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Tribal Realism and Robin Fox August 10, 2011

Posted in Civilization, New, Open Societies & the Culture Cult, Tribalism.

There is no “Libyan People”. The phrase should be banned as misleading and purely rhetorical. In places like Libya one’s first allegiance is to family, clan, and tribe…

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The Slave Girl and the Professor March 1, 2012

Posted in Africana, Civilization, For the Record, New, Open Societies & the Culture Cult, Tribalism.

There’s a small problem with Kwame A. Appiah’s The Honor Code — it doesn’t explain why his “moral revolution” against slavery did not take place in Africa itself.

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Object Lessons January 10, 2012

Posted in Civilization, For the Record, New, Notes.

Those funny things in glass cases may have awkward histories. A museum guide sometimes has to euphemize, dissimulate, and deceive…

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Arabian Nights, Baghdad Days — romancing the Middle East August 6, 2010

Posted in New, People, Tribalism.

What’s with The Arabian Nights? How explain the attraction of the mysteriously medieval East? The djinns? The camels? The alluring houris in their dove-grey veils…

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What Native Peoples Deserve May 10, 2005

Posted in Tribalism.

The Roosevelt Indian Reservation in the Amazon rain forest is not a happy place. In 2004 the Cinta Larga Indians slaughtered 29 miners there, and the Brazilian who was trying to mediate the conflict was later murdered at a…

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Beauty, Art, and Darwin January 14, 2010

Posted in Arts and Letters, Civilization.

Judging from his new book Beauty, Roger Scruton’s idea of a pleasing view would probably be the Wiltshire countryside circa 1750, with some red-coated riders and a fox hurrying into a copse…

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Plato vs. Grand Theft Auto August 10, 2009

Posted in Arts and Letters, Civilization, People, Theatre.

It had been a pretty ordinary day at the office, metaphysically speaking, but it looked like ending with a bang. Plato was showing Aristotle something he’d found on the web…

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Jessica, Jesse, Joshua and the Cruel Sea November 30, 2009

Posted in People.

A sense of danger is a wonderful thing — like Darwin said, don’t leave home without it. A sense of danger warns you of the bear in the cave and the shark beyond the breakers…

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Sexualizing Everyday Life April 10, 2007

Posted in Artists And Politics.

Where are the sheiks of yesteryear riding over the midnight dunes? Not in Australia. Here a burly Egyptian with an ugly turn of phrase has set new records for ungallantry…

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Inside Journalism December 10, 2007

Posted in Artists And Politics, Arts and Letters, For the Record, People.

John Gunther was in Moscow when the Nazi-Soviet pact was announced, and Churchill was keen to know how it was received on the streets…

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The Rise of the Anthropologue December 10, 1986

Posted in Civilization.

Mungo Park was lucky to have a horse for his getaway, for as Nigel Barley relates, a modern traveller in West Africa may have to deal with…

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When I Hear the Word ‘Culture’ October 1, 1980

Posted in Language, Open Societies & the Culture Cult.

For 100 years anthropology has been spreading sweetness and light, and now that even the oddest customs from the remotest places…

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