From firstname.lastname@example.org Wed Sep 12 10:22:08 1990
From: email@example.com (Sara Duncan)
Subject: anthropological study
Keywords: science, chuckle, original
(I wrote this myself while lamenting the plight of the pitiful graduate
Sara Duncan firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Pedagological Tribal System of Primitive Cultures of the
Scientific Research Community
This study deals with a pedagological tribal system with
definite, almost overwhelming paternalistic mores and codes.
I had had some difficulty studying these tribes because they are
quite fierce and often impossible to communicate with except
in their own languages, which are diverse and may have roots
in latin. (I, however, tend to hold that these languages are a
development of the tribes themselves and are a major
contributory factor in their continued isolation from the
global community.) In general, members also appear to have
little ability to learn new languages. To overcome these
barriers, I am attempting to infiltrate a tribe and become a
full-fledged member of it. I am currently undergoing
initiation rites in a southeastern tribe called "Physiology
and Pharmacology". This is a preliminary report of my current
The adult males of any of the tribes which can be grouped
under the broad designation "researchers" are called
"professors" and sometimes "doctors".
The terms are not entirely interchangeable as the
higher ranking males are always referred to as "doctor"
whereas "professor" is a more generic term for all adult
males who have completed any variation of the initiation
process which is called "graduate school".
There are two groups of females in this culture, one group is
granted low ranking status as a quasi-male with
responsibilities similar to the very low-ranking males. They
are referred to as "professors" also, but are never actually
allowed to progress beyond certain set heirarchial levels.
This group is not often granted reproductive status. The
second group of females could be classified as sub-adult, as
they are never granted any of the rights of the full adult,
which is, of course, always male or quasi-male. They are
termed "professor's wives" and may only assume any status
through the male to whom they are attached and by telephone
calls to secretaries. The phone calling privilege is unique to
the "professor's wife" and is *never* usurped.
Interestingly, offspring of these unions are not acknowledged
within the culture and leave the tribe upon reaching
Reproduction is quite unusual and very interesting! The
tribes call this "recruitment". Several select members of the
tribe, usually middle-ranking males and even a few quasi-male
females travel to distant tribes called "undergraduate
colleges" where they put on quite lovely displays and make
generous offers to the neonates from the "undergraduate
colleges". This is similar to courtship in some cultures, but
is directed at procuring neonates. The neonates put on a
secondary display for the professors of their choosen tribe,
wherein they accept the wonderous offers. These are very
intricate dances, and only the best research tribes and neonates
Once the new tribe members have arrived at their new tribe,
however, initiation may take anywhere from four to
seven years. I have seen examples of initiates being
subjected to trials for eight years! This does vary somewhat,
but the general rule is an extrordinarily long and quite
demanding set of incomprehensible tests that the candidates
for initiation must perform well on. These are similar to the
tribes of Africa who have to walk on hot coals in bare feet or
draw elaborate scars on all parts of their bodies. The
actual trials are called "preliminary exams" "qualifying
exams" and, of course the dreaded "dissertation defense" rite.
Unfortunatly, I have not yet been made privy to all the
inuendos of this final rite. Although I have been allowed to
watch during several. I was actually required to watch this
horrible test of human ability to withstand the agony of hours
of questions in very highly ceremonial language, many words of
which I am not yet informed. The medicine man of the tribe
changes for each different initiate. He is called the "major
professor", possibly referring to his power during the rite of
passage. The power of the medicine man is reflected on the
initiate and will follow him through his entire adult life.
These tribes have not yet been well characterized. This is
understandable in light of the extreme reclusivity and
exclusivity of all of the research tribes I have encountered.
Yet this should not preclude further in-depth analysis of a
truly unique way of life. I shall continue work within my
present tribe in hopes of becoming a full fledged member, as
it were, and of coming to full understanding of this culture.
Edited by Brad Templeton. MAIL your jokes (jokes ONLY) to funny@looking.ON.CA
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