Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2015

Ruins of the past

I think it is useful just to make open the fact that the bulk of both Emotional Life of Nations and Origins of War in Child Abuse are averse, grotesque, offensive, to a good number of psychohistorians. One now knows that if one actually likes these books, hasn’t never though to shy away from them, exactly where one stands. One had been wondering, hearing discussions of changing … of improving childrearing through time, if the full story of what this means is being kept in clear view; or if the matter can only be discussed and explored at some remove ... as if if one actually had to write of possessed mothers seeing demons in their "bad" children and rejecting them only out of that, the game would be up, and all of a sudden the discourse on the matter would change so that Mother is exonerated, and the child, at fault. One would be wondering if the whole subject is being manoeuvred not just to suit the academic temper, but so that if one's own mother espied what you were …

Time for the Anthropology take-down?

I've argued that the implications of Steven Pinker's “Better Angels” looks to be that there is little reason anthropology and Medieval Studies should continue to exist. This was an exaggeration. He posits all the peoples anthropologists tend to study, as well as the entire medieval period, as “id,” which means they had the worst table manners you could possibly imagine, they were gross ... I mean, really, really gross, and about a hundred time more likely to stab a neighbour over a trivial matter as you, civilized reader. But even though these people were to him not making use of the capacity of the brain to still these impulses, they nevertheless represent a manner in which even contemporaries might slip back to if for some reason they let their current focus on reason slip, so in that sense they are still relevant to today. They are part of what ostensibly remains innate about us, part of something Pinker fears, so he allows the same room to study them as he does chimps, wh…

Reflecting on anthropologist, Bambi Chapin

I was wondering what you guys made of Bambi Chapin's "Reflecting on how we know dreamwork and fieldwork in Siri Lanka," in March 2014, Clio's Psyche. She says that the "miracle" people she was working with, who ostensibly were able to make use of a form of childrearing -- i.e. "giving in" -- that she argues surely leads to spoiled, selfish brats in her own culture, to instead produce older children who were respectful and self-denying, were in fact NOT up do anything we might soon want to emulate. She says she is coming to realize that the reason these children end up becoming, not tyrants, but rather those who so thoughtfully don't bother anyone with their needs, is because they have learned if they do end up becoming "a bother," they overwhelm their mothers, and end up feeling rejected/abandoned by them: they stop asking, that is, because they're scared stiff of the repercussions: loss of everything that really matters to the …

Dispatches ... #5

Dispatches ... #4

My very worst day of the year -- Mother's Day

As a mother-hater, my very worst day of the year is Mother's Day. It's awful: all these people paying homage to the women we mother-haters hate the most! So what we've taken to doing is getting together into a maternal cave, and reading things we've written that are so dripping in mother-hate, it's easy for us to imagine it permeating the uterus cave, going through the body public, and causing each and every one of them to die off. 
A contribution will be made tomorrow by my friend, Vanessa Vargas-Cooper, who's actually just posted it at the feminist site Jezebel; it's great, of course, so if you're a mother-hater too, please feel free to read: a Toast to all the Brave Kids Who Broke Up with their Toxic Mothers. 
I'll be reading some of the things I've written for the Clio's History discussion site. I'm just going to pick a couple at random, as I can't remember a single one where I wasn't fuming at mothers while I wrote.  

Avengers: Age of Ultron: Binding ourselves up in strings

Aliens aren't the only things that threaten the Avengers. By their foes, and by their own members, we hear that they are plagued by many potentially disabling if not deadly things, many impediments, many "strings" — they may have "weak"members, some of them may be "monsters," they may lack cohesion. None of these things are actually problems for the Avengers — more like afflictions they almost gladly take on because each one can be turned on its head, and how. Hydra leader, Strucker, identifies the group as having "weak" members, but Hawkeye's being taken down by a laser shot ends up being more a plot device — it introduces us to the skin surgeon, Dr. Helen Cho, who'll help fabricate the new Avenger member, Vision — than any showing-up of an Avenger weak spot. We remember in the last film he effectively was Loki's own version of an "enhanced" — the key recruit on the evil side — and throughout this film his “bow and ar…