Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

2.7 I’d met Madison, as I’ve already mentioned, two months earlier, in Budapest. I’d been at a conference. She’d been there with some girlfriends. We’d got talking in the hotel bar. An anthropologist, she’d said; that’s … exotic. Not at all, I’d replied; I work for an incorporated business, in a basement. Yes, she said, but … But what? I asked. Dances, and masks, and feathers, she eventually responded: that’s the essence of your work, isn’t it? I mean, even if you’re writing a report on workplace etiquette, or how to motivate employees or whatever, you’re seeing it all through a lens of rituals, and rites, and stuff. It must make the everyday all primitive and strange—no? I saw what she was getting at; but she was wrong. For anthropologists, even the exotic’s not exotic, let alone the everyday. In his key volume Tristes Tropiques, Claude Lévi-Strauss, the twentieth century’s most brilliant ethnographer, describes pacing the streets, all draped with new electric cable, of Lahore’s Old Town sometime in the nineteen-fifties, trying to piece together, long after the event, a vanished purity—of local colour, texture, custom, life in general—from nothing but leftovers and debris. He goes on to describe being struck by the same impression when he lived among the Amazonian Nambikwara tribe: the sense of having come “too late”—although he knows, from having read a previous account of life among the Nambikwara, that the anthropologist (that account’s author) who came here fifty years earlier, before the rubber-traders and the telegraph, was struck by that impression also; and knows as well that the anthropologist who, inspired by the account that Lévi-Strauss will himself write of this trip, shall come back in fifty more will be struck by it too, and wish—if only!—that he could have been here fifty years ago (that is, now, or, rather, then) to see what he, Lévi-Strauss, saw, or failed to see. This leads him to identify a “double-bind” to which all anthropologists, and anthropology itself, are, by their very nature, prey: the “purity” they crave is no more than a state in which all frames of comprehension, of interpretation and analysis, are lacking; once these are brought to bear, the mystery that drew the anthropologist towards his subject in the first place vanishes. I explained this to her; and she seemed, despite the fact that she was drunk, to understand what I was saying. Wow, she murmured; that’s kind of fucked.

enjoyed this

—p.19 by Tom McCarthy 4 years, 3 months ago