Saturday, April 22, 2006


My name is Que Ni and I'm a big dorkus. I like to smell my own feet and I'm afraid of tacos. Blah Blah Blah, My name is Que Ni

Friday, April 21, 2006

Reverse Causality by no other Means

"Granet tells the story of a certain duke of the Chou period of whom it was said that he failed to conquer China because at his death human beings were sacrificed to his ghost." (Salhins 2000: 517).

I was once accused of being myself. This happened during one of my previous break-ups. I learned back then that certain people believe that if they become friends with a couple, that upon the breaking of the pair, he/she must choose between the has-been partners. I believe that this has to do with the readiness of some to internalize anything at hand. This even includes the acrimonious exchange of two adults who are leaving the safe town of Coupledom and are about to jump of the love cliff to end it all.

Needless to say, more often the friends I make when I am dating someone choose the other person. I don't begrudge their choice; I just resent their attempts to reprimand me for doing exactly what I choose to do. I have even heard the I-knew-all-along-that-it-would-end-like-this statement. (I say: "O RLY?)

I am about to move into an apartment with my current girlfriend. If someone out there is prescient about this and is learned in the ways of Chou-period sages, how about letting me know how it is going to end. But if you don't have this ability, then I guess that I will have to make my own outcomes from front-to-back, from now-to-then.

I guess this strips me of the privilege of delaying the responsibility of my choices until I become a ghost. Otherwise, future sages could say that during his lifetime the girlfriends who left him, and the fact that friends he made as a couple always chose the other person was a function of the poor attendance at his funeral.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Do I have a 3rd eye or something?

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As I was engaged in conversation with colleagues recently, I was reminded of how discomforting it can be for others when one occupies what appear as contradictory categories. I grew up blue collar, but spend most of my time in a predominately white-collar social/academic environment. My family, we have been homeless, jailed, on welfare, in gangs, thieves, confidence artists, and, to boot, we fart in inappropriate places. But somehow, I am finishing my PhD at a prestigious University.

Ironically, this discomfort that others feel has been especially true within the shiny chambers of Anthropology -- where the blue die in the white collars normally runs out of the fabric once fieldwork becomes sweaty and labor-intensive. While anthropology is a study of the people, it is generally not made by the people or for the people. The point is that many anthropologists are walking contradictions and should be the last to take offense at my own contradictions.

Many anthropologists would argue that the purported goals of their projects (e.g. to improve our knowledge of others to make this a better world) and their sympathies (not empathies) for “their” disenfranchised subjects are genuine and objectively true. All the while these world-turners produce texts and analyses that are never going enter mainstream knowledge or foment political change. For the most part, anthropology is a selfish endeavor that satisfies a general human curiosity about ones neighbor, but does little else.

My favorite anthropologist once said that to put things anthropologically was to make great things from small ones. Although this critique is about methodology, it partially explains Anthropology’s inherently limited power for changing anything. Despite our grand theory frames, we study small things and so we change small things.

Perhaps what is perplexing is that many anthropologists, despite years of unsuccessfully changing anything, still hold on to the dream that one day, one day change will come.

I hope to change this notion. But then again, my training allows me only to make small observations about what I think of as a great problem-- and nothing else.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Which one, aM I CRaZy or LoCO?

Street Cred:
Its like everything else, most of what makes us famous -- or infamous -- is seldom our own creation.

I am thinking of Rex bikini's recent review of Punk music:
It may be that the best punk music happens when groups are not even trying but that the public is 'a' hongry' for something to keep them distracted. Once these bands try to make good punk, then they wont be able to. (I would like to point out that this conundrum also applies to Indie Rock and Secrets. For Indie, if you know the tunes, then they can no longer be Indie. For Secrets, if you have it, you can't share it; if you share it, you don't have it.)

Our reputation is a canard:
It just develops because other people push it into being. It spreads by its own impetus jumping from mouth to mouth until we forget that the content contained in the comment is perhaps not true.
Or, it may be that our reputation is nothing but each of us quacking, quacking, quacking like an awkward duck.

Either way, canards I says, canards!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Easy Way Out

Can't think of much to say.

I will just post the smarter words of a smarter writer.

"Caution, caution, caution: to prevent electric shock

do not, do not, do not, remove cover.
No user-serviceable parts inside.

Refer servicing to qualified
service personnel"

Let this be the epitaph for my heart

Cupid put too much poison in the dart.
This is the epitaph for my heart

because it's gone, gone, gone
and life goes on and on anon

and death goes on, world without end
and you're not my friend

Who will mourn the passing of my heart
Will its little droppings climb the pop chart

Who'll take its ashes and,
singing, fling

them from the top of the Brill Building

And life goes on, and dawn, and dawn

and death goes on, world without end

and you're not my friend

(Again) The Magnetic Fields

Monday, April 10, 2006

Aw Schucks and Awe!

Funny Far Side: the cool alien posse just arrived in town, and they just missed an opportunity to 'set their charm on stun'.

(The only way out of all this is to laugh it away)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"Set your Charm on Stun"

"You think that I just don't understand,
Ampersand after Ampersand" (Steven Merritt, The Magnetic Fields)

It has been a while since I posted, and so, and so, and so.

I was going to make a blog entry last week, and then I got overwhelmed with a conference paper that was due over the weekend.

It is easy to come up with excuses. I think that if I deserve a PhD in anything, it should be in how to whip up an excuse on cue. Often, these are even handed to me by others:

"You look really tired, have you gotten any rest lately? Don't work too hard!"

"Say, that is good advice" and then I concluded, "I AM going to take it easy".

The formula for "great" social science is the correct and plausible use of "& then, & then, & then" This is to establish, what we call in the biz, a causation-relationship between two seemingly related occurrences -- however,
post hoc ergo propter hoc.

As I said before, I was going to make a blog entry last week, and then I got overwhelmed with a conference paper that was due over the weekend.