27 December 2011

Potbelly hill

Nearly all the women were wearing head scarves, even burkas. I saw one woman so pious that her burka didn't even have an opening for her eyes. She was leaving a cell-phone store, accompanied by a teen-age boy wearing a T-shirt that said "RELAX, MAN," over a picture of an ice-cream cone playing en electric guitar. You wouldn't think an ice cream could play a electric guitar, or would want to. I was reminded of Schmidt's hypothesis [with respect to Göbekli Tepe] that hybrid creatures, unknown to neolithic man, are particular to highly developed cultures - cultures which have achieved distance from and fear of nature. If archeologists of the future found this T-shirt, they would know that ours had been a civilization of great refinement.
-- from The Sanctuary by Elif Batuman, who says that she likes to think that 'when it comes to identifying a headless man with an erection, I'm as sharp-eyed as the next person.'

Among the things about Göbekli Tepe that I did not know, and learned from Batuman's piece, is archaeologists speculate that the weak foundations of the stones may have had some acoustic purpose: perhaps the pillars were meant to hum in the wind. (See this)

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