perishables

29 March, 2010

it's safer behind

Something… something… I’m wearing my new fake glasses and jacket that arrived a few minutes ago in a big brown box and currently riding the high that is correctly ascertaining my size from a catalog-size chart. And I gave a pretty fantastic presentation this morning on Artisanal Cheeses (…and my fridge has four foil wrapped highly perishable cheeses I MUST deal with soon)…

I volunteered for an Archeology conference this weekend hosted by my department… I might have told you before how little I care for archeology, but I’m taking a Sensual Archeology class that’s really changing my mind. The good parts of life and of studying what I study always seemed lost in archeology- material culture devoid of all life and extracted from contexts with a scientific perversity that reeks of tyrannical (and yet quantifiable) superiority… But, perhaps, there are more interesting things going on… Smelly things, pretty things, things that sound neat and taste like the past (but not quite)- Archeologists who seem to understand that representing life is like taking a recipe to a new country- some flavors just aren’t there in the reproduction, but it’s still good- it’s still the food from home. And while it’s not perfect it’s a damn sight better than nothing.

(But seriously, they use the word ‘sherd’ and ‘ritual’ entirely too much for my likeing).

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9 Responses to “perishables”

  1. Corin Says:

    Considering the small but ubiquitous and powerful rituals of your life I have witnessed, I am shocked to see you reject it in print. Shocked.

    I’ll give you “sherd” though.

    But you know the Secret to all those tyrannical, stodgy, and perversely scientific archaeologists you have always resented, don’t you?

    They are the ones guiltily up late, their heads under the covers with a flashlight, gleefully imagining the sights and smells and erotic touch of the ancient world. Secret mystics… kids who never grew up, never stopped playing pretend, hiding it behind veils of scientific authority so no one catches them.

    They say “sherd,” but what they MEAN is “I see beauty where you see nothing but broken pottery.”

    …and they are afraid to admit it.

    • batspit Says:

      Well stated as usual.

      But when most archeologists say ‘ritual’ they do not envision the ritual in the everyday.

      While the peaks and valleys of life are precious and have great meaning so are the midlands of everyday…

      This way Weddings are embroiled with as much meaning as morning coffee and tucking the kids in at night. And while some seem willing to embrace the ritual of both the extraordinary and quotidian, most ignore the mundane for the Fantastic.

      • Corin Says:

        I am amused to see that the mundane meaning of “sherd” is boring, while the mundane meaning of “coffee” is precious.

        I am also entertained to learn what “most archaeologists” believe about ritual.

        Note my wry expression.

  2. michelle Says:

    you had me at artisanal cheeses…..

  3. batspit Says:

    yep, you got it Corin, coffee is precious and sherds are boring as hell- mainly because I can drink one and the other is just a word and a number and a weight it has little meaning for me outside of archeological texts, which are at least one step removed from where I want to be at any given time…

    but your last comment sounded a bit like chastising me for generalizing, which was sort of what I was rethinking… I must say though, that when you deny so loudly the ersatz lived experience presented in the archeological texts I wonder if you don’t protest a little too much… and furthermore, my wry friend, this is my blog and I’ll generalize as I damn well please.

    note my witty tone.

  4. Corin Says:

    You read me half-right and half-wrong; I WAS chastising you for generalizing, but I actually agree with you on most points. I just instinctively attack generalizations on sight. Can you forgive this intellectual quirk?

    Most archaeologists DO get stuck in the data until they can’t see the beauty anymore, or perhaps spend so much time studying the dusty details of the Priest-King’s Temple that they forget the thousand real people that lived around it and had to put up with his shit every day. Despite commonly-available literature that contradicts the mistake, many archaeologists DO see ritual the way you criticize; a mistake that my paper actually could be seen as replicating in part, even though I know better.

    That’s why I presented at that conference, and presumably why you came… Because those ~30 archaeologists DO know better, because they – We – are doing an archaeology that has people in it, not just stuff. I came to your blog to applaud you and agree with you, not to argue.

    Anyway, I liked your post, congrats on your presentation, and you can expect to be occasionally snarked at if you generalize where I can read it… fair?

  5. harlequin Says:

    “Coffee is precious and Sherds are boring as hell. Mainly because I can drink one…” *laughing* For some reason this completely strikes my sensibilities. I’ve always claimed coffee was proof of god.

    either way, coffee is way more interesting than sherds, even if the sherds are some fancy pots for cocoa drink.

  6. smoothpebble Says:

    and bless corin and lea for taking me out of my quotidian existence filled with mundane rituals and sherds of broken dishes and coffee mugs and allowing me to voyeuristically participate in an academic discussion.


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