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happy new year! yeah i finally have read 'the gift' - jen gave it to me for christmas. will no doubt compose some thoughts around it at some point soon.


"What is central and universal to this institution is the notion that the gift is used-up or consumed. The expenditure or loss could occur through destruction or gift exchange". I am strongly reminded of the 80's film Babettes Feast, in which she uses up what was considered a fortune by her frugle townsfolk in one meal. Also I think of the annointing of Jesus by a woman with expensive nard; the disciples were indignant, asking about the waste and the fact that ther was a high utilitarian value on the perfume. Jesus responds, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me... what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Last observation: "unconditional expenditure" vs "conspicuous consumption" - this really gets to the heart of the matter. This kind of dialectic is exactly what is needed in new liturgy. Its all too easy to position oneself as anti-consumerist and then end up in the bourgeois universal meanness you refer to. I think the whole potlach thesis has legs; and it also has a profound rooting in that most basic of religious acts: the sacrifice. Great work, this meme is a'humming ...

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