Yesterday I spent an afternoon with Joy and Mike and their daughter (my wife) and son and his wife. We were having a get-together to share some Korean delicacies sent as a gift from the Son's in-laws and to celebrate the Birthday of Joy's mother who passed a few years ago. My wife often fondly … Continue reading Joy And Mike’s Place: An Ethnographic Southern Comfort Snapshot
A timely anthropological piece to ameliorate my mid life crisis of consumption-conscience. Now there’s a mouthful. And here’s a mouthful of social-science objectivity.
The purpose of a human is to adapt and survive in their surroundings. I agree with Jared Diamond’s theory about social inequality in that the reason that some people thrive while others survive is because of the resources around them. In a place where there are a higher yield of resources, these people will thrive and grow exponentially while in other cultures with less raw materials to work with will spend all of their time trying to survive. This does not mean that one culture is better than another, just that they have adapted differently to their surroundings. Three main resources that allowed other cultures to adapt better than others are fertile lands, the domestication of plants, and the domestication of animals. Two cultures that are easily comparable in these regards are Ancient Egypt and the !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert.
Diamond states that the reason that some cultures…
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A stunning final visit to the Omo Valley….
The Hamar (or Hamer) were the fourth and last tribe we visited on my trip to the Lower Omo Valley. One of the largest tribal groups in the region (their number is estimated to be about 20,000), the Hamar is a peaceful and friendly tribe. As with the other tribes of the area, the Hamar’s life centers on cattle and goats. But the Hamar also farm and they barter their surplus livestock and produce at the weekly markets in neighboring small towns. The Hamar (as well as the Kara although they practice it a little differently) have a very distinctive ritual, a bull-jumping ceremony as a rite of passage for young men. But more on this later.
Visiting the Hamar tribe was not easy for us. It was at least a 3 hours ride from our camp to Turmi, where a weekly market was held, and when there were roads…
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This fascinating ethnographic piece in the New York Times Style section got me thinking today. If you live in an urban center or watch Portlandia then you know what I am talking about. Traditionally speaking, the gentrification of urban neighborhoods has been leaving young, white creative professionals with the blood on their hands...pushing the lower … Continue reading “Creating Hipsturbia”: Is Gentrification Pushing Out The Creative Class?
My father was a second generation American: born to native New Yorkers in 1934. A swing generation baby, he grew up at an interesting time in the history of New York and our now waning industrial economy, he wouldn't be able to afford a Baby Trend Expedition-Jogger-Stroller back then. In about two and a half … Continue reading A Jewish American New York Story: Swinging Into Modern Times
Perhaps my favorite outing (aside from hanging with the old gals at the pool) was the trip I took with my mother and two of her "snowbird" friends to the bi-annual flea market at the local senior center. One thing I loved about this flea market was its almost entirely contextual nature. What I mean … Continue reading A Visit To Colony Point Part 3: The Flea Market Excavation
What do you fill your home with when you don't have a lot of stuff but have a lot of memories? Here is the "dig" that shows you one retired Jewish couple's priorities and perhaps reflects more than just themselves. From cruising memories to grandkids to the music of an era and keeping up with … Continue reading A Visit to Colony Point Part 2: Artifacts of A Life Being Lived
I thought in honor of my weekend visit to the land where the former denizens of the great Jewish Northeast now preserve themselves and their culture with sunscreen and air conditioning in south Florida, I would share some ethnographic documentation. The subjects: my parents. Representative of a cultural collective: I would say as well as … Continue reading A Visit To Colony Point Part 1: Breakfast With Sandy
In the spirit of Thanksgiving's connection to the Native Americans (If you recall from the stories of the pilgrims, they helped us find / grow food so we wouldn't die when our pasty white ancestors were fresh off the boat) and as inspired by my vacation travels, I thought I would drop a little knowledge. … Continue reading Some Pre-Thanksgiving Native American Education: The Creek Indians
Today is my last day home alone with the dog and I decided that not only was i not in the mood to make breakfast, but I was also not in the mood to "fuss" about taking a long drive to get "the perfect bagel" - as was my previous aspiration until i woke up … Continue reading A Few Notches Below Brunch: Sunday At The Waffle House