Some of you may have noticed the site’s new tagline. It was not with a shrug of indifference that we jettisoned the beloved bean-based blogging system. Yet an article of pristine cant was recently discovered in which one of its lines was found to be irresistible. This piece of dadaist anthropology can be found here. A few bolded excerpts follow:
(Franz Boas) became the first scholar to explore in a truly open and neutral manner how human social perceptions are formed
That would be this open and neutral scholar Boas.
Cultures do not exist in some absolute sense; each is but a model of reality.
Studies of the human genome leave no doubt that the genetic endowment of humanity is a single continuum. Race is a fiction.
A fiction that tends to kill people who fail to observe it.
All cultures share essentially the same mental acuity, the same raw genius. Whether this intellectual capacity and potential is exercised in stunning works of technological innovation, as has been the great historical achievement of the West, or through the untangling of the complex threads of memory inherent in a myth…it is a matter of choice and orientation, adaptive insights and cultural priorities.
One has to almost appreciate the courage required to pen such words. For historically, they would have been the leper’s bell of an unveiled con man or a gibbering lunatic. Every civilization has identical intellectual output. Some merely use it to place men on the moon, planes in the air, computers on the Internet, and ancient diseases in the history books; and some to tell stories around the campfire. You simply can’t say one civilization is any more accomplished than another. Each has its priorities, you see. As proof, have you ever heard a Westerner tell a good story? No, you haven’t. Thus complex threads remains tangled, QED.
The Victorian notion of the savage and the civilized, with European industrial society sitting proudly at the apex of a pyramid of advancement that widens at the base to the so-called primitives of the world, has been thoroughly discredited – indeed, scientifically ridiculed for the racial and colonial notion that it was, as relevant to our lives today as the belief of 19th-century clergymen that the Earth was but 6,000 years old.
Sadly knowledge of this discrediting hasn’t filtered down to the billion or so inhabitants of the world desperate to reside in these ridiculed colonial notions.
There is much more, though current blogging compensation offers insufficient inducement to capture it all. The point being is that the only objective realities in the continuum of the universe are that white people are evil and global change warming. What exists aside from that is simply a function of choice, orientation, and priorities.
And for those who subscribe to the blank slate, there is the blank wall: The Museum of Non-visible Art. Boas should have thought to advocate the latter–it would have been a funnier troll.