John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 07:54:57 JST

Hugh Jarvis writes that Anthro-L's mandate is broad to enough to cover
"government versus ethnic
minority troubles in Chiapas, but not really earthquake related angst
from Kobe." I don't mind including the former, but what, pray tell, are the
grounds for excluding the latter. If the list is used purely to vent
feelings or political opinions that is, I think, unfortunate. But why
responses (governmental, ecological, psychological, whatever) to a war
in Mexico should be grist for the anthros mill while responses (governmental,
ecological, psychological) whatever to an earthquake in Japan are not
is hard to fathom. The anthroplogy isn't in the event. It's in the
understandings that anthropologists do or don't bring to it.

Were I in a flaming mood, I would wonder about the politics/prejudice/racism
behind a fascile dismissal of misfortune afflicting those little, yellow,
Japan bastards who have had the temerity to get richer than we are
combined with a sentimental concern for the miseries of the little brown
brothers in Mexico. Do anthros, for all our talk about humanity, only
care about those we are in a position to condescend to?

Note, I don't attribute these opinions to Hugh. I read them between his
lines...which seems to be a fairly common tactic these days...When is it
justified? When is it not? Is the linguist inferring a grammatical structure
of which his informants' are unaware, or an analyst in pursuit of repression,
fundamentally different from someone fighting with another who says "I
heard that! You meant XXXX and you can't tell me any different!" Now, that's
an interesting puzzle.

John McCreery