March 15, 2004

AAA statement on constitutional ban

Category: Wholesome — Biella @ 10:12 pm

Last night, I ODed on Dune
(The Sci-Fi not David Lynch version) at the house of Golub where many geeks came to enjoy hacker beer, chips, pizza, and the strangely enthralling 3 disc series. By the end, I was completely hooked although as put by Karl Fogel (or at least some version of it) every step of the way was pretty darn cheesy. The costumes were gaudy and sophmoric, the acting lukewarm (though decent at times), and the graphics were lackluster (though also cool at times). Yet what an epic and with some decisive points of heckling it was full blown enjoyment, especially for someone who had only interacted with irc-humanoids for three days prior.

I am also reading, finally, a book that Cory Doctorow, Mr. Science Fiction himself, recommended: The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. She is the daugher of an anthropologist and it shows immediately in this tale about Sheveck, a physiciist from an Anarchist Colony who returns to the “outside world” to I guess seek some answers (I am not that far into yet, only at the part where he arrives at Urras).

This seems only fitting for me right now as I am learning some stuff about Anthropology and Anarchism and I like her very sort of anthropological take on things. She is careful not to laud or condmen either Anarress or Urras as Manichean opposites where the utopia stands in clear contrast to the capitalist order. Its more ambivalent and complex. She states it nicely in a recent interview

UKL:.. I thought both Urras and Anarres had their virtues and their faults, so that each could serve to some extent as a corrective and model to the other – though obviously my heart belongs to Anarres! Therefore the utopia, instead of being prescriptive like most utopias, is ambiguous. Ambivalent. Ambidextrous. Two hands, each offering something different.

Anthropologists have straddled that line of acceptance/tolerance of others (and ourselves) and critique in which bringing to light the ways of one culture can stand as a correct to the other. This is not always an easy ethical position to stand on but one that I personally find enjoyable and worthwhile. I have written about that a little elsewhere and it is a tension on my own ethical and political sensibilities that I might never resolve. However, today I was very pleased to hear that the American Anthropological Association issued the following press release on Mr. Bush’s recent announcement that he will seek a constitutional ban on gay marriage. This is good to see.

Statement on Marriage and the Family from the American Anthropological Association

Arlington, Virginia; The Executive Board of the American
Anthropological Association, the world’s largest organization of
anthropologists, the people who study culture, releases the following statement in response to President Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to civilization.

“The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.”

Media may contact either of the names below:
Elizabeth M. Brumfiel, AAA President (847) 491-4564, office.

Alan Goodman, AAA President-Elect (413) 559-5372, office.

Roger Lancaster, Anthropologist, author, The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture , 2003 (202) 285-4241 cellular

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