Emily Martin

Emily Martin might have found this article interesting, I hope you do.



In an effort to show the differences better marked and unmarked Martin explored the nature of the language used to describe health systems within them and the implications inherent in any negative or disruptively descriptive language.


“It’s indicative of the dangerous, anti-abortion extremist mindset: Reiterating the terms “fertilization” and “postfertilization” and “probable fertilization age” emphasize the fetus while further removing the woman from the law. Acknowledging gestational age, two weeks prior to fertilization, would mean acknowledging that there is someone else involved in an abortion—the woman, whose body has been existing, functioning and preparing for gestation even before the fetus was conceived.” (Lauren Barbato, Ms Magazine)


Are we talking about the fetus and the male creative act here in these laws while ignoring and subverting the woman’s role in this act.  Who do the writers of these laws expect to track the cycles of these baby making devises anyway?  I will use my little Amelia as an example.  It is no uncommon for a nursing mother to not have a cycle, for extended periods of time, often until the baby is weaned or at least eating the bulk of it nutrition from other sources.  Amelia as my longest term pregnancy was estimated at 38 weeks.  The estimation comes in as under these laws her fertilization  age would have to have been counted at 96 weeks.  Why instead of moving forward in science and social growth are the leaders of our society attempting to subvert half the population in a war of words and definitions.


Would this be the case if men could have abortions? I do not mean inflict an abortion on a woman’s body but legally severe their ties as a progenitor.


Buffy and Faith Binary Opposition

Joss Whedon used a structuralism format using binary opposition to create conflict between two slayers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The storylines of Buffy and Faith are completely opposite from each other. In Buffy’s life she has her mother and her sister (in later seasons), her friends that help her fight vampires, and her watcher. Faith doesn’t have any family or friends around her. She watched her watcher die. How both girls view power is very different Faith believes that she is above human laws while Buffy believes that slayers should follow human laws. Buffy’s power comes from the obligation of her duty of being a slayer. She wants to use her power to help people. Faith gets her power from anger and she wants to prove that she is worth something.

This reflects Levi-Strause’s binary opposition because each characteristic that Buffy has Faith has the complete opposite of.  The character Faith was created to challenge Buffy’s belief of power. The way Joss Whedon did that was to make a character that reflected all of what Buffy was not.


New post Postmodernism

From: Making Anthropology Public [donotreply@wordpress.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 2:28 PM
Subject: [New post] Postmodernism

New post on Making Anthropology Public


by TheAnthroGeek

A fellow blogger write a great description of the importance of this piece of art here:

Rene Magritte‘s piece, which translates to, “This is not a pipe.” No, in fact, it is a picture of a pipe. It’s not the actual thing. Magritte’s piece (which was actually done decades before Warhol) illustrates what I believe Warhol was trying to convey with nearly all of his art. Warhol was trying to tell us that we were not looking at whatever was the subject of his pieces, but rather, a representation of them. It’s almost as if Warhol was channeling Magritte through his art, though until I made that realization, I had never heard of a connection between the two artists before.


The Postmodern movement in anthropology started in the 1960s. The main issue Postmodernist anthropologist have with ethnographies are that they are open to bias and subjectivity. They argue that ethnographies are not actually science and shouldn’t be. Postmodernists want to emphasize the opinions of those people being studied and believe that anthropologists should take part in cultural activities to gain a sense of how those cultures operate. Also Postmodernists want ethnographies to be available to everyone, specifically those being studied.

“anthropological writings are themselves interpretations, and second and third ones to boot” -Clifford Geertz

Putting a stop to the scientific method.

Vincent Crapanzano – Hermes Dilemma: The Masking of Subversion in Ethnographic Description

Vincent Crapanzano argues that there are problems with being an ethnographer and writing ethnographies. Problem number one is that the moment you start a study as an ethnographer you have already created boundaries you cannot pass in your ethnography simply because you ARE an outsider. Problem number two is that the ethnographer must make what is foreign to him/her known and yet still keep it foreign. Problem number three the ethnographer must be able to not lie and at times it not divulge the whole truth.

Renato Rosaldo – Grief and a Headhunter

Renato Rosaldo and his wife Michelle spent 30 months studying the Ilongots in Manila, Philippines, whose people numbered 3,500 and covered an area of 90 miles in the northeast uplands. While studying these people he came across a ritual known as headhunting (a ritual in which following the loss of a close family member, a man becomes enraged and cannot find relief from said rage until he has fulfilled the ritual of cutting off a head and discarding it, as to discard his rage), for which he could not really grasp the concept as to why one would partake in such a ritual. When he asked the Ilongots they replied in a brief statement,

“rage born in grief, impels him to kill his fellow human beings.”

It wasn’t until the author himself was faced with the loss of a close loved one that he able to begin understanding the feelings of bereavement that the Ilongots were faced with. Only then was he able to truly understand their ritual of headhunting.

The focus of ethnographies tend to be purely on ritual and completely miss context and texture because too often the observer is trying to be completely unbiased and in return they miss the significance of the cultural event.

“Even when knowledgeable, sensitive, fluent in the language, and able to move easily in an alien culture, good ethnographers still have their limits, and their analysis are incomplete.”

Rosaldo, only through his experience with bereavement, was able to adequately explain the headhunter’s ritual in an understandable manor.

“My use of personal experience serves as a vehicle for making the quality and intensity of the rage in Ilongot grief more readily accessible to readers than certain more detached models of composition.”

Roy D’Andrade – Moral Models in Anthropology

Moral Models speaks on the attacks on the anthropological standpoints through time. By discussing the differing views within the profession it seeks to find the appropriate way to approach the topic of ethnographies. The agenda be

“that anthropology be transformed from a discipline based upon an objective model of the world to a discipline based upon a moral model of the world” where “model” means “a set of cognitive elements used to understand and reason about something” and “Moral” refers to “primary purpose of this model, which is to identify what is good and what is bad and to allocate reward and punishment.”

TheAnthroGeek | April 14, 2012 at 11:28 am | Categories: Post-Modernism | URL: http://wp.me/pb2eT-cr

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Too Much Romanticizing

I find the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history to be somewhat too storied to be considered history. In many novels and stories the actual people who were involved in this period of time were described in as much mysticism as Greek heroes and gods. Some on these characters are surrounded in myth by how they used magic and were invulnerable due to divine protection. Most would readily argue nowadays that such things as weather control and ghost armies don’t exist in history. The truth I can pick out from this era is the reason the three states were warring. The fall of the Han Dynasty meant the royal family and the military leaders where in disarray as well as pursuit of the throne. The Shu, Wu, and Wei factions came about from the lack of lineage of the previous dynasty. From the Levi-Strauss perspective, the struggle for power could have came about simply from kinships. It was basically cousins and the lead general of the previous dynasty that were vying for the chance to rule. It really didn’t matter the outcome or what magic happened during the process but the underlying fact of lineage in alliances in history. The Shu were defeated by Wei and then the remnants of Shu allied itself with Wu to defeat Wei. The alliances were created through marriages not meant for affection but the alliances it created to strengthen the whole. The whole divine selection of an emperor can be reduced to the struggles of the most resourceful and influential individual.      


Lost Girl, Changeling’s Champion, secrets, self discovery, and abandonment.

Lost Girl a story about a fey child raised in the human world without the benefit of knowing what she is, how to control it, and who she is.  A world of secrets within secrets, a hidden fey world within and kept from the human one, secrets within friend groups and alliances that are not as honest or secure in this dangerous world as they seem to be.  Bo much fight through unknown territory to find herself and a place she belongs.

Changeling’s Champion (as it is not so likely my classmates have read this, I will bring a few copies tomorrow) is a story about Holly a fey child stolen from her family and soul-mate at her birth by the Unseleighe court to unseat the reign of the man she would marry.  She is sent into the human world and guarded over by Prince Ari’s enemies. He struggles with his own identity, destiny, political world, and finding the woman who can make him feel whole again.

In both stories the main characters must chose to challenge the easy path, they must solve riddles and often find themselves faced with deceit and betrayal on the part of their enemies and in some cases closest friends.  Both must fight on in the face of a overwhelming sense of abandonment and lack of identity.  In both of these stories the humans, while effected by the actions of the Fey world,  knows nothing of the machinations that actually control their world. Bo and Ari must fight also against their own natures to win their truth.

Do these stories resonate with modern United States cultures because of a loss of belonging, the idea that you can be true to yourself or get ahead, suppression of self interest, and an underlying belief that the world is controlled by forces beyond the control of the ordinary human? I will grant of course that most Americans do not necessarily believe that there is a secret fey ruled order organizing their world, but at the same time the sense of disenfranchisement and feeling that the real power to change the world in not in the hands of the ‘average Joe’ is very pervasive.  Here are powerful champions struggling to find their place in the world.  Levi-Strauss suggests that the stories of a culture reveal the truth of the culture.


Pop “tarts”, Marx and Other artists

Good musicians also fall into this trap of sex sells and marketing.  Pop “tarts” are performers – the whole persona is a creation – regardless of gender but perhaps more limiting for females. 

I blame the Monkeys.  It worked then and it works now, Disney has latched on the idea of taking a person and making them a star.  The Monkeys were a put together band/tv show, with most of the ‘faces’ not even capable of playing their part in the ‘band.’ Within the tv show you met them, followed their antics, and perhaps even identified with them.  Disney is making a habit of taking talented young people and turning them into virtuous mega stars, when they are too old (does any 23 year old really enjoy pretending to be a early teenager, or is no longer believable as one) they are faced with the challenge of making a career out of their no longer supported tween image.  Many have been told they need to compromise their good girl image in order to have any shot at a further career. After all, the image worked for Madonna (who auditioned for the role, I’ll add.) Some are likely rebelling against the strict supervision they have endured from their management and their fans. A little outrageous is good, a lot gets them more attention, and very quickly their value is completely linked to the ideal of sex.  The music industry and society in general created the band or artist and then created their rise and subsequent fall. Some stars break away from this often leaving the music industry behind, others stay and find a fighting balance between interesting outrageous that sells and completely self-destructive behavior, and still others grace the screens of the tabloid rags for years in their ever widening spiral of destruction and disgrace, all while selling copy.  This struggle between the managers and the artists with ever more devastating consequences for only the artist (their managers, record labels, and promoters,   will continue making money off them after their fiery deaths) is a Marxist struggle between the workers and the management.  Much like in the factory the “star” is replaceable after destruction, Brittney to Hannah, Lindsey to Miranda.

I don’t mean to say that musicians or artists don’t make incredibly poor choices on their own, Van Gogh’s ear comes to mind, but rather in the the case of those who end up being labeled POP, those who are created not discovered, these choices seems to be more dramatic and is a full blown trope within our society.  Perhaps the enculturation needed to make someone wholly into someone else, is partially to blame. Perhaps it is the willingness of fans and onlookers to both deify and then delight in the destruction of the self-created deity. Perhaps the strength of self needed to struggle and survive before discovery serve to insulate the rock star from the pressures placed on the “pop tart” …


A Rock God or a Pop Tart?

It’s interesting to have a conversation with anyone about music. To some people all the members of Led Zeppelin were THE rock gods of the 70’s while to another group of people Zep was garbage and The Beatles were THE rock gods (they weren’t) of the same period. This is a never ending mutual disagreement that is inevitable between people. From a cognitive approach, every culture has it’s own system for classifying objects, events, or behavior. In our culture today there is such a huge variety of music, and if you really get down to the nitty gritty the identified genres are nearly infinite. This variety in music has largely risen from the influence of outside cultures on our own, now very diverse, culture.

As I said, every person’s music preference is going to be somewhat different, but for the most part there are different groups who generally have a taste for the same types of music. These people in this group will have been inundated into it via a few particular channels; these channels of exposure are most likely going to be family, peers, or popular media. Once they have been introduced to a particular song or band, they will begin to explore similar types of music. Now you arrive at the subgroup for this type of music, sometimes this can even lead into an actual subculture, in which one develops a certain lifestyle based on or around the music. One good example of this is the “goth” subculture that was prevalent, and still is around to a much lesser extent, a few years ago. This immersion into the music, the lifestyle, and subsequent group/subculture will change the way in which one classifies things, in particular for this topic the music itself.

For example, some of my favorite music to listen to currently is The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, and the Black Keys. Obviously very different groups but at the same time all have some similarities. All the members of these groups (with the exception of Meg White, the White Stripes drummer who is a poor excuse for a percussionist) are extremely talented musicians, they all have distinct blues and classic rock influences, and have a good variety of different types of new rock music. On the other hand, one of my good friends is all about Nickelback, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown etc. all of whom I consider to be the rock music equivelant of the Pop Tarts. He argues that because their music is super catchy (because they typically just follow a normal 3 chord progression..), it’s all similar (why is this a good thing again?), and “they’re just badass dudes.” So to my friend, he classifies these bands as good for exactly the reason I classify them as bad. How does this work? Each of us have different associations with what is good music. For me it’s all about the musical talent, it’s about the ability to do things outside of what is normal, it’s about doing what sounds good and not really worrying about what other people think; that is how I classify and organize in my mind what is good music and what isn’t and how I determine whether someone should be considered on the level of “rock god” or, like Nickelback, a Pop Tart.