Part 3—A wide range of societal groups: In 1968, Napoleon Chagnon spoiled everything with his best-selling book, Yanomamo: The Fierce People.

Until that time, Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa had been the best-selling work of anthropology in the history of the world. (Unless you count Peyton Place.) At the tender age of 23, Mead had sailed off to Samoa. Later, in her famous book, she described the goal of her research:

"I have tried to answer the question which sent me to Samoa: Are the disturbances which vex our adolescents due to the nature of adolescence itself or to the civilization? Under different conditions does adolescence present a different picture?”

We’ll admit it. During Mead’s second life on earth, we never tired of her tales about the sexual practices of Samoan teens during this untrammeled period. But Mead would insist that we attend her key point about the adolescence of those “primitive” youth (her term).

According to the foremost authority on Mead’s career, “she concluded that the passage from childhood to adulthood (adolescence) in Samoa was a smooth transition and not marked by the emotional or psychological distress, anxiety, or confusion seen in the United States.” Why did Samoan teens enjoy this untroubled passage? Incomparably, “Mead concluded that this was due to the Samoan girl's belonging to a stable, mono-cultural society…The Samoan girl was not pressured to choose from among a variety of conflicting values, as was the American girl.”

Samoan girls of the 1920s were getting off easy, Mead found. Brilliant tongue planted firmly in cheek, Mead described the conflicts confronting American teens of this period:
MEAD (1928): A girl's father may be a Presbyterian, an imperialist, a vegetarian, a teetotaler, with a strong literary preference for Edmund Burke, a believer in the open shop and a high tariff, who believes that women's place is in the home, that young girls should wear corsets, not roll their stockings, not smoke, nor go riding with young men in the evening. But her mother's father may be a Low Episcopalian, a believer in high living, a strong advocate of States' Rights and the Monroe Doctrine, who reads Rabelais, likes to go to musical shows and horse races. Her aunt is an agnostic, an ardent advocate of women's rights, an internationalist who rests all her hopes on Esperanto, is devoted to Bernard Shaw, and spends her spare time in campaigns of anti-vivisection. Her elder brother, whom she admires exceedingly, has just spent two years at Oxford. He is an Anglo-Catholic, an enthusiast concerning all things medieval, writes mystical poetry, reads Chesterton, and means to devote his life to seeking for the lost secret of medieval stained glass. Her mother's younger brother is an engineer, a strict materialist, who never recovered from reading Haeckel in his youth; he scorns art, believes that science will save the world, scoffs at everything that was said and thought before the nineteenth century, and ruins his health by experiments in the scientific elimination of sleep. Her mother is of a quietistic frame of mind, very much interested in Indian philosophy, a pacifist, a strict non-participator in life, who in spite of her daughter's devotion to her will not make any move to enlist her enthusiasms. And this may be within the girl's own household. Add to it the groups represented, defended, advocated by her friends, her teachers, and the books which she reads by accident, and the list of possible enthusiasms, of suggested allegiances, incompatible with one another, becomes appalling.
During her recent return to the earth, Mead admitted that very few modern teens have aunts who “rest all their hopes on Esperanto” or uncles “who never recovered from reading Haeckel.” But she demanded that we attend her key point: Even in the 1920s, American children were being raised within a complex, varied culture.

During her recent return to earth, she despaired at the way we modern “liberals” seemed to be handling this key fact of life.

How can we put this? Mead tended to see her successor liberals as yahoos, yokels, hayseeds, rubes, bumpkins, chawbacons—even hayseeds! At occasional moments of high despair, she even wondered if our limbic brains were working correctly! She marveled at the tendency of her successor liberals to lord it over other groups within our varied society. In her final act before returning to the Elysian Fields, she pointed to the headline of this recent piece at Salon:
SALON HEADLINE: Can liberals cure stupidity?
One of the greatest obstacles to progressive causes is how ignorant Americans are about them
“Can liberals cure stupidity?” Professor Mead was so upset by that banner that her senses seemed to shut down. For at least the next hour, she listened to her 1959 debut album for Folkways (FW07354), seeming to have retreated into a rock-hard Samoan “conch” shell.

“Can liberals cure stupidity!” The headline which incurred Mead’s wrath wasn’t the fault of our old semi-pal Tom Schaller, atop whose piece the banner was strung. Schaller had written a largely sensible piece about the misinformation which suffuses our political culture. Presumably, the headline came from a fiery liberal editor.

But in that headline, Mead saw the parochialism she often found among her successor liberals. And she challenged us about one claim by our semi-pal himself:
SCHALLER (6/5/12): [T]o President Obama’s great chagrin and partially resulting from his own communication failures, Americans remain very confused about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act: what it does and doesn’t do, when certain provisions kick in, what the law will cost, and so on. Again, it’s hard to square the circle of a public evenly divided on the legislation overall despite the fact a plurality if not majority of polled respondents support every major provision of ACA except the very unpopular individual mandate. Unless the mandate is so damning in the public’s mind that it ruins an otherwise acceptable bill, one of two things must be true: Either Americans oppose this law despite supporting all but one of its provisions, or they are just so completely in the dark about it they oppose it as a matter of reflex. (If the latter, the burden falls on the Obama administration and other proponents to explain and clarify what the legislation does and doesn’t do.)

As for the 2003 Iraq invasion, the most significant security policy decision since Vietnam? Long after the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report and as late as 2007, more than 40 percent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, as did a startling 85 percent of military members fighting on the ground in Iraq. The consequences of that ignorance—5,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead, and a long-term cost to the U.S. treasury in the trillions—will continue to be felt for decades.

Despite an earnest Google search, I failed to find any comparable examples of political or societal ignorance that favor the left.
Without question, misinformation rules our discourse—and disinformation has flowed from the spin tanks and talk shows of the right over the past forty years. But Professor Mead rolled her eyes at Professor Schaller’s “earnest search,” unless we’re hiding behind the word “comparable.” In truth, we successor liberals drive our tribal tales through the use of all kinds of misinformation. In just the past few weeks, we ourselves have reported these groaners:
Women are only paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same or equal work as men. This bogus claim helps us advocate for various proposals in Congress while insisting that the other tribe is conducting that war on women.

The Texas public schools have extremely bad test scores. This bogus claim lets us roll our eyes at the reddest red state—and at No Child Left Behind, and of course at President Bush. In the process, we uncaringly refuse to discuss the real state of low-income schools.

The Sanford police let George Zimmerman “walk away with his gun.” This bogus claim, along with a long list of others, helped us stage a modern mob action. It closely resembled the types of actions which used to be launched, and still sometimes are, against black people charged with crimes.
Meanwhile, we liberals have swallowed all kinds of pseudo-scientific attempts to measure the racism of rival groups, including that gloriously bungled survey by Professor Parker at UW. In these and other ways, we drive the political or societal ignorance Schaller's earnest search couldn’t spot.

What explains Schaller’s ignorance of this bungling by his own tribe? “It’s Anthro 101,” Mead thundered, telling us that tribal groups routinely tend to overlook their own tribe’s bungles and foibles—and routinely tend to make other tribes into The Other! And this process of otherization can be remarkably sweeping. Just last month, Mead railed against this post in which Digby almosy seemed to turn “most Americans” into “them.” Digby linked to a very poorly reasoned post in which Amanda Marcotte concluded that “one in three Americans is so invested in an image of themselves as an uptight prig that they will misrepresent themselves to a pollster who they know isn't attaching their name to the answers.”

"Most people imagine a legal regime that will somehow allow abortion for themselves and their friends, but disallow it for those dirty sluts they hear about so much," Marcotte had informed fellow libs.

We learned not to ask about Janeane Garafola’s lectures on the limbic brains of those who don’t vote the way she does. Rachel Maddow’s “week and a half of dick jokes” was avoided at all costs.

“For this, I went to Samoa?” Mead roared. Tomorrow, the anthropologist’s brilliant thoughts concerning the kula ring.


  1. Excuse me, Bob. But strikes me as the epitome of pseudo-intellectualism, not to mention the "tribalism" that you say you detest, to take one of the most important works of one of the most important thinkers of the last century and to spin that into "evidence" of the evils of --- Rachel Maddow?

    What next, Bob? Shall you spend next week showing how Maureen Dowd is nothing like Aristotle?

    1. Only those with no remaining sense of humor can fail to be moved by "According to the foremost authority on Mead’s career," turning out to be a link to Wikipedia!

      Only those who cannot parse the English language will believe (or is it just a pretense, Aonymous idiot?) that Somerby tries to use Mead's works as evidence (or even as "evidence"!) of "the evils of --- Rachel Maddow."

      Because of course it is just the reverse!

      "The evils of Rachel Maddow" (to stick with that tendentious characterization) are used to demonstrate the validity of Mead's work, not vice-versa.

      Some folks' heads are indeed VERY thick.

      And some love their tribe's leaders like Maddow so well and truly that no criticism can be brooked -- or indeed, even understood it would seem!

    2. Oh, I get it. So this blog is really about Margaret Mead and not about Rachel Maddow.


    3. That is to say: I admit, I had it backward. But my point, now changed, stands. Or not. Mostly not.

    4. As I read it, it's not about either one. Mead died in 1978, and Maddow died when Air America did. Her shambling corpse is all that is left of a former Progressive champion; I guess she is more telegenic than Randi Rhodes (who should have gotten that job) and as an out lesbian she fulfills MSNBC's LGBT-sensitivity and female liberal-cred checkboxes, but otherwise she's utterly useless.

  2. Let's see if we have this right.

    1) Some employees of GE/Comcast make, or are purported to make, false and misleading claims on MSNBC. (Saying women make .77 for every dollar a man earns is misleading! The real figure is $.89!; The police DID take away George Zimmerman's gun!).

    How widely these views are believed among the public large is not known.

    2) 85% of American military personnel, and a large portion of the American public, believes Iraq was directly responsible for 9/11.

    3) ERGO, we're all the same! Margaret Mead would say so, if only should come back from the dead!

    More likely, Margaret Mead would kick Bob Somerby in the ass for this kind of analysis, but since I'm not in routine contact with the dead, unlike Mr. Somerby, I won't cite her authority.

    1. "Let's see if we have this right."

      Turns out, no. You don't have it right.

      But then "tribal groups routinely tend to overlook their own tribe’s bungles and foibles" so color us not surprised.

    2. @Anon 1:33

      "... so color us surprised".

      You really must go easier on the royal "we" and the royal "us", Bob. It's a dead giveaway.

      As for the refutation presented in your post, it's just grand, if also invisible.

    3. Yes, I *DO* have the balls to criticize you for saying "color us surprised," right after I have said "let's see if we have this right."

      I'm an idiot, what of it?

  3. Remember when Bob used to get all upset when Maureen Dowd used a device like this, for example comparing something in the news to a Jane Austen novel or creating imaginary dialogues between Al Gore and his bald spot? Well, Bob appparently has blocked that from his memory.

    1. To what end are these rhetorical tropes used?

      That is the question.

      But you know that, you just pretend not to.

    2. I have Margaret Mead in my cellar.

      She says Bob should stop using her name to sound crazier than Maureen Dowd.

    3. Since some of we leftists are the subject of Bob's satire we are perhaps not best suited to judge it quality; yet the illusions to Dowd seem apt. And oh yes, an article online was given a "grabber" byline that made it sound more frivolous than it actually was. Horrors!
      I've got news for you, on the right the article would likly be as foolish as the byline, but then you'd have to be willing to look at the conduct of the right as well, and The Daily Howler has no interest in that.

    4. The right would likely be worse, so stop pointing out failures on the left.

      Thanks for the example, Greg.

    5. I didn't, and haven't suggested TDH stop pointing out faliures on the left, I merely pointed out Bob's new policy of presenting them free of context from the Media's actions in general. And here's an example for ya, now that the left has created a "modern day mob action" in the Zimmerman Case. I guess by "modern day" Bob means the kind of Mob action where the victim gets all kinds of positive press and a fair trial. In the premodern mob actions, I believe, the victims were not offered an opportunity to post bail before they were lynched. Yes, these modern mobs are rather diferent than the mob actions of old, but I better not bring those up, Bob does not like to make white conservates feel bad. So O.K., we have this black family who wanted justice for their Son, and incited this mob action from MSNBC who are just as bad as Fox News if we ever bothered to check out Fox News. Some blacks are just into reverse discrimination. But did the Daily Howler have to degrade the working class people in the DA's Office and Police dept that broght the charges against Zimmerman? Because they would have to be the people who really carried out this "modern day mob action."

    6. "It closely resembled the types of actions which used to be launched, and still sometimes are, against black people charged with crimes."

      Thank you, Greg, and my jaw also dropped when I read the above words.

      Surely, I thought, Bob Somerby isn't comparing George Zimmerman to the upwards of 5,000 "black people" who were tortured, mulitated, then many of them publicly hung in town squares during the Jim Crow era, is he?

      Certainly he would not trivialize that gruesome period in American history merely to score debate points today?

      But unfortunately, that is exactly what he is doing.

    7. "And here's an example for ya, now that the left has created a "modern day mob action" in the Zimmerman Case. I guess by "modern day" Bob means the kind of Mob action where the victim gets all kinds of positive press and a fair trial."

      If by "victim" you mean George Zimmerman, I'm unaware of him getting "all kinds of positive press," especially from liberal left sources. What I remember is the overwhelming presumption that he was guilty.


      And BTW, I reread your bit about being angrier at people on our side than slavery sympathizers and I agree regarding myself. I am angrier at people on our side who I see as screw ups. The reason is simple. I expect my enemies to be assholes. That's why their my enemies. What drives me and all-too-few others nuts is people who are supposedly allies but are so full of stupid, self-discrediting self righteousness that they effectively act as unintentional Republican fifth columnists (while, at the same time indulging in an orgy of self-congratulation for being so much smarter and intelligent than everybody else).

      If I'm wrong, please explain how Duke lacrosse or the Zimmerman/Martin case has done anything but made our side look like a bunch of white-hating morons.

      It's bad enough when enemies are hurting us. It's worse when our own side does it.

    8. If you're unaware of Zimmerman getting all kinds of positive press, well, like Bob, you simply don't pay any attention to what's on the right.
      As to the rest, thanks, you have defined where we disagree, I actually think someone who believes in human slavery or sympathizes with it is worse than the sometimes self defeating snooty liberal. Weather the latter actually hurts in the cause against the former is probably unknowable, however much the reverse racist fetishist ties himself into knots over it.
      But again, thanks for laying your "reasoning" out for me in that paragraph, I think your "reasoning" goes a long way in explaining the point I've been trying to make here. Your true hatred is for other leftists, but I'm the "fifth Columnist."

      I know that to you the Duke Lacrosse team are some of histories great victims, I think you need to read up a bit on some of things that have been done to black people in our country, it seems your problem is one of balance. Probably, in every sense of the word.

    9. Braintree here from a public computer.

      I specifically asked for cites especially from the liberal left. You have not provided those because they don't exist. Fox news, as even you must know, is a right-wing propaganda outlet and does not represent the media at large where the coverage was at first overhwelmingly negative for Zimmeran. Also, Fox news has turned out to be far more in the right than our side.

      Yes. Someone who is in favor of slavery is worse than some self-defeating libearl but self-defeating liberals are far more annoying because they make our side look stupid and help the folks in favor of slavery.

      Saying that whether our public stupidity helps or hurts liberals is not "unknowable" has got to be one of the most singularly stupid things I have ever read. Apparantly you imagine that making a spectacle of yourself by calling people racists, misogynists etcetera because they don't believe a story that is absolutely false and then you and others like you continue to act as if the people who turned out to be right are stupid jackasses can in no way be expected to affect our side's public credibility. Or maybe you are so deluded that you have convinced yourself that credibility doesn't matter.

      Most Americans, including hispanics self identify as whites. How are we supposed to win elections if we keep making asses of ourselves by constantly insulting them? Did you notice that women have been abandoning Republicans since they decided to insult them big time. It works both way, guy.

      And that last paragraph just goes to show just what a condescending twit you are. Duke lacrosse is flyspeck shit compared to slavery or Jim Crow. I know that. Everyone knows that. That doesn't make the liberal left's behavior during Duke lacrosse or George Zimmerman any less stupid or any less insulting to the majority of voters who turned out to be right while you and other a-holes were busy calling them bigots. Apparantly, you think that because you're supposedly fighting racism you can throw all the stupid, mis-informed temper tantrums you like and that no one can be reasonably expected to dismiss you for a jerk.

      Just because you stubbornly refuse to get my main point does not mean that it's not valid. You have impressed my as one large economy-sized imbecile.

    10. Your ever shifting take ( now that you have stopped falsely accusing me of saying TDH was pro racist, you have offered two different responses to my actual statement. Are you going to stick with the "annoying" thing?) Just piles up more points for me. You do need to explore the gap between the knowable and your grudge laden opinions. Actually no one would ever assume from what you say, and how you say it, that you think Jim Crow is worse than those forever traumatized Lacrosse players. For somebody who hates wise ass liberals, you sure insult others a lot-Bob has the same problem. I didn't respond to the Zimmerman thing because it's a "duh" Yes, factions of the left press were in the can against Zimmerman, as factions of the right press are in the can for him. Who's more powerful?

    11. So, per Greg, it doesn't matter what misinformation "the left press" spreads, because they're not as powerful as "the right press."

      Also Greg doesn't intend to point to examples of how FOX, say, misreported the Zimmerman case equally as badly or worse than MSNBC did.

      Why not?

      It's just enough for him this way, that's why.

    12. How would I know how Fox did on Zimmerman? I read The Daily Howler. I think we can assume, quite fairly at this point, that Hannidy is well represented around these parts by you, but I get nothing from Bob.. I'm sure Sean did as well on the case as you did with my slavery comment.

  4. Female doctors paid less than male doctors even after controlling for hours worked, specialty, age, and academic titles.

    But by all means, let's keep on quibbling.

    1. Among the things apparently NOT controlled for, according to the article:

      "Two women who have been prominent in medical research say this: Men tend to be more aggressive at self-promoting and asking for pay raises than women."

      It's not certain that would count as "discrimination-based" difference in pay. But I guess I'm quibbling.

      The main point is that calling a fraudulent use of statistics ("Women are only paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same or equal work as men") false IS NOT quibbling.

      You, pointing to a study irrelevant to that fraudulent use of statistic, appear to simply hope to muddy the water.

      Literally NO ONE here has been claiming either that women are never discriminated against, or that studies don't demonstrate that there are pay disparities after controlling for various factors.

      The issue is the almost tribal way in which misrepresenting the results of these studies seems to be perfectly acceptable. By characterizing the noting of this as "quibbling," you provide more evidence for the thesis -- the tribe must be defended!

    2. Women pay a social cost for asking for pay raises that men do not pay, which leads them to be less aggressive in asking for pay raises.

      I disagree with Bob's premise entirely. Some of the difference in pay is explained by the fact that women are saddled with more unpaid labor in our society, yes. This unequal division of labor is also due to gender inequality, every bit as much as "pure" discrimination based solely on not having the right naughty bits. If Bob really wanted to have a conversation about gender inequality, he would acknowledge that point. But he doesn't -- he just wants another stick to beat Rachel Maddow with.

    3. No, he just wants to point out how she abuses statistics for tribal ends.

      He succeeded in that.

      Your distaste for it, and haste to pretend it is something else, or to distract with other issues, reveals your tribal character.

  5. concerned citizenJune 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Mr Somerby,

    While it is helpful to point out that misinformation increasingly rules *all* sides of our discourse, I don't think it is "hiding" to acknowledge that the impact of recent examples of liberal tribal misinformation you have so thoroughly documented is not "comparable" to the damage caused by the examples of mis/disinformation cited by Mr Schaller.

    I appreciate your attempts to highlight how liberals are not any better or different than conservatives when it comes to the tribal impulse, but perhaps it would be more helpful to keep the focus on the costs and benefits of increasing tribalism overall (ie, who loses/benefits most from a divided citizenry?) than on scoring who currently is more tribal than whom.

    1. "I appreciate your attempts to highlight how liberals are not any better or different than conservatives when it comes to the tribal impulse"

      No you don't.

      Else you wouldn't pretend it's all about "scoring who currently is more tribal than whom."

    2. @Concerned Citizen:

      You don't get it. While a mature analyst would simply accept, as a matter of course, that life is lived subjectively, that bias is as inevitable as breath, our friend thinks he's discovered subjectivity all by himself (nobody else every noticed, apparently), and is delighted, beyond measure, at pointing out every instance of it, or what he thinks is an instance of it.

      Indeed, so consuming is his mania, he'll find it wherever he looks, whether it's there or not.

      The nature of the bias, it's effects and consequences for public policy don't matter a bit. Because all delusions are equal.

      So you have an exaggerated view of the extent of wage discrimination? That's just as bad as believing that "we" did indeed find WMD in Iraq, or that lower taxes increases revenues, or that there's an honest "debate" over whether global warming is occurring and why.

      Because they're all errors of subjectivity, don't you see? Besides, life should be a debating society, ruled over by Bob Somerby. As long as we can find instances of pundits hired by corporations to play liberals on TV, saying things which aren't true or strictly true, then his thesis is vindicated.

    3. Rachel Maddow's abuse of statistics (let's pretend for a minute that's *all* she's guilty of) has to be "just as bad" as believing WMD were found in Iraq before it should be mentioned.

      That's my standard.

      I quite clearly regard myself as something of a genius -- although I pretend that pointing out Maddow's failings means you are implying all failings are equal, a pretense many would regard as quite stupid.

      But that's me.

      I am The Anonymous Idiot

  6. I read Mead's book on Samoa while taking a course in Cultural Anthropology in 1968.

    It seemed what American kids were missing at that time was a rite of passage that clearly defined the transition from childhood to adulthood, with the new privileges and responsibilities clearly defined.

    I do remember the Career Counselor demanding that each senior describe what he or she was "going to be".
    If they had no answer, or a vague one, then they "would never amount to anything".

    Liberals claimed it wasn't right that an 18 year-old boy had to serve in the military, but couldn't vote or drink until he turned 21.

    So they let us vote at 18.
    "Now you are a man. Take this rifle and go that way."

  7. See, this is why I read the Daily Howler. Few indeed are the blogs where I would be introduced to the utterly fascinating Kula ring phenomenon. And I'm not being sarcastic. Go read about it. Then think about its relationship to the modern phenomenon of the 1%. Also, what we call "The Village:" is a job at MSNBC or at the New York Times a form of Kula?

  8. The Kula ring is indeed a method of dealing with the destructive elements that arise when wealth, power and status are concentrated in individuals, and then, when those individuals decide to keep the " club" as small as possible.

    It is similar to the potlatches of the tribes in Canada, where pow-wows were held and wealth was destroyed in bonfires. The chieftains gain status based upon how much they send up in flames.

    The purpose of this was to discourage the hoarding of surplus goods, which fosters greed, class distinction, envy, and class warfare.

    "Primitive" tribesmen seemed to have grasped this concept, either intuitively or by misadventure.

    Of course, the moral philosophers that evaluated modern capitalism knew the white man's greed had no boundaries, and so could not be contained by any form of moral suasion or countervailing power. Thus they fostered government intervention.

    If there is one unifying philosophy of Keynesianism it is that the business cycle, which relies on positive feedback, will eventually oscillate out of control unless dampened by an outside force.

    The problem with capitalists is they always believe that they will be the ones to apply the brakes in time. History shows that they never do.

    1. Lol, liberals literally believe that we should take advice from primitive mud hut dwellers who pointlessly destroy what little wealth they have. Can't make this shit up.

    2. Good rebuttal!
      Free of sophistry and hyperbole!
      Right on target!!

    3. Well gravy, the guy does have a point. Thinking that you can extrapolate broad economic lessons for a heterogenous, industrialized society of hundreds of millions from small, primitive, homogenous villagers that number in the dozens and all share the same culture, traditions, language and religion is rather a stretch, don't you think?

      Guess we'll find out tomorrow when the Great Bob Somerby leaves the teenaged girls of Samoa behind and explores the kula ring.

    4. Before you dismiss the demographics and wealth of Kwakiutl Indians, I suggest you read up on it.

      If you actually read what I wrote, you would have noticed that I said modern capitalism needed government intervention to keep it on an even keel, not tribal traditions.
      "Of course, the moral philosophers that evaluated modern capitalism knew the white man's greed had no boundaries, and so could not be contained by any form of moral suasion or countervailing power. Thus they fostered government intervention."

      You may disagree with that premise. Many do. But don't create connections where there are none. That is sophistry.

      "Lol, liberals literally believe that we should take advice from primitive mud hut dwellers... "

      Do liberals LITERALLY agree that we should take advice from mud hut dwellers?
      That is hyperbole, and false.

      "...who pointlessly destroy what little wealth they have."

      Kwakiutls lived in large wooden houses, and produced far more goods than they could possibly use. Many of these goods were perishable.

      To say they lived in mud huts and had little wealth shows ignorance.

      If you want to dispute facts, do so with facts, not fancy rhetoric.

    5. "Fancy rhetoric?"

      gravymeister, you're far too kind to the troll.

      Mis-statement, strawmen and distraction, that's their forte, mate.

    6. Thinking that you can extrapolate broad economic lessons for a heterogenous, industrialized society of hundreds of millions from small, primitive, homogenous villagers that number in the dozens and all share the same culture, traditions, language and religion is rather a stretch, don't you think?

      No, it's applied anthropology.

      And as far as extrapolating broad lessons from small samples, in some cases that's called "science."

      The thing to keep in mind is that while the tribesmen may be "primitive" technologically, they are still human beings with human desires and drives. Some of these primitive tribes seem to have evolved a social system where the mere possession of certain objects elevates them socially above all other tribesmen; and they have arranged matters so that they get to pick and choose who gets to join the ranks of the elite. I think that is very relevant to the situation we find ourselves in today.

  9. Hey Braindead. Is it just possible that instead of some vast, left-wing conspiracy centered in the liberal media, that just perhaps the Duke lacrosse team were victims of an out-of-control, publicity-hungry prosecutor? Just maybe?

    You're fond of asking for cites. Cite me a few examples of the liberal media whipping a "mob" into a frenzy and demanding the heads of the Duke lacrosse team. In other words, put up and shut up and don't try to excuse your new hero Zimmerman by drawing a parallel that doesn't exist with the Duke lacrosse team.

    Second, if it there has been no positive press about Zimmerman where do you get all your information that the poor boy has been railroaded? Did God personally send you "George is innocent" messages? Or did you get your information from the "media"? And how the heck, with all this media pounding against him relentlessly and no positive press, did the poor boy manage to raise some $200,000 within days of
    opening a Web site -- money which of course, he simply forgot to tell the judge about when he pleaded poverty at his bail hearing -- which landed him back in the pokey, and earned his wife her very own indictment.

    And all this is beside the point, which you want to ignore to defend your new love interest.

    It is a gross trivialization of a dark chapter in U.S. history to compare the lynching of thousands of black men and women -- some, like Emmett Till who weren't even accused or under suspicion of committing a crime -- with what his happening to George Zimmerman, the pussy who uses a gun as a substitute for a dick, and shot an unarmed kid.

    Yeah, right. Angry mobs stormed the jail, tortured and castrated Zimmerman (if they could) then strung him on a lamppost and set his body on fire as he slowly strangled to death in the public square.

    1. (much) Shorter:

      You love Zimmerman so much! Why don't you marry him?

      Real racism is awful. So I'm against it. But you're FOR it!


    2. Much, much shorter:

      Bob, Bob! Help me! I don't know what to think!

      Oh, wait! I know. I'll just repeat the same tired schtick I've been repeating for weeks now! Bob will love me so, so very much!

    3. A bit tart, anom, but thanks. And you shouldn't be too hard on Braintree, left self loathing aflicts many in many different fashions.

    4. "Self-loathing" says Greg, content in his trolly concerns.

      As always our trolls resort to their weakest weapon in the end, "You're just sheep, listening to Bob. We *real* deep thinkers can ignore him 'cause our tribe is good. Mead would agree with us!"

      Greg, leader of the thinkers!!

    5. George Zimmerman, the pussy who uses a gun as a substitute for a dick

      So you discount even the slightest possibility that Zimmerman might be innocent? That he may have felt, in the midst of getting his ass kicked by a skinny 17-year-old, that his life was in danger?

      He may or may not be innocent. We don't know all the facts. And it may be quaint, but we do still have the concept of "innocent until proven guilty," don't we?

    6. Actually I never suggested Bob had sheep, if you have actually read him for a lot of years, as I have, you would relize flat is pretty unlikely. His recent work, alas, does make him attractive to reverse racism fruitcakes, like you.

  10. "George Zimmerman, the pussy who uses a gun as a substitute for a dick."

    Wait -- sooo, he should have shot Trayvon with his penis?

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