Re: "The chemicals are bumping and grinding"

1

The peyote part of that NPR story is very misleading.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:48 PM
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1: You were the first person whose opinion I was curious about, actually. Question answered!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:49 PM
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3

I do my part.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:50 PM
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4

Yeah, so I guess I just close the comments now. That was quick. I should've just e-mailed you.

(Good thing I don't know how to close the comments.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:52 PM
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5

I should've just e-mailed you.

Well, now anyone else who might have been wondering about it knows too, so there's that. Plus, now that we have a thread, we can use it for whatever. We could even stay vaguely on topic and bitch about NPR.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:54 PM
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6

I could care less about NPR.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:55 PM
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7

That can be arranged.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:58 PM
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8

From the NPR link:

for the next 11 hours, the young men drummed, the roadman prayed, and everyone but me ingested a lot of peyote
Fucking weenie journalism. Reason number eleventy hundred that NPR sucks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:59 PM
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9

5 makes me wonder if there's a subsection of Standpipe's blog where teo explains helpul non-joke-related internet things. I suspect there must be.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 10:59 PM
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10

The neuroscience in the NPR story is wildly pointless and misleading, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:00 PM
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11

I suspect there must be.

If there isn't, we could use this thread for it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:00 PM
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12

Plus, now that we have a thread, we can use it for whatever

Like getting you to score us some peyote?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:01 PM
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13

Like getting you to score us some peyote?

No, not that. Get your own damn peyote.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:03 PM
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14

If there isn't, we could use this thread for it.

Sweet! Teo: what's the deal with RSS feeds? Who is this RSS character and why must it be fed so often?

Also: I'm on peyote right now, if that helps. (If doesn't help, I'm not on peyote.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:03 PM
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On the NPR-sucks topic: In the car with my mom today I heard an NPR story about sexually suggestive dialogue in sitcoms. It was just as excruciating as it sounds.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:04 PM
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16

Neat, Stanley invents the peyote conditional.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:04 PM
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No, not that. Get your own damn peyote.

Fucking weenie commenting. Reason number eleventy hundred that Unfogged sucks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:04 PM
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18

The other day on NPR I heard McArdle. True story.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:04 PM
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19

Who is this RSS character and why must it be fed so often?

I've wondered that myself. Can't help you, I'm afraid.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:04 PM
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20

You may not have known this, teo, but adults often capitalize on contextually inappropriate but grammatically available alternative meanings for humorous intent.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:05 PM
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21

20: Now you tell me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:07 PM
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22

18: Yeah, me too. But they have Goldberg and Frum on all the time, so it's hardly surprising. She'll probably end up as a regular on Talk of the Nation.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:08 PM
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23

Has Yglesias ever been on NPR?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:09 PM
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22: oh man, I do believe today they had Frum on and referred to him as "historian David Frum".

I can only hope ari hasn't committed seppuku from the shame of it all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:09 PM
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25

There's a spare ari anyway.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:10 PM
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26

I would like to know why undergraduate accounting majors feel the need to insert the phrase "As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words" into any paper discussing poetic imagery. When I ask them why they are so fucking hostile to poetry that they would go around replacing all of it with photographs, it becomes painfully clear that they have never thought about what "A picture is worth a thousand words" could ever mean in any context. IT IS JUST A STRING OF WORDS SOMEHOW RELATED TO IMAGES AND WORDS. It did not occur to them that this string of words might seem, oh, a little odd in a paper about poems.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:11 PM
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27

23: He was on Marketplace maybe a year and a half ago, not sure if there are other times.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:11 PM
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28

Talk of the Nation

I have a Chemist friend who regularly flips his shit about Science Friday. I make it a point of bringing up the most recent episode, just for a good 30-40 minutes of entertaining diatribe. Good times!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:11 PM
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29

I could not care less about NPR.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:12 PM
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30

When I ask them why they are so fucking hostile to poetry that they would go around replacing all of it with photographs, it becomes painfully clear that they have never thought about what "A picture is worth a thousand words" could ever mean in any context.

One of these semesters one of them is going to submit an essay that consists entirely of photographs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:13 PM
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28: yeah, my friends were on it a few times talking about computer security, and boy oh boy did Flatow not understand what they were so patiently trying to explain to him.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:14 PM
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32

From the dawn of man, webster's has defined a picture as "one thousand words." In conclusion, QED.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:14 PM
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33

I think you're reading too much into that phrase.

Besides, as Donald Davidson taught us, "a picture is not worth a thousand words, or any other number. Words are the wrong currency to exchange for a picture.".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:14 PM
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34

You should all be making fun of the grammar video guy more, too. I'm disappointed. Not that it matters. But I am.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:16 PM
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35

33 -> 26


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:16 PM
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36

I do believe today they had Frum on and referred to him as "historian David Frum"

I always think of him, in the manner of the John Frum cult, as "David from... that island in the logic puzzles where everybody lies."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:16 PM
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37

Picture? Tis but a word. I'm off to find a keg. Tell Hal that he used to be cool.


Posted by: undergrad falstaff | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:16 PM
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38

You should all be making fun of the grammar video guy more, too.

That would require watching the video.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:17 PM
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39

You should all be making fun of the grammar video guy more, too

He means well. It's not his fault he's a rigid dork.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:17 PM
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40

One of these semesters one of them is going to submit an essay that consists entirely of photographs.

One of Armsmasher's students apparently asked to submit a drawing instead of writing a paper. Art students don't really like to write, it turns out.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:17 PM
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41

Well, fucking duh, 33.2. If only Sir Philip Sidney had a Polaroid, he could have just taken a pitiful picture of his antisocial unrequited love as reflected in the moon?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:17 PM
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42

33: I don't think you're seeing AWB's point.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:17 PM
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43

I never watch videos. I'd rather read 30,000 words per second.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:17 PM
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44

Well, fucking duh, 33.2. If only Sir Philip Sidney had a Polaroid, he could have just taken a pitiful picture of his antisocial unrequited love as reflected in the moon?

Uh, what?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:19 PM
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45

33.1 and 33.2 have nothing to do with each other, incidentally.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:19 PM
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46

I am suddenly weary. Thanks for all your poetic efforts today! You made me happy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:21 PM
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47

No, not since 33.2 fucked my 16-year old sister.


Posted by: 33.1 | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:23 PM
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48

I was trying to connect to wireless at a relative's place this weekend and one of the networks was "Sifuland". Secured, however.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:30 PM
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49

Dude, they plagiarised my use of the most commonly spoken word in Kung Fu movies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:31 PM
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50

Something's wrong with 49, but I don't quite know what it is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:33 PM
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51

There used to be a martial arts place across the street; I meant to check if it was still there when I was leaving but forgot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:41 PM
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52

So check when you come back.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:43 PM
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53

What if I come back to a different place?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:47 PM
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54

Are We Capitalizing Now?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:47 PM
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55

You can only come back to different places, JP.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:48 PM
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56

PLAGIARIST!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HERACLITUS | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:52 PM
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57

Then you can never come back at all.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:53 PM
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58

57: FML


Posted by: Lassie | Link to this comment | 05-18-09 11:55 PM
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59

Tell me about it.


Posted by: thomas wolfe | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 12:03 AM
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60

Read 51 as "marital arts"; paging dr freud


Posted by: HamLove | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 12:37 AM
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61

Are you people watching Party Down! on the Starz network*? You oughta should be. It's very funny.

*by which I mean, on the internet. By hook or by crook.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 12:40 AM
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I am not watching Party Down! on the Starz network.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 12:48 AM
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63

Neither am I.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 1:04 AM
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64

What about you?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 1:09 AM
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65

Becks-style at a goth club in SF trying not to totally embarrass myself. Not sure what relevance to OP. That's your problem.


Posted by: HamLove | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 1:44 AM
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66

Trying to relocate a girl who came in with a stuffed animal earlier for oblique flirtation.


Posted by: HamLove | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 1:46 AM
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67

Not sure what relevance to OP.

To "The chemicals are bumping and grinding?" It's the most on-topic response yet.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 1:53 AM
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68

I've had 3 roofie coladas, apparently.


Posted by: hamlove | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:30 AM
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69

Who is this RSS character and why must it be fed so often?

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh developed RSS software as a publicity campaign after their political arm, the BJP, lost the 2004 Indian elections. Fact.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 3:47 AM
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I presume that when teo says that the peyote section is wrong, he is referring only to this sentence: Using peyote to touch the spiritual world has been central to the Navajo religion for hundreds of years. Because everything else is either a direct quote or a first hand observation. I wonder, teo, if you would still consider the statement incorrect if we replace central to with known to practioners of?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 4:32 AM
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Teo and Sifu, can you guys explain how the segment is wrong? Because otherwise I don't know any more than I did before.*

*N.b. I don't actually listen to NPR, so I'm a bit amused that the reason I heard some of this segment is that it was playing when I was in the bathroom at the local NPR station. Unavoidable public radio!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 6:32 AM
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Are you people watching Party Down! on the Starz network*? You oughta should be. It's very funny.

Hmm. I watched a couple of episodes, and felt sort of 'meh' about it. But Kristen Bell is guest-starring? Surely anything involving Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell is good, right?

(I miss Veronica Mars far more than it is reasonable to miss a TV show. Sob.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 6:47 AM
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Surely anything involving Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell is good, right?

I have no idea who those people are (I take it he's not the Matchbox 20 singer?), but it can't possibly compete with Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, right? Right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 7:14 AM
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I did learn on Science Friday from a microbiologist that rhinoviruses are not killed by alcohol sanitizer and in fact like it, so it's still very important to wash your hands. They're doing research to see whether citric acid works. Not complicated science but still worth knowing.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 8:22 AM
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it can't possibly compete with Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, right? Right?

What could?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:22 AM
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rhinoviruses are not killed by alcohol sanitizer and in fact like it,

"Par-tay! It's raining booze!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:33 AM
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when I was in the bathroom at the local NPR station

NPB. If you enjoy National Public Bathroom, won't you consider membership?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 11:13 AM
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71: without reopening the article, the stupid "bouncer" description of how serotonin works, while vaguely applicable to any modulatory neurotransmitter, really has nothing to do with why entheogens might increase levels of it. Also, the link between serotonergic chemicals and mystical experience is tenuous verging on debunked, as plenty of event mediated mystical and/or religious experiences happen during events (strokes, seizures) that have nothing at all to do with the serotonin system. Finally, the article managed to completely elide the fact that neuroscientists basically don't know at all what serotonin does -- there are some guesses, but that's about as far as it goes.

There actually are some okay global theories as to the origin of spiritual experiences in the game, none of which got mentioned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 11:52 AM
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70: Note that I didn't say the section was "wrong," I said it was "misleading." The sentence you quote is in fact the only one I would suggest is inaccurate, and your proposed emendation does more or less fix it.

The problem isn't with the account itself, which I have no reason to doubt is totally accurate as to what went on at the peyote ceremony and what the participants said about it, but with what it implies about the role of peyote in Navajo religion. The way she tells the story and describes the participants makes it sound like this is a part of traditional Navajo culture going back centuries, when peyotism is really a very recent development.

While it's certainly possible that Navajo medicine men have been aware of peyote and used it on occasion for a long time (although I've never seen any actual argument that this is the case), the specific type of peyote ceremonialism described in the story is associated with the Native American Church, which originated in Oklahoma in the 1880s and only spread to the Navajos some time in the twentieth century. As the Wikipedia article (which is somewhat confusing and self-contradictory but still has a lot of information) explains, the NAC is an syncretic movement combining a variety of traditions originating in Christianity and Plains and Mexican Indian ceremonialism. As the name implies, Jesus plays a big role in the rites. In keeping with the movement's Plains roots, ceremonies are conducted in tipis. The peyote is Mexican, of course.

None of this, you may note, is at all Navajo. Navajos have not traditionally accorded any particular importance to peyote, which doesn't grow in the Navajo country, and they don't live in tipis. Traditional Navajo religion revolves around a very complicated system of ceremonies conducted by medicine men in particular circumstances. These ceremonies are generally conducted in hogans and involve chanting and the creation (and subsequent destruction) of sandpaintings. No tipis, no peyote.

Which is not to say that there's anything "inauthentic" about the peyote ceremony described in the story. The participants are clearly Navajo, and Lukachukai is on the Navajo Reservation. The best way to think of this sort of ceremony, though, is to compare it not to traditional Navajo sings but to Christian revival meetings, which are also quite popular on many parts of the reservation. The spiritual breakthrough that the Navajo woman experiences could easily be replaced by a personal revelation (or whatever) at a revival meeting and it wouldn't change the story at all except to emphasize the non-traditional nature of the religious event in a way the story doesn't.

So, if this woman wanted to attend a peyote ceremony and report on it, why did she choose a Navajo one rather than, say, a Comanche one in Oklahoma? You'd have to ask her, of course, but I can think of one possible reason. Many tribes these days are very secretive and protective of their traditions and their religion (which, as I mentioned above, are not necessarily the same thing). I suspect a lot of Plains tribes are like this and they may not want outsiders attending their peyote rites. Navajos, however, have historically been very open to outsiders attending ceremonies, and that attitude is still quite strong. I don't know very much about the Native American Church, so I don't know how typical it is among most practitioners to allow outside observers like this, but I do know that among Navajos it's standard practice for traditional ceremonies and it's hardly surprising that that openness would extend to peyotism as well.

What's interesting about all this is that it doesn't actually matter within the context of the story. She's just looking for a colorful anecdote about spiritual experience, and she gets it. To make it more colorful, she obscures the background of the religious practice in question a bit, but since her main focus is on the spiritual experience itself it still works fine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 12:43 PM
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80

I'm going to start a new religion based on dropping acid.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:33 PM
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81

In 78 for some reason I wrote "game" for "brain". Fascinating!

80: you'll be far from the first.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:38 PM
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79.last: I'm not sure "it still works fine" is what I would say. It seems like some very surface level reporting of a titillating experience coupled with some really, really half-assed attempts to describe the backstory in a couple of different directions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:41 PM
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It seems like some very surface level reporting of a titillating experience coupled with some really, really half-assed attempts to describe the backstory in a couple of different directions.

Indeed, but that seems to be what she was going for.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:46 PM
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84

Well, okay. As a colorful piece of fluff that manages to be misleading and uninormative, it is very successful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:52 PM
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"uninformative", but "uninormative" should be a word, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:52 PM
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As a colorful piece of fluff that manages to be misleading and uninormative, it is very successful.

Comity!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 2:53 PM
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I'm going to start a new religion based on comity. You're only a heretic if you're a heretic.


Posted by: Unpronounceable Awl | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 3:56 PM
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