “innocent” pack-rats are actually harboring latent hoarding tendencies. The show “Hoarders” is my worst nightmare scenario, second to sinkholes.

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Categories: American Culture, Anthropology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Culture, Generation Y, Millennials, Participant Observation, sociology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marraige Equality: Trending Today and Influencing Tomorrow, One Facebook Photo At A Time?


Facebook is one of the best platforms for getting a meme out there – especially when you can adopt the symbol for a space-in-time social movement your profile picture and have it speak volumes.   Thanks to for explaining the phenomenon of the day and sharing the love!

Facebook Turns Red as SCOTUS Marriage Equality Hearings Begin
Marriage equality activists are protesting outside the Supreme Court Tuesday, as the nation’s highest court begins two days of hearings about two same-sex marriage laws.

As can be expected in this day and age, the demonstrations are not only taking place in Washington. Facebook has become a hotbed for marriage equality supporters, as profile pictures change to a red version of the Human Rights Campaign’s logo.

The HRC, the largest lobby group for LGBT rights, shared a pink and red version of its navy blue and gold equality symbol logo on Facebook Monday.

“Follow @HRC on Twitter and at for live-updates from the first day of at the Supreme Court hearings. Make sure you wear red to show your support for marriage equality. And make your Facebook profile red too!,” the post says.

The logo has been hard to miss on Facebook news feeds, especially after George Takei’s profile picture change garnered nearly 40,000 likes from his enormous fan base Tuesday morning.

“For those friends wondering, this special ‘red’ equality symbol signifies that marriage equality really is all about love. Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign for this effort. Please consider changing your profile today in support—esp if you are a straight ally,” Takei wrote.

The HRC has also started an online petition, which it hopes will gain significant traction.

Image courtesy of Human Rights Campaign; composite by Mashable

Categories: American Culture, Consumer Culture, Culture, Gay and Lesbian Lifestyles, Lesbians, Politics, pop culture, sociology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another look at the Omo tribes. Just beautiful cultural (literally) snapshot

Categories: Anthropology, Art and culture, Culture, Ethnography, Rituals, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting Federal Ruling about Gay Marraige In Context: A Look Back to Roe V. Wade and A Discussion of Human Opinion V. Social Science


One funny thing about being human is we tend to get pretty emotional about the topic of human rights.   Hilarious, right?  I mean, why do we have to take this stuff so personally?  😉   And that’s not the only funny thing about humans.  Another is, on the one hand – especially in America where we are all about our human rights – we want to be able to be free to make our own decisions and live life in a way that makes us happy.  On the other hand, we feel like there are some decisions that should be “over our heads” – like the right to kill, the right to steal, etc.  But then, we just can’t seem to get clear on which decisions belong to us as individuals and which belong to our governments. Then there is the holy elephant in the room, Batman!  Which decisions get left up to the higher powers?

The funny thing about being a social scientist is that, while on the one hand you are a human subject to all of the aforementioned predispositions on rights, you are a scientist beholden to objective observation of data and analysis of the meaning brought forth by that data.   So, for this said mad scientist, the topic of the social function of ruling-body decisions on human rights and the simultaneous functions of social debate and the political process, become a bit of a conundrum.

There are theories in sociology that propose basic rules for how society needs to work in order for it to, well work.  Conflict theory, which I have talked about before, says we need to be in a constant state of conflict or society will fall apart.  We need an “us” versus “them” at all times.  Labeling theory says we need to make sure those individuals who’s behavior disrupts social norms need to be primarily identified by those behaviors to serve as an example – and that when given our primary labels we tend to roll with them and live up to our “potential” one way or another, thus perpetuating the shining / or not-so-shining examples.  Structural functionalsm talks about the fact of  delicate and intentional interplay between social bodies, much like clockworks – that keeps society humming along.

So, as a socially liberal female homosexual who has some pretty distinct beliefs on what humans ought to have the right to, I am forced to consider the sociological implications of making federal rulings about them versus allowing states (smaller, “bite-sized” pockets of organized humans who’s likely share more in common due to the context of their proximity – meaning it’s more likely that the settlers of that area came from similar places and there is more likeliness of shared culture among people within that state than between those in that state and other people living across the country) to make those decisions individually and allow critical mass to eventually move in the right direction on its own.   PHEW….long sentence.


It’s a lot to chew on but all of these theories point to the necessity allowing society to work out its arguments.  And I think the discussion in today’s NY Times Article: Shadow of Roe V Wade Looms Over Ruling on Gay Marriage is a fascinating one.

It forces one to think that maybe a democratic, industrialized society requires a bit longer, drawn out political process to keep said society functioning efficiently and moving in the right direction.   That, perhaps, by cutting off the debate by enacting federal laws does more harm than good?  The context given in this article is that the federal law on Roe V. Wade legalizing abortion everywhere cut off the debate at a time when the conversation was just achieving a critical mass on a state by state level.  The result is that the country felt like they didn’t have a chance to really resolve the issue and thus the debate continued (and still continues) to rage on because people felt like they had their voice taken away from them.  Some wonder if the same thing will happen again if the conversation on Gay marriage is taken out of the hands of the states.

I have a human opinion and a scientific one.   As irony would dictate, they are at odds.   Am eager to hear how others who have the inclination toward a scientific or philosophical exploration of the topic as compared to their human opinion think / feel about this.

Categories: american History, Anthropology, conflict theory, Culture, labeling theory, Politics, Science, sociology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Survive A Bar Crawl


Every year for her birthday, one of the “girls in the group” has a ritual bar crawl. Even for those who don’t go in for the whole “sh@t show”, it’s a great way to get everyone together and catch up on the various exploits of our increasingly domesticity and-career-driven-lives. It’s also a great reason to start a twitter feed. You can follow this one on Twitter if you have the stomach for it as some psuedo-participant observation. 🙂

In any case, I thought it appropriate, in honor of our friend, to find some tips on how to get through the day (and tomorrow) with minimal damage.

Thanks to the folks at for the tips!

How to survive a pub crawl

We have another non work-sanctioned pub crawl tomorrow night (oh dear, my liver), which means I should be sleeping now to rest up for a late night – but we all know that’s not happening (see previous post), so I thought I’d compile some notes in preparation for tomorrow night’s hedonism.

Tips for surviving a pub crawl:

1. Eat first.
2. Establish the “buddy” system, i.e., “you hold my hair back for me while I puke, and I’ll hold yours.”
3. Never have more than one drink at one location (2-for-1 at Badlands to kick off the night would be considered a terrible idea).
4. No shots without a chaser.
5. For the love of all that is holy, do NOT say at any point during the night, “I’m not even drunk,” because someone will hand you a Long Island Iced Tea and you will drink it. And thus, the night for you will end.
6. No cameras. Unless YOU own it and control the rights to all images captured. Do NOT pose for pictures taken by anyone else.
7. Don’t even try to meet up with anyone or wait for them. Because while you wait, you’ll need a drink at all times, and you will inevitably break the one-drink-per-venue rule because people are flakes and who knows how long you could be waiting.
8. Somehow along the drunken trail, have some pizza. Grease helps to soak up booze, thus prolonging the evening.
9. NO RED WINE – you will get emotional or sleepy. In either scenario, the fun will end.
10. End the night with some dancing to work off the potential for hangover.
11. Deny everything tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Jenn!

Categories: Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Culture, Participant Observation, Rituals, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to “evolve” and try some knuckle-push-ups!

That's Funny...

The term ‘knuckle dragger’ colloquially describes a person who exhibits a lack of intelligence. That expression is used to evoke the imagery of a gorilla or chimpanzee as a lesser evolved form (I take issue with that generalization, but more on that later). Still, it is accurate to observe that gorillas do walk on their knuckles. The question is why?

That’s a two-part question. Why does an ape walk on all fours as opposed to standing upright? The short answer is because their bodies have evolved that way. Take a look.

92849-034-83081108Skeletally and muscularly, gorillas are built to move quadrupedally. If you want to read more about the specific ways that gorillas and humans differ, there’s an excellent post that addresses this question on here.

Fine, but why does a gorilla walk on it’s knuckles as opposed to it’s open hands? Again, it comes down to physical advantage…

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Categories: Anthropology, biological anthropology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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Being a popular kid isn't easy,you have to be cautious about every move of yours because you know that all eyes are on you.Not just the eyes that look up to you but also the eyes that love to see you in pain.You might have your own list of followers but with this list there exists the "popularity starved crowd" who wants to replace you.But when reality bites these morons and they're back to square one,hurt and angry with themselves they try to make you the victim of their moment of high adrenaline,just to make you suffer because you're better.They try to clean their head by ruining your perfect life.What's more is right then you realize that none of your "friends" are what they appear to be.You're broken,depressed .You feel the need to talk to someone of your own kind,someone who won't judge you and that's when you can find me at thepopularitébug,I promise to do anything and everything to help you out of your problem!Amen.

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