Savage Minds 

2005 - 2017

R. I. P.  

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Why do you want it to rest in peace, Lee?

Rest In Peace, signifying mourning, a sense of loss.  What has been lost?  Two things, without which social thought is pointless:

   (1)  the spirit, really driving force, of free inquiry, the commitment to delve deep and without blinders into any piece of social action or cultural production.  I'm afraid the editors of Savage Minds, in losing the "savage" in favor of the nonsense word "anthrodendum," renounced that commitment.  The spirit of inquiry has been replaced by an "empathy" that consists in a readiness to take offense at whatever word or deed is deemed to threaten tender, vulnerable souls.  On Facebook OAC the anthropologist Robin Oberg, a frequent contributor here, framed the movement nicely:  ". . . discourse, where the value of research is not based on its contents but by the identity of the author” (December 16, 2016). Remember when anthropology was hailed as the "queen of the sciences"?  Well, American anthropologists officially abandoned the "science" part of our mission years ago; now they've demoted the "queen" to the status of an Addendum to intellectual history.  Sorry, make that anthro{dendum}. 

  (2) maybe even more distressing than (1), the name change renounces a delight in the playfulness of deep thought, the readiness to see joking, here irony, as at the heart of inquiry, and not just an amusing diversion.  "Savage minds" was playful in that sense, with the name emblazoned across a bed of pansies -- no mistaking the allusion to Levi-Strauss. The usage was more than homage, it signaled -- or should have signaled -- the editors' desire to apply LS's deep thought to contemporary society-culture.  That a few small-minded ideologues prevailed to force a name change shows that our discipline's odyssey through the wild flowers of thought has been curtailed by a few shrinking violets.  So, R.I.P. 




Please see my comment of Feb 7, which seems to have been posted in the wrong time slot.  

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