Re: how many bastards are there, anyway?

Lars Eighner (
3 Sep 1996 11:52:07 -0500

In our last episode <50hbdp$>,
Broadcast on alt.folklore.urban,sci.anthropology
The lovely and talented (Bryant) wrote:

>In article <>, Lars Eighner <> wrote:
>>In societies in which marriage is universal, marriage is purely a
>>property arrangement. Romance, if it happens, is expected to occur in
>>the bush. That people are put the yoke together doesn't mean
>>they are forming "long-term pair-bonds."
>Um, so if marriages don't represent arrangements of sexual exclusivity,
>why are trysts performed "in the bush" ??

I did not mean particularly clandestined. Of course everyone in a
small village knows what is going on.

>What happens in the cultures you have in mind when a husband finds out
>about the trysts? What cultures, in fact, are you describing?

He is delighted, especially if there is some prospect of offspring.
The biological father's family will almost certainly attempt to
ransom the child. Most of these societies are 1)chronically
underpopulated and 2) dependent upon a very labor-intensive
economy. The husband gets to keep the child or he gets the offerings
of the biological father's family. In either case, he will be
wealthier and the biological father's family will be poorer.

I say "he," but of course in a number of societies the husband
may be a woman. When her wife has children no one is especially
surprised, just as no one is especially surprise when the
household of an impotent man increases.

That you pose this question as you do shows that you have
not yet learned to remove the most salient of your cultural
biases when you read anthropological literature. Perhaps
you best leave it alone until you know what you are doing.

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