Re: mckenna,david abrahms,ethnologies

Gerold Firl (
16 Feb 1995 12:49:29 -0800

In article <3hgkik$> (Xochi Zen) writes:
> Firstly, I've been reading Marvin Harris' _Our Kind_ and think it's
>wonderful. Though it could be more wonderful. Then again, it looks like it

My exposure to Harris has been minimal, but I really enjoy his approach. I
feel like his materialist analysis is extremely valuable.

Did you detect any deficiencies in _our kind_? Would you care to comment on

>Terence Mckenna. Erudite and engaging, but I'm not so sure how solid his
>anthropoligical musings are. Have any anthropologists here read Mckenna

Mckenna is fun, but a bit of a poser. He adopts this scientific persona
while speculating wildly, with no apparent consideration of alternatives to
his pet theory. For example, in _food of the gods_, he suggests that
psychedelic mushrooms were instrumental in the development of human
intelligence and culture; there do seem to be some suggestions that
psychedelic soma has been significant, but mckenna way overstates his case.
You might check-out Gordon Wassoon (sp?) for a discussion of the role of
the mushroom in central american cultures.

> I would like some introductory texts on linguistics. Somehow, I've
>managed to go through 4 years of college without really learning anything
>about chomsky et al. Preferably a text that is engaging rather than overly
>dry and theoretical. I want solid theory, but I also want to be tittilated.

I really enjoyed trudgehills _sociolinguistics_, but I am not at all
familiar with the literature. It doesn't discuss theories of language
acquisition, ala chomsky, but rather looks at the relationship between
language, culture, and the social implications of language differences for
the people who use them.

> Lastly, have any ethnographies been written about the following
> Paranormalists

I've seen a book called _how we know what isn't so_ which discusses
paranormalists and some of the attempts to scientifically study the
phenomena, with particular attention to those which result in positive
findings. Pretty good, with a strong debunking slant.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf