Life Last Week

Via Marvel Strike Force
  • The latest character to be introduced in Marvel Strike Force, the mobile game I play daily, is a Navajo weaver member of the Spiderverse. Gladys Reichard would be tickled, once someone explained to her what the Spiderverse was.
  • I wrote a short remembrance of Alan Howard for a celebration in his honor — I hope he likes it.
  • I was interviewed by Jonathan Ritchie for his class at Deakin on the history of Papua New Guinea. It was great fun dusting off the part of my brain that holds all the memories of my First Contact research from ages and ages ago, and of course it’s always a pleasure to talk to Jonathan. It was only when we were in the green room for this talk that we realized how much our careers had paralleled each other. Jonathan Ritchie, man of action: keep going!
  • I am slogging through The Man Who Fell To Earth on ShowTime. I am a huge Chewitel Ejiofor fan and am amazed at how little I like this show. I would literally watch Ejiofor read a telephone book, but the show is so heavily overproduced that it distracts from the acting — it feels like every streaming service is doing a color-by-numbers book about how to produce Epic TV and ShowTime got the wrong book. Also, there is a whole take in there about what jazz is that jumps the shark and says things that I think are not true about jazz. But I could be wrong about that.
  • Over at The Conversation Tom Boellstorff says what we’ve all been thinking: The Metaverse is one of the oldest things in InternetLand, not one of the newest.
  • The Queens CUNY has an excellent history of its anthro department, including an account of The Matriarchy that ran the department for so long. A great story that deserves a wider hearing.
  • Stanford Anthropology’s annual newsletter for 2021-2022 has a feature on The New Guinea Sculpture Garden. It’s a wonderful little bit of Melanesia in Palo Alto and I hope it gets more attention.
  • G.T. Harris’s 1972 article Labour Supply and Economic Development in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea has a good overview of how order-making projects in PNG (and elsewhere? Everywhere?) fall apart which will ring true to many of us
  • I finished Runaway: Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological Consciousness by Anthony Chaney. The book is difficult to summarize, but it spends very little time on environmentalist. It starts as an intellectual history of Bateson’s later years, with a strong focus on the broader intellectual context in which he was writing. Bateson drifts from view towards the end of the book, which is an account of the broader intellectual context of the period with. a strong focus on Bateson. Chaney is very sympathetic, perhaps too sympathetic, to Bateson, and does a good job showing how his experiences in WWII and the early Cold War gave him a lot of elective affinities with countercultural baby boomers. The book is really a unique creation of the author’s personal vision and always well-written — even superbly written at moments. I am not a big Bateson fan but Chaney has helped me appreciate Bateson more. I’d love to talk with him more about the book.
  • Listening this week: Cannonball Adderly, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy live.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!