Re: Anthropological humor - Help!

karl h schwerin (schwerin@UNM.EDU)
Fri, 6 Oct 1995 15:59:30 -0600

On Tue, 3 Oct 1995, nordeco wrote:

> Hello,
> Could anyone help me with some examples of anthropological humor, like
> jokes about anthroplogy/anthropologists, punchlines, etc.
> Please reply on the anthro-l or directly to:
> Jens Sjoerslev
> NORDECO (Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology)
> Skindergade 23
> DK-1159 Copenhagen, Denmark
> E-mail:
> Fax: +45 33 91 90 32

I've been collecting anthropological humor for years. Some of it is
really great. However, most of what I have is cartoons, so hard to send
on the internet. Some of the best cartoons I can remember were put up by
grad students at UCAL-Berkeley when I was an undergrad.

However, see "Digging the Weans," by Robert Nathan. 1956. Harper's
Magazine. reprinted 1957, pp. 173-180 in The Year's Greatest
Science-Fiction and Fantasy, ed. by Judith Merrill. Along the same lines
is the rib-spliting MOTEL OF THE MYSTERIES.

>From a "Funky Winkerbean" comic some years ago:
"Define the following:
"(1.) Nuclear Family
"A nuclear family is a family in which there is very little

Reported in the local newspaper:

Some years ago, the Mescalero Apache tribe won a case against the state
that allowed them to dispense alcohol at the tribe's Inn of the Mountain
Gods resort in Lincoln County. And when Mescalero leader Wendell Chino
showed up at a legislative hearing this week, Sen. John Pinto, a Navajo
from Gallup, couldn't resist asking his fellow Native American whether
selling liquor had proved lucrative. He noted there are no liquor sales
on the Navajo Reservation.
Recounting what he said was an old tribal adage, China responded,
"Senator Pinto, The Navajos make rugs, the Pueblos make pottery ... and
the Mescaleros make money."

A widely used story in educational technology circles tellsof a national
panel of experts who convened to develop specifications for the next
generation of educational technology system hardware.
Following long sessions of intense debate and discussion, the panel
issued a list of recommendations for the system.
It should be portable and weigh only a few pounds so a child could
easily carry it home or to school, they recommended. It should be
durable enough to withstand being dropped; it should be easy to set up
and use under a wide range of environmental conditions.
It should have low power requirements; provide random access to a
large amount of information; provide high resolution color graphics
capability and high quality text in different kfonts; and the cost of the
system should be less than $50 per unit to make it widely available to
the educational community.
But after issuing the report, the experts were surprised to learn that
hardware already existed which met their lofty requirements. it was
abundantly available as an off-the-shelf item around the world. It had
been developed by technological innovater Johann Gutenberg. It is called
the book.

More later...

Karl Schwerin SnailMail: Dept. of Anthropology
Univ. of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131

Much charitable endeavor is motivated by an unconscious
desire to peer into lives that one is glad to be unable
to share. . . . . Edward Sapir