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(Some Guy)   To understand Christmas, go to the pub. "The lesson is that if you want a good time at a bar, go with an anthropologist rather than an economist"   (johnkay.com) divider line 3
    More: Interesting, Scientific Method, anthropology, empirical method, pubs, natural sciences, economists, lessons  
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1807 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Dec 2012 at 9:36 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-19 03:05:15 PM
2 votes:
My problem with him using the Potlatch as a comparison is that it really wasn't as much
exchanging items, as it is a display of wealth and power. The Potlatch is a display of conspicuous
consumption. With the Potlatch showing that the group is so wealthy and powerful that it can
afford to dispose of incredible amounts of valuables. It's really a take on power through re-distribution.


/Anthropologist
2012-12-20 04:14:29 AM
1 votes:

everlastinggobstopper: So why don't my brother and I just keep the $100 we're going to spend on each other this Christmas in our pockets and avoid all the hassle of finding a gift for each other?


It's also enforced joy(well, if you both choose well). If you didn't give gifts, you'd spend it on gas, or bills, or whatever mundane crap most of your money goes to. YMMV of course, some people are very self indulging...

As a tangent because I'm putting off sleep:

I'm terrible at buying gifts that are appreciated for the item's usefulness. I've given up, kids get money(nothing lights up a kids eyes like green paper), adults get food(a huge box of chocolates this year, HUGE, as a per-family gift) or something otherwise genuinely agreeable and easy.

You never run the risk of getting those odd looks that say, "Why the fark did you think I'd like this!?" Not as a selfish / spoiled look, but that moment of intense confusion when you doubt someone's sanity.

It's not the thought that counts in many cases, relying on that clause can lead to that horribly awkward moment. A card and good wishes, sure, that's cool, even without cash money. A gift that says "I don't know what the fark I'm doing, so here's a keychain and a bicycle horn and a can of raid?" The intent is there, but zero thought, zero knowledge or empathy. Can't blame anyone for not being gracious for that split second, I've even done it.

The purpose is to create joy. If you can't adequately assess your own skill in that area, it's time to give up.

Better to keep it simple, imo. (it's not always lack of knowledge, some people just have everything already, or the variety of X(ie candle scents) is so great, it's something best bought by that person)

Of course, I have a rather large family as one of six adult kids, then all their kids, 2-6 each... That's simply too much to keep straight, not to mention buying double gifts, that's a lot of effort in networking there, and if you just ask other people what to get for Jon...blech, that's hardly genuine at all.
2012-12-19 11:00:14 AM
1 votes:

dready zim: Don`t go with a psychologist, they never relax.

At least an anthropologist deep down just wants to get laid like the rest of us.


Anthropologists get laid. Especially male anthropologists. Most anthro departments are between 2/1 and 4/1 female/male ratios.
 
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