Re: Bastards--long

Lars Eighner (
5 Sep 1996 01:55:06 -0500

alt.folklore.urban trimmed from follow-ups.

In our last episode <50l3oj$>,
Broadcast on alt.folklore.urban,sci.anthropology
The lovely and talented (Bryant) wrote:

>In article <>, Lars Eighner <> wrote:
>>The lovely and talented (Bryant) wrote:
>>>I wonder if there are any ecological parameters that correlate with the
>>>practice, which might be compared to those encountered by the North
>>>American Sioux, who also practiced female/female marriage.
>>Wrong question.
>>The question is: what accounts for the absence of female-female
>>marriage in cultures where it is absent?
>Forgive me, but how is that any different than the question I posed above?

It is as if someone who comes from a culture in which
bathing in the river on Tuesdays is tabu. He visits
the Foobars and discovers that the Foobars bathe on
Tuesdays without qualm. He makes a mental note of this.
He visits the Frisbees, the F'kowwee, the Snafus, and
the Grafitto. They all refrain from bathing on Tuesdays
and he thinks nothing of it. Then he comes to the
Fnords and the Blimps and not only do they bathe on
Tuesdays, but also the Blimps have made bathing a sacred
ritual of bathing on every day of the week including Tuesdays.

Now he forms his question: Why do the Foobars, the Fnords, and
the Blimps permit bathing on Tuesday? What do they have in
common that makes them do so? What ecological
parameters correlate with the practice?"

It is, to his mind, entirely up to the Foobars, the Fnords,
and the Blimps to explain themselves.

This is obviously not the same question as: "How come my
people, the Frisbees, the F'kowwee, the Snafus, the
Grafitto all forbid bathing on Tuesdays?"

This is not the same question as if he had ask "Why do
we forbid bathing on Tuesdays?"

If he asks a Fnordian, "Why do you allow bathing on
Tuesday?" the response is very likely to be "Why not?"

>>This is what I mean by pointing out the bias inherent in your
>>questions. Apparently your culture is the norm and it is
>>up to those that differ to explain themselves.
>Surely you're not arguing that female/female marriage is the
>species-typical norm (?).

Of course female-female is not the modal form of pair bonding in any
human group I know of (but is in some species). But that it may be
within the normal range of variation for human beings does seem to me
entirely possible, and in the abscence of conclusive evidence
one way or the other, the presumption of the contrary is at best
premature and at worst prejudicial.
>Since the question is substantively identical to the one I posed, I think
>you less revealed my "inherent bias" than your silly preoccupation. :)

PS: Smilies are tabu in a.f.u. Please explain what ecological factors
exist in sci.anthro that allow them.

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