so once I was called brethren

This happened when I posted a report in an online forum about successfully beating a massive spider mite invasion on plants without using azadirachtines and pyrethrine containing insecticids.

I am beginning to concretely think about creating pseudonyms for my contacts in SL [Second Life]. That’s a totally difficult part. What’s in a name. Identity. I have to create a system of meaning that encodes the meanings that those people have for me–to preserve their anonymity, to secure their privacy.

[8:19] You: o btw
[8:20] You: i have written some piece in my blog
[8:20] him: ah
[8:20] You: in december it was
[8:20] him: blog
[8:20] You: you are mentioned there so i thought u d be interested to read it
[8:20] him: i don’t have your blog link
[8:20] You: i give you

IM: [8:21] me:
IM: [8:21] me:

IM: [8:21] him: thanks
IM: [8:22] You: i cook anoither coffee brb
IM: [8:22] him: oh that’s long i’ll read that later xD
IM: [8:22] him: ok i read a little so

IM: [8:26] him: for talking about me you talk about me a lot and some really private stuff, so please never put my name in this blog ,-)
IM: [8:27] him: even if all the people that know us would know who you are talking about
IM: [8:27] him: but that was fun for me to read that
IM: [8:31] me: dont worry
IM: [8:31] me: i dont name any name there
IM: [8:32] me: i dont name [our home sim]
IM: [8:32] him: yes it’s ok
IM: [8:32] him: :-)

IM: [8.34] me: i share the link to enable the people i write about to interfere
IM: [8:34] me: on whatever way
IM: [8:34] me: comments there
IM: [8:34] me: IM email
IM: [8.34] me: or if there is something somefeels is missing
IM: [8:34] me: or to correct me
IM: [8:34] him: mm ok but i’m to shy to make comments on website
IM: [8:34] me: see?
IM: [8:34] me: yes
IM: [8:35] me: i never do that
IM: [8:35] me: but you could tell me on IM what you think
IM: [8:35] me: even never talk in forums
IM: [8:35] me: if you want
IM: [8:35] him: oh that i could for sure
IM: [8:35] me: like not wanting to find u r name there
IM: [8:35] me: or of you thjink im writing something wrong or so
IM: [8:35] me: well if you say the same things i just read no i don’t
IM: [8:35] me: or of u think u dont want something there at all
IM: [8:36] me: no you can write about me using my name, but not about so personal stuff like what happened to me
IM: [8:36] me: no i wont name anyone
IM: [8:37] him: ah ok
IM: [8:37] me: one name leads to another on the web

IM: [8:37] me: ..but its hard to create pseudonyms for real people :)
IM: [8:37] me: do you have a preference? *smiles
IM: [8:38] me: actually i wont really even name [our home sim] because […] the term is linked on the net to people
IM: [8:38] me: yes
IM: [8:38] him: but no i prefer to let you chose a nick for me
IM: [8:39] me: as i wont link my flickr there
IM: [8:39] me: hehe dang. ok. .-)

IM: [8:39] him: ok good

more mwesch on youtube

I was scanning YouTube for something entirely else when i ran into Mike Wesch‘s latest youtube clips today. Not only he has found a brilliant way of introducing himself and the students of his Digital Ethnography class at Kansas State University to their field [Introducing our YouTube Ethnography Project], also a video of his World Simulation seminar is on [part 1, part 2, part 3]. See related Savage Minds entries here and here.

And once you’re there and you haven’t watched it yet, invest a few minutes at Wesch’s Web 2.0 … the machine is us/ing us. Meanwhile a final version has been set up and a growing number of video responses have been uploaded. (27 when I began to write this entry.)

yahoo answers

Someone has linked my ethnography tag to answer someone else’s question on Yahoo! Answers whether anyone knows anything on ethnographer interference.

“Any examples of ethnographer interference?

I’m trying to write a paper about objectivity in anthropology and interference by the ethnographers. What I’m getting at is that we shouldn’t be interfering in other cultures rituals or beliefs. For example, someone is doing their fieldwork and objects to the way that the culture treats their children, they don’t have the right to interfere, because how do we know whats best for them. Anyways, does anyone know of some good anthropological articles that I can use in my research? Either for or against interference, or even some key words to use in search engines would be helpful. Thanks!”

Quickly checking the reference I found two entries of mine tagged ‘ethnography’ in this blog and doubt they have helped much.  My as quickly thrown out literature recommendation  anyway would be Lorraine Daston on ‘The Culture of Scientific Objectivity’ and Max Weber on ‘Objectivity in Social Science’.     

humour 2.1

  Let me begin with something that seems completely unrelated to the dialog I’m referring to.

tigerheadskull.jpgFreddy Frinton‘s comedy sketch Dinner for One  [non-deutschophone passengers pass here and here or better: watch video here (11 min)] and its reception is of special interest to anyone who humanologically works on the phenomenon of national culture. [The theoretical reflection of any humor and laughter related issues is another big branch that interdisciplinarily deals with Dinner for One. Furthermore it is the intersection of those approaches that can be concretened on the academic Gegenstand of Dinner for One, too.] 

What I want to do though is not asking why people in Germany do watch it and periodically do laugh about it on the evening of Dec 31st since 1972, but spending a moment on the reflection of why Dinner for One in Great Britain, where it stems from, is less laughed about.  To this purpose I’ll reproduce some of the impulses one of my teachers had given in class last summer for in a way they correspond with why I don’t laugh when watching Dinner for One, either. 

Professor Stollmann has directed my attention on details I formerly had perceived as mere slapstick elements Laurel and Hardy or Didi Hallervorden alike. I never spent attention on who is represented at Miss Sophie’s table, as there is Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr. Pommeroy and Mr. Winterbottom. [“Is everybody here”, Miss Sophie asks having come down the stairway to the hall. “Indeed, they are, yeah. They are all here for your anniversary, Miss Sophie,” James the Butler replies. “All five places are laid out?” she reassures.  “All laid out as usual”, he reconfirms.] Two of four guests are civil citizens, one is a representant of the Oberhaus, one represents the military. What always has stuck me instead is the laid out fifth place at the table.  [See transcript on NDR.] No I’m no numerologist. What I want to say is Dinner for One for me always has been a representation of social drama in the first place. Too close I am to old people’s places within our society and too close I always have been to friends getting drawn into alcoholism to be able to laugh about James the Butler in his drunkenness.      

I never spent attention on what element of the furniture the butler constantly stumbles on which is a tigerskin–its prepared skull, to be exact.  As for Germany’s relatively short colonial history and the lack of broad identification as Kolonialmacht with all of its postmodern implications, that artefact of british colonial past in India when stumbled on is perceived differently than if it was identified as element of one’s own past: It’s the Other(s), its not related to “myself” and “my past”, so it can be laughed about.  /me  personally had not seen the tigerskull as a colonial artefact but as a means to transport the “drunken butler” as a mere slapstick element. It could have been anything else. But of course a comedy sketch is a composed arrangement and anything in it is chosen by purpose. Between finding something funny or not may lie the individual distance to the Gegenstand. James anyway appears to stumble on the tigerskull already before the dinner begins.

Lets now turn to something related. I personally am sick of blinking text that comes along with a variety of advertisement techniques offline and online. So that’s why I just could not get the joke.   

“Someone from the Hansestadt Bremen, be it by accident, or may there be deeper issues beyond mere chance, accused me of having used derogatory speech, unworthy of an anthropologist, as out of my mouth had come the words ‘nomads’ and ‘tribe’,” I am told.

I have no idea of “deeper issues beyond mere chance” and no idea about who from my department has been in the audience in the workshop Zephyrin participated at EASA 06 in Bristol.

“I … had to answer to the tribe-accusation, and said: ‘I didn’t say “tribe”. I said “my tribe”!’ To end the now emerging complete bewilderment I finally spoiled it all by explaining: ‘By Jove, it’s a joke!’ 

Reading his research blog from its beginning I have noticed him using the expression “my tribe” often and I actually do doubt it being a mere joke. That “accusation” in Bristol would have been a perfect possibility to a) distinct Participant Observation from Thick Participation (this is a hot spot still in the discipline, as anyone will know, dealing with issues of objectivity and academic distance related to the etic/emic debate) and b) point to the interrelation he has with his  field transfered on a different level than the technical. (His paper was about multitasking and the different channels that are used for communication within the community he researches, as far as I remember.)  Another reason for taking up that “accusation” seriously is that it moreover would have been a great chance to push towards an academic reflection of  “political correctness” regarding knowledge production and towards an ethnography of what is not spoken about. 

Wish I had been there to raise my voice.   



In an interview conducted a while ago I asked a gamer who high-frequently plays first-person shooter games for what happens while playing. As this was sort of a “big question” that could have been answered in various regards and areas of reflection, I specified myself in order to direct his introspection on the biophysical level I was interested in. I asked for “… the pouring out of adrenaline?” which prooved to be spot-on.

He reconfirmed my assumption and even stepped one forward by setting the “hint word” ‘adrenaline’ in a specific context which was ‘Angst’.

Note, the pour out of adrenaline e.g. could have been connected with ‘aggression’ in the first place too, which actually would imply a different starting point of reflection. I think I actually was thinking from the ‘aggression’ corner as that is what I had thought of earlier reflecting a personal friend of mine’s reasons to play shooter games and what had made me attentive to the physical pour out of said substance.

I then was described a practice he called verschnaufen [to breathe].

[ be continued.]