Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ivory Tower Academia

     The other day at work I was reminded of a picture I had seen in an old textbook of mine. After a bit of Googling, I found it:



     The image is of a small Paleolithic era carving known as the "Venus of Willindorf". What struck me is the great quantity of sociological and anthropological analysis that has been devoted to this carving's appearance.
     In many cases, significance is given to the fertility aspects of the image, based on the "exaggerated" depictions of the subject's anatomy.

     Why was I thinking about this at work? Because anyone who thinks that this image represents "exaggerated" anatomy has never worked in public healthcare. They've probably never even been in a downtown hospital ER waiting room in the middle of the night.

     Folks, this is a portrait of the Public. And the fact that it was the norm since the Paleozoic says more about humanity than any analysis of our needs to "deify an ideal of reproductive abundance".

     Hell, put a cotton shift and a pair of flip-flops on her, and she would represent a fair percentage of my call-in patients.

3 comments:

  1. In subsistence level cultures, of course, obesity is a sign of power and affluence.

    It says something that, in modern America, even the poorest person can afford to be as fat as an African dictator or a neolithic fertility goddess, and therefore skinny = wealthy. :)

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  2. Ah the effigy of ancient savage anatomy - with curls! The ineffable archaeological past returns in a cycle of reappearance - or it has always been with us, hidden in plain sight? I think the academics have some 'splaining to do.

    The wealthy elites always have to do something different to keep the fashion circle spinning. For a hundred years they wore powered curls piled up atop their heads, and hose and stocking. They quit that look for the casual dress-down slouch, but required their servants to dress as they previously did - out of spite? Amusement? Such are the constant perverse contortions of the Elites.

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  3. Exaggerated? I transported her last week!

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