Vance Geiger (geiger@PEGASUS.CC.UCF.EDU)
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 20:14:18 -0500
As Dwight Read pointed out "McCreery has deftly pointed to the
essential issue" in the following post.
To assert that mystification is at work one has to assume a
third-party perspective from which it is claimed that something
else, something false, is going on, about which only that
perspective reveals the truth. But where, dear children of the
post-modern world, is the absolute frame of reference within
which such a claim is tenable?
The third party perspective that is inevitably alluded to in
assertions of mystification is supposed to be the "optimal" one
where people do what is in their best interests. If people are
not doing what is in their best interests but in someone elses
then they are supposed to be mystified. Bamboozled is the term I
As McReery pointed out the traditional view of comodification (at
least this is pretty much what I got from Marxist profs in
graduate school) or why people will buy things or services which
are supposed to have no real use value.
(1) Mass production of goods by doubly alienated workers who (2)
are deprived of ownership of the means of production, and (3)
prevented by the nature of their jobs from realizing the creative
potential innate in every human being, where (4) the goods in
question are fetishized and appear to possess intrinsic value,
while (5) concealing the social relations involved in their
production and (6) having their exchange value assessed in
abstract, monetized terms that (7) appear to have universal
value, but (8) through mystification distract attention from from
their use value, which is something else again.
Which brings me to a question. As Ralph Holloway pointed out we
have been less than successful in conveying certain kinds of
Well, I trust by now the NBC escapade on "The Mysterious Origins
of Man" aired at 7 pm EST was seen by all devoted
anthropologists. Ought to give us all a good clue to just how
successful we've been, as it took the combined sponsorship of
Kellog's Raisin Bran-Comet-JC Penney's-Hidden Valley-Lens
Crafters-Pontiac-and Chrysler/Plymouth to challenge our methods,
theories, and interpretations. Bottom line: I guess all those
pyramids, both New and Old World were built by hominids driving
brontosaur(es), with knowledge derived from the Atlantis folk,
now buried under Antartica. Heeeeeere comes Pat......
This appears to be especially true in Tennessee according to
recent posts. So then why is the Origins of Man kind of stuff a
good commodity? Why does it sell? Is it the conspiracy theory
behind it? Is it the ideas? Is it Moses, excuse me, Charlton
Heston? Why does it make a better commodity than evolution?
Consider, we teach in introductory classes that culture is
integrated. Yet in our own culture weinsist that there be a
seperation between religion, the state and science. Is this