My Dad used to say, ‘Many a true word is spoken in jest.’ I’d have to say that ‘Never a truer word was spoke.’ Today’s excursion to yesteryear exemplifies the adage. Mary Sellers penned a tongue-in-cheek paper for the ages in 1973. However ironic this piece may be, I believe she’s speaking from the heart in this sketch of our discipline as it was and (for the most part still) is practiced in North America.
|The Plains Anthropologist, 18:140-148, 1973|
If you thought Horace Miner’s ethnography of the Nacirema was fun, and it you thought Kent Flannery’s vignettes in the The Early Mesoamerican Village were a hoot, you’ll get a great big kick in the pants when you read Mary Sellers’s history-making treatise. Nothing. Repeat. Nothing has changed since this was written. And Mary Sellers, now deceased, was (as the Brits would say) ‘spot on’ with this exposé of Us. That’s a good and bad news story, since there’s much in this paper that shows the discipline and its practitioners in a harsh light, even by 1970’s standards. I could get all moralistic and huffy. But I’d rather you just went and grabbed this wonderful work and read it forward and backward.
|The wit and wisdom of Mary Sellers|