3.1252 Notes & Queries: slurs, generation-skipping (111)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Mon, 2 Apr 90 20:00:53 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1252. Monday, 2 Apr 1990.

(1) Date: Sun, 1 Apr 90 13:09:00 EDT (29 lines)
From: Scott Smith <SMITHSR@SNYPLAVA>
Subject: socio-economic slurs...

(2) Date: Sun, 1 Apr 90 15:51 EST (51 lines)
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Generation skipping social memories

(3) Date: Mon, 2 Apr 90 05:33:43 EDT (6 lines)
From: Michael Everson <MEVERC95@IRLEARN>
Subject: Re: 3.1245 skipping generations (76)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 90 13:09:00 EDT
From: Scott Smith <SMITHSR@SNYPLAVA>
Subject: socio-economic slurs...

Although Michael S. Hart's recent posting to Humanist seems to have the
economic analysis in order, I take objection to his use of the example
of the American Indians "selling" Manhattan for some $24 worth of beads
and trinkets. Although gradually being purged from junior-high social
studies texts, this unfortunate culturally skewed story continues to be
told, and accepted outright, by many.

The philosophical perspective of the North American Indians did not recognize
"land ownership" as something in which an individual or nation could
participate. They believed that God provided the land, water, plants, and
animals, to be lived off of as needed, replenished when possible, and shared
by all people according to their (reasonable) needs. Thus, the Indians
thought they were getting the better end of the deal, in allowing the
Europeans to use some land which didn't belong to any of the parties
entering into the transaction!

You might say that the "selling of the Brooklyn Bridge" owes its origins
to an earlier Manhattan transaction. In any case, European firearms and
cultural arrogance won out in the end, but it seems important to me to
recognize that the incident in question is a better example of differing
philosophies than it is of "primitive economic behavior."

Scott Smith
SUNY Plattsburgh and
McGill University
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------57----
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 90 15:51 EST
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Generation skipping social memories

In Paul Conneton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.
Press 1989), there appears at page 39 the following passage
(which I am typing in in an unforgiving mailer):

"Marc Bloch has drawn attention to the fact that in ancient
rural societies, before the institution of the newspaper, the primary
school, and military service, the education of the youngest
living generation was generally undertaken by the oldest living
generation. {\endnote 53: See M. Bloch, _The Historian's Craft_
(tr. R. Putname, Manchester, 1954), pp. 40-1; for a review of
Halbwachs (1925) see M. Bloch, 'Ne'moire collective, traditon et
coutume', _Revue de Synthe{acc grav}se Historique_, 40 (1925),
pp. 73-83.} In such village societies, because working conditions
kept mother and father away almost all day, especially during
the summer period, the young children were brought up chiefly by their
grandparents; so that it is from the oldest members of the household,
at least as much if not indeed more than from their own parents, that
the memory of the group was mediated to them. This process began very
early in the life of the child. After the first phase of childhood,
dominated by nourishment and the relationship with the mother,
the child joined the group of siblings and other children living in
the household; and it was from this time on that their education was
most frequently supervised by grandmother. Until the introduction of
the first machines, it was grandmother who was the mistress of the
household, who prepaed the meals, and who, alone, was occupied with
the chldren. It was her task to teach the language of the group.
When the ancient Greeks called stories 'geroia', when Cicero
called them 'faulae aniles', and when the picture illustrating
the _Contes_ of Perrault represented an old woman telling a story
to a circle of children, they were registering the extent to which the
grandmother took charge of the marrative activity of the group. In
such a context we should not envisage communication between generations
as being conducted, so to speak, in 'Indian file', the children having
contact with their ancestors only through the mediation of their parents.
Rather, with the moulding of each new mind there is at the same time a
backward step, joining the most malleable to the most inflexible
mentality, while skippeng the generation which might be the sponsor of
change. And this way of transmitting memory, Block suggests, must
surely have contributed to a very substantial extent to the traditionalism
inherent in so many peasant societies. {\endnote 54: For corrobative
remarks on this suggestion, with particular reference to the role of
grandmothers in traditional societies, see D. Fabre and J. Lacroix,
_La Tradition orale du conte occitan_ (Paris, 1974), volume I, esp.
pp. 111-15.}"

Peter D. Junger--CWRU Law School--Cleveland, Ohio
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------15----
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 90 05:33:43 EDT
From: Michael Everson <MEVERC95@IRLEARN>
Subject: Re: 3.1245 skipping generations (76)

So it does pass through the maternal line and we ought to look more like our
mother's fathers than our fathers or our father's fathers??