Monday, February 26, 2007

Potlatch


The aboriginal peoples of this locale, the Pacific Northwest let's call it .. practice a social rite called potlatch. I am of the opinion that some aspects of blogging are resonant of this practice. In potlatch hosts would fete guests to the penultimate degree of generosity. Presenting food in massive feast dishes, carrying on the party for days, giving away all kinds of wealth to attendees some say even going so far as to dismantling the feast houses and giving away the houseboards.

The only consolation for a generous host? Will the next party-giver give more/less?

At Christmas time I sent a message out to a lot of friends by email. I recieved a number of responses. Most of those responses came from the blogger friends. Most of my IRL friends just 'let it go'. I believe this has less to do with anything about my IRL friends but more to do with something about blogging. It has that soul of reciprocity like potlatch.

It is not always perfectly benign but I like it anyway.

To all my friends in the bloggerhood I am sorry I have not been generous of late. My visits have been fleeting and my comments sparse. I don't know if it is the illness (which continues into its third week), or the sale or the move or the teething or the preschool selection or my never-ending desire to find enough time to reconnect with a degree of leisure such that I might shave my armpit hair again but I am running on empty. I am running behind, anyway. Sorry. I think I'll turn the corner soon and hope to give a little more; get back in the spirit of the potlatch. Til then forgive me if I paste the following into your comments:

Just stopped in, great post as ever. No grey matter available to offer more by way of comment. -- mo-wo

On a -- further -- related note we are still recovering from a first birthday party on the weekend with the most spectacular loot bags I have ever seen. 1st birthday ???!! Isn't that the serve cheesecake and adults drink birthday? More to come...

ps.. for good info on potlatch I recommend this link.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Mo-Wo,
I went to the most amazing exhibit on the potlatch several years ago at ... what is the name of it just inside the UBC campus? ... is it really called the Museum of Anthropology as I remember? Anyway, that exhibit was transformative in my understanding of the Pacific Northwest--not just the aboriginal people but the entire region as a distinct place within Canada and the north-west US.

By analogy, I guess you could say that the blogtards and sploggers are the Canadian government, using craft and subterfuge to shut the potlatch down.

I hope you feel restored soon. I have missed you but also felt that you weren't really gone. Two kids, a move, sickness, frozen sperm... it's a wonder you log on at all.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous crunchycarpets said...

You have a lot on your plate and there is only so much gray matter to go around.

For a great pre school check out the one run by the Developmental Disabilities Assoc. in Champlain Heights (not too far!). They are amazing. It is worth the money. Runs either two, three or four days a week and 5 hours a day. They do so much and the classes are mixed with kids with various disabilities and 'abilities.' It helps with empathy and understanding and cooperation. Adam blossomed there. They spend a great deal of time at the local library, nature park or just outside.

9:04 AM  
Blogger NotSoSage said...

Ah, Mad beat me to the analogy...except I was going to include all those people writing stupid articles about selfish parent bloggers.

Goodness, I've been finding it hard to make the rounds with a little fever going around, not to mention all the stuff you're dealing with.

Good luck with everything.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

The beauty of the blogger potlatch is that reciprocity is a fluid, flexible thing.

You do whatever you need to do to be a happy mo-wo, and we'll be right here whenever you're ready to dive in again.

11:49 AM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Hey nss and mad.. I nod vigourously on the analogy... I thought about that a bit too. Potlatch is an exceptionally deep ritual connection for people.

And, Mad it is the Museum of Anthropology -- or MOA. I worked there off and on for 3 years. It is a very special place and I herby offer free speciality tours to any blogger in the Vancouver area anytime.

CC -- Adam by my recollection is just a blossoming person PERIOD. Thanks for the tip.

HBM, look out for my next post. Doppelganger continues.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Loved this post. One of my good friends who is from the aboriginal community introduced me to the potlatch.

You do what you need to do Mo-Wo. We'll be here when you are ready.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous croutonboy said...

Guys, I'm barely cognizant of the world right now myself, so no worries. Just glad you guys are around. C ya

12:20 PM  

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