in defense of great men

Tue, 14 Dec 1993 13:56:37 CST

I see yet another McGill student has hurried to defend the
honor of Roger Keesing (while Taussig's minions bash it out
with his detractors too). Let me rephrase my earlier teasing
comment which was made of anthropological biographers, and
not RMK in particular: Roger Keesing found profit and
good work in turning over his profits to some of the Kwaio.
NOw is this better?
What I am really interested to note is that Roger's
defenders both have argued his regard for the Kwaio is
demonstrated by the fact that he has become a Kwaio
ADALO (i.e. ancestral ghost). Roger's remains are now
curated at an ancestral shrine by some of his ex-informants
and their families. But be careful here. You guys need
to read Obeyesekere on Cook and the European myth model
in which us Europe sorts like to turn ourselves into
savage gods. Who believes that James Cook was the god
Lono--the Hawaiians or the English? And who believes that
Roger is the Kwaio ancestral spirit? The myth=model
lives on in this apotheosis of Keesing. And I too have
sat in RMK's intro anthro courses. And you no doubt noted
some of the contradictions that I did: RMK burned to be
apotheosized into a Kwaio god; but at the same time he would
have condemned those Kwaio for "celestialization" and
religious mystification. Go figure. Lamont Lindstrom, T-town