Saturday, March 9, 2019
Eating Christmas in the Kalahari Essay
In his article consume Christmas in the Kalahari (1969), Richard Borshay lee side tells of his three years spent quick with the Kung San Bushmen, of some of their exercises, of how they celebrated Christmas and of how they dealt with boons or rather his gift to them in particular.leeward explains that the local people cerebration him a miser because he maintained a two-month inventory of canned goods (p 111) which was in direct contrast to the Bushmen who r arely had a days preparation of food on hand(p 111), and it appeared he was determined to correct this outlook. lee(prenominal) writes that it is the Tswana-Herero custom of slaughtering an ox for his Bushmen neighbours as an annual goodwill gesture (p 111) at Christmas. By purchasing the Christmas ox for the Bushmens annual feast himself, Lee hoped that it would be seen as a generous (parting) gesture, a thank you for their cooperation as in Western culture and perchance besides the catalyst for dispelling their view of him as a miser.Lee appears to want the reader to think that he was conf utilize about his failure to gain the (expected) appreciation from the Bushmen for his generosity precisely was instead ridiculed for his choice of ox with sarcastic descriptions such(prenominal) as jaggy (p 112), overage wreck(p 111), sack of guts and bones(p 111), old(p 111), clear(p 111) and sick(p 113). Lee further leads us to believe that his confusion became more than profound on Christmas Day when the ox was slaughtered and was found to micturate a thick layer of fat covering the meat. Although Lee indicates that he snarl vindicated in his choice of ox, the derision and sarcasm continued throughout the slaughtering process.Lee writes that he later sought clarification and explanation from several(prenominal) of the local people and was eventually told that the Bushmens sarcasm or compulsory insults over a kill(p 114), was their custom and was amechanism used to prevent hunters from getting an inflated ego and/or seeing themselves as better than anyone else.I have a problem with Lees account inasmuch as I find it extremely difficult if non impossible to believe that after spending three years living with and studying the lives, activities and customs of the Bushmen, Lee had never once seen, comprehend nor heard of this custom and I would be loathe to place more than a token amount of faith in the honesty and correctness of this or any other of his writings or observations as a result.That the Bushmen include Lee in their customs and constructed a joke around him at his expense are inclusionary actions that would normally indicate an acceptance into a root word and I believe that Lees writings were self-serving in that he wanted the reader to believe the Bushmen had thought highly decent of him to include him and treat him as they would one of their own.I also believe that Lee has taken liberties with the translations of a number of conversations with various individu als in set up for the reader to have no doubt about what it was that Lee himself wanted to convey. I do not believe that words and terms such as arrogance(p 114), hogging(p 112), nevertheless(p 114), scrawny (p 112), rascal(p 113), braggart(p 113), you have always been square with us (p 111), sack of guts and bones(p 111), old wreck(p 111), I suppose(p 112), feeling as we do(p 112), another(prenominal) one pipes up(p 113), you must respond in pleasant(p 114), are part of the native language as Lee would allege in his quotes of conversations with the natives. These quotes are peppered with language that is more attributable to a certain sectionalisation of native of the UK, not one of the Kalahari.From my reading of Lees article, I believe it is nothing more than a poorly veiled sweat to elevate his own importance in the mind of the reader and perhaps even his peers. I feel that Lee has done a vast disservice to not only himself and his own credibility but also to that of the pro fession of anthropology. What does Lees article say about his empirical strengths in the field if after three years he fails to product line what appears to be a verypowerful and meaningful hunting custom?In closing, I admit to agreeing with Lees statement in that respect are no totally generous acts(p 114). Every act of gift giving is inextricably attached to an expected or preconceived amends or reciprocity either in manner or kind and this may be nothing more than feeling good.********************REFERENCESLee, Richard Borshay1969 Eating Christmas in the Kalahari reprinted in A. Podolefsky and P. Brown (eds.), Applying Cultural Anthropology an introduction. (1991), Mountainview Mayfield, pp. 110-114.