The dietary supplements had ominous names, like Black Widow and Yellow Scorpion. They contained an illegal and potentially dangerous molecule, similar in structure to amphetamines.
But when a Harvard researcher dared to point that out, in a scientific, peer-reviewed study and in media interviews, the supplement maker sued him for libel and slander.
Since his release from prison in the 1980s, Carlos Rafael has ruthlessly run his Massachusetts seafood business with little regard for the law. But is there any other way to survive the gauntlet of restrictions on the New England fishing industry?
That books still make money at all is something of a miracle. (And to be fair, the vast majority of books don’t make money; publishing, like baseball, is a game predicated on failure.) No market could be less rationalized, or as Strayed puts it, “There’s no other job in the world where you get your master’s degree in that field and you’re like, ‘Well, I might make zero or I might make $5 million.’ ”
Studying anthropology, you are never not made acutely conscious of this history. It is, or should be, the same as when studying history, or politics, or science. The language and paradigms of oppression are ones we must continually be un-learning.
But what makes anthropology so utterly poignant to me, as a discipline, what makes it remarkable, is what comes through in the process of ethnographic fieldwork, and what is often the only tangible evidence of that process: what has been written.
Anyone who has experienced Paul Auster’s hall-of-mirrors postmodern experiments knows to be on her guard for funny business, and it takes time to acclimate to the novel’s logic. The structure makes perfect sense once you get used to it, but the first few chapters open in ways that don’t immediately reveal we are being treated to four separate realities (even if you read the jacket copy).
This is a novel that, despite its chronological lurches, feels entirely sure footed, propulsive, the work of a master at his very best. The brilliance of Moonglow stands as a strident defence of the form itself, a bravura demonstration of the endless mutability and versatility of the novel.
One of the most beautiful photographs I know of is an image of a woman standing in the doorway of a barn, backlit in a sheer nightgown, peeing on the floorboards beneath her. It was taken in Danville, Virginia, in 1971, by the photographer Emmet Gowin, and the woman in question is his wife, Edith. The picture is so piercingly intimate that I find it difficult even to look at it. This is not because I feel as if I am intruding, or being shown something that I was not meant to see, but simply because it seems to hover too close to the vital force of human connection. It is too poignant, too alive. Rather than merely avoiding clichés—about love and intimacy, artist and muse, public and private—the picture seems to repel them, as an amulet repels evil spirits.