Thursday, April 8, 2010
Area Anthropologist Breaks the Cape Town Seal
The job of the barstool anthropologist is to observe a new drinking community from the inside, without the prejudices of his or her own world view. This method is called liquor-cultural-relativity. Using this advance method, the community in question can be studied and valued for what it is, and not dismissed for the ways it differs from other, more familiar communities. My recent study of the Cape Town tribe has done just that, and my observations on the strange rituals practiced there have advanced my own understanding of how primitive communities function without the benefits of American technology, culture and Sam Seasonals. For the purpose of such scientific advancement, I have bellied-up to the anthropological bar. You can thank me later.
Here in Cape Town, an ancient tribal method is used for measuring the beautiful weather. I believe that, in the language of the natives, it is called a ‘Celsius’ scale, but don’t ask me how the method works or even quote me on the spelling.
Likewise, the distance between primitive dwellings and ‘watering holes’, which upon further investigation appear to remotely resemble modern pubs, is measured in strange increments, called Kilometers, or possibly Kilometres.
Upon entering these watering holes, the indigenous people are prone to an affinity for fermented beverages almost comparable to that of dear old Americans, but because of the severe resource shortage in these parts and an intense greed on the part of the proprietors of such structures, they have devised a primitive substitute for the modern ‘mixed-drink’ concept. Fermented liquors are portioned out stingily into drinking vessels, and are blended with mysteriously named and flavored liquids poured from crude miniature versions of our modern soda-cans. The Cape Town tribe, feeling the pressure of foreign visitors who arrive to view the indigenous spectacle, have adopted modern shot glasses for use at the watering holes, but have not yet perfected utilization of these measures. I attribute this crude attempt at technology to a misunderstanding of ounce measurement, and will suggest adding such information to the educational curriculum on the Western Cape. Without the implementation of this kind of knowledge, the single shot is too small, the double too large to make a proper beverage, and the tribe suffers greatly as a result. But just the presence of such modern tools gives visitors hope that one day, the natives here will enter the 21st century of alcohol consumption.
Who can imagine the purpose of such foreign language and rituals? And yet the natives seem to make do with these ancient ways of living and drinking. Perhaps, someday, an explorer more brave and influential than me will bring modern pub-crawl culture to these innocent inhabitants of the Cape Town tribe. Until then, one can only hope that they will continue to make scientific progress toward a lifestyle that includes such beautiful American concepts as ‘80 degrees and sunny’ and ‘Sam Summer with an Orange’.