The Beach Offering, Whale Truths, and Malls


I’m very excited to share the first mixed media Three Banana Thursday, with two textual bananas in this email and a third embedded in audio - just press the play button. Consider this a preview edition. I expect it to grow and change quite a bit.

The Beach Offering, and other rituals. This first audio banana, which you can find up there is about this blog post by Tara K. Shepersky: A Field Offering. I found it via a Twitter user who shares lots of good stuff of her own and from others, Lucy Bellwood (@lubellwoo). I promised some links in the notes to some of the thinkers in Ritual Studies who I read and enjoyed in college. They’re loosely in chronological order based on the family tree of Comparative Religion:

(Tweet embedding doesn’t seem to work in these episode pages, so I’ll copypasta these the old fashioned way…)

Watching malls morph. I had to run an errand a bit ago at a mall I rarely visit. When I got there, I found a space that felt way different from even the lower end malls with which I’m familiar. It’s not just that all the shops were less-than-premium brands; many of the shops were clearly occupied by different businesses than what the sign said outside. It was all transforming into gray market commerce, and it’s not that it was empty of patrons - it was clearly serving people’s needs. What’s happening to malls is a complicated question. It’s at least good to see the cavernous space finding a use that serves a community and willing local merchants instead of going completely vacant.

Some time later I saw this post by Ethan Zuckerman about a mall in Massachusetts that’s morphing in its own way, with an even more creative use of the space. Check this out:

Yeah, that’s a wrestling ring occupying a former Old Navy.

“Natives dunking on scientists is one of my favorite genres of literature”, a tweet by Low Arctic:

“In southwest Alaska, a group of scientists participating in a public hearing provided data demonstrating that Beluga whales did not feed on salmon. A group of local Alaska Natives (mainly Yupiaqs) persuaded the scientists to visit a nearby beach where they opened the stomach of a recently harvested Beluga. when several large salmon spilled out, one of the elders was reported to have said, “How’d those get in there then?”

Those are the 2 textual and 1 audio bananas I have for you this week. I’d love to hear what you think of the audio experiment. I really enjoyed putting it together and have a bunch of ideas for evolving it - if you have some as well, I’m all ears.

You can hit “reply” to this email and it’ll go only to me. Thank you.