ANTH 3155: Paper 2
October 2, 2009
How can the practices of the Karugu society in Africa relate to the practices of people in America? The Karugu joking relationships, as presented by Thomas Beidelman, can be paralleled to the United States elections—in particular, the presidential elections. When the Karugu encounter a problem, they divide themselves into two groups and then insult each other until the problem is dissolved. First, a joking partner takes on the pollution which causes disorder. Then, through overlapping pollution and disorder, that disorder is re-ordered. The concept may seem strange, however, if one thinks twice about the elections, U.S. candidates to the very same thing. Candidates insult each other—or what many call mud-slinging—in attempt to win over America. For a fresh example of this concept, take the U.S. presidential elections 2008 of Senator Barack Obama versus Senator John McCain.
“Dangerous,” “dishonorable,” “hypocritical,” and “not presidential” were just some of the words used in the McCain campaign against Barack Obama. He showed himself having the experience to lead while he asked America if Obama is “ready to lead?” In addition, as Damon mentioned in his election paper, candidates often depict themselves as in the middle of the political and economic spectrum while demonstrating how extremely left or right/good or bad their opponents are. In this case, one McCain ad showed that Obama was the most extreme liberal in the senate. Also, there were ads depicting or comparing Obama to Dr. No and even Moses.
In counter to McCain’s question of Obama’s experience in the political world, his campaign included the slogan: “We just can’t afford more of the same.” Obama’s campaign teased McCain’s age and traditional—or rather, Bush-like—ideas. Another frequent slogan was a direct quote from McCain to be used against him, “I voted with President Bush 90% of the time.” Of course, it is assumed that the many that did not agree that Bush...