As Mandated By the Pre-Nup

Our favorite headline of the day is “Bigamist Ordered to Give Pig and Buffalo,” which rather sums up the article. A Borneo man took a second wife, a violation of the custom of his “indigenous community,” so he was punished via livestock by the local Native Court. The first wife also got custody of the three kids, of equal or lesser value. They’re gonna have one hell of a stew tonight!

Bigamist Ordered to Give Pig and Buffalo [NYTimes]

Updated: A curmudgeonly anthropologist friend of ours wrote, “cut the pop anthropology, please - this is a perfectly normal outcome in customary law. The pig and buffalo function not as food but as wealth.” To which we say, duh, it was a joke. Because as everyone knows, buffalo makes a terrible stew meat.

Updated again: The C.A. responds: “I was just being a curmudgeon, not an anthropologist. I obviously have no idea what’s going on in that village, and wouldn’t want to go on the record as saying that ‘food’ and ‘wealth’ even represent a viable distinction there.

That part of Malaysia lies within what anthropologist Roy Wagner has called the ‘Holographic Zone.’ Much like an epistemological Bermuda Triangle, the Zone is where Euro-American notions of subjects and objects are especially prone to fall apart.”

And soon it will be the “Palm Plantation Zone”!


As Mandated By the Pre-Nup