Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Classy Ape

Dear Mom,

This one is for you:

We always want more. There is this quality that the middle class in the United States has, they are always itching for wealth, status and the illusion of a class beyond there own. I have known so many examples of this, it is hard to count. People acting like they are something they are not. Using fashion, vocabulary, flashy material goods or just sheer unsubstantiated snobbishness to delineate them from the slobs they secretly know they once were. I am not suggesting that everyone stay put in whatever rung of the hierarchy they are born in to, but I wish that people would just remember their roots more and stop focusing on the fierce reaching and just live.

Perhaps that is why I love Physical Anthropology so much, because it does not let you forget where your species came from, the humble unclothed, hairy beginnings. I wonder how Homo erectus felt about the rules of etiquette layed out by Emily Post?

This is also why I am interested in cultural Anthropology, because it excites me so much that here we have this book of rules of which you are scoffed at if you dont follow. But go to another place and your rules all but evaporate, replaced by a new set.

The rules of etiquette that we hold dear just dont hold up over time or across space. So either I go somewhere else to be liberated from them, or I stay put and just liberate myself from them because I know what their purpose is and I am aware of where my place is in the world and no fancy, overpriced dress is going to change that.


(your healthy, happy Homo sapien daughter)

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