Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Cultural Terrorist Revisited

Way back when, Kris posted quotes from Silko that claimed the book was a purposeful act of cultural terrorism. At first, I wasn't quite sure what that meant. After reading Kris' last post it occured to me what one of these "acts" could be. I feel that Kris is dead on when she asserts that the most screwed up people are the ones that consider themselves "blue bloods". Portraying those in power with psycosis is in itself cultural terrorism. It makes me think back to my time in college - specifically, when I was in grad school. I took an Educational Anthropology course. Because I was in a program that was supposed to be SO progressive and ahead of its time, I naively thought that this brand of anthropology would somehow be different than the mainstream anthropology in which marginalized populations are put under the microscope at "The Other" and their fucked up ways are studied so we can talk about them in class. As usual, the only time people of color, poor, or queer people showed up in our readings or discussions was when they were "The Other". In our culture these Others are always looked at as being strange, messed up, in need of help from the all powerful saviors - most of the time these are the wealthy, mainstream, and those with power. Perhaps it is a cultural terrorist act to blow the minds of readers by portraying blue bloods as just-as-if-not-more-messed-up as the rest of us. Perhaps if anthropology turned the tables and studied CEOs, Presidents, and the leaders of agencies that fund anthropological studies we would find some very interesting behaviors to talk about in class. Silko chose to explore this in fiction, but to me it is no less important than a scientific study.

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