Re: Cross about Fabian comment - An archaeo comment

Sean C. Hess (hess@VANCOUVER.WSU.EDU)
Mon, 4 Apr 1994 07:08:19 -0700

Dear fellow anthropologists,

On Sun, 3 Apr 1994, Willard Brooks wrote:

> Reading and converstion are dying arts in this country (America).
> Most people think that Geertz is an especially gifted writer, it is
> strange to think that you find him difficult.
> The only people who complain that a comprehensible work is difficult are
> those that cannot understand it. Therefore complaint brings shame on
> the complainer. Perhaps you should redirect your complaints toward the
> educational system which produced your reading difficulty.


> Are your complaints not a little like a mountain climber complaining that a
> hike is too steep?
> I find archaeology to be as dry as a bone. But I do not advocate
> that it be abolished.

The above text (without the editorial comment) were sent to me by
Willard Brooks, who I seem to have personally offended. I never intended
that my remarks be taken as an ad hominem attack on Mr. Brooks.
Perhaps I came onto the Fabian thread too late to understand Mr. Brooks'

In any case, I am not a typical member of the 1990s therapy generation,
and I will not blame my lack of understanding on the educational system
that produced me. Preferring to trust myself, I call it like I see it.
In this case, Mr. Brooks is calling me a "ninny," but he appears to like
to use a lot of words to do it.

Like Mr. Brooks, I find much of archaeology boring. As I said in my
original post, I'd like to find a new background for interpretation that
is richer in meaning and would provide Mr. Brooks with more entertainment
value. Nevertheless, certain basic facts of soil, water, and plants must
be covered in archaeological reports before we can get on with the good
stuff. By borrowing from geologists and soil scientists, we have made a
good start at getting at these facts, but I still contend that much of
the work produced by socio-cultural theorists is irrelevant to
the work that archaeologists do and makes it difficult for us to get to
the more entertaining good stuff. Please, Mr. Brooks, educate this poor
sod buster in a language he can understand, and I will grow you a crop of
new data.

Sean "I can't type more 'cuz I have a field project coming up" Hess