[Sca-cooks] I is in teh East Kingdom!

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed May 6 17:55:02 PDT 2009

On May 6, 2009, at 7:38 PM, Ian Kusz wrote:

> Really?  I thought that was where the word "potluck" came from.

Pot luck (originally two words) is the gamble you assume when you  
arrive at someone's home unannounced, and are offered whatever is in  
the pot. This is known as taking pot luck; I believe the word  
"potluck" as in "potluck dinner", derives from this.

> As a celebration, I can see giving stuff away, but, unless you're  
> doing it
> for some "I'm not supposed to be letting this item get in the way of  
> my
> enlightenment" reason, destroying things seems to  
> me....well...wasteful.

Well, yes, it is. The object is to present not so much an attitude of  
enlightenment per se, but one of, "I'm so darned rich I can afford to  
be spiritual rather than materialistic. I am so not materialistic  
that... here, let me just show you."

> Was there any obligation placed upon the comers to the potlatch?

I believe there may be a self-imposed onus to compete with the host.  
The host would never be so crass as to actually suggest tit for tat.  
Besides, if the guest doesn't play, the host clearly wins ;-).

>  Did it
> make them...hmm....either subservient, or obligated to hold one, in  
> return,
> or anything?

I'm not sure how clearly defined the rules are/were, but when you  
travelled, if you were a person of substance, you brought Stuff,  
knowing your host would probably engage in the little game.

I'm really fond of the opening scene in the Tain Bo Cuailnge, wherein  
the King and Queen [of Connacht?] have a little marital spat over  
which is the more wealthy. Obviously, for marital harmony to reign,  
neither can actually win this little argument, and because they love  
each other, each sort of roots for the other to be able to match his  
or her own possessions. Eventually it transpires that the King owns an  
exceptionally large, beautiful, and amazingly fertile bull, one for  
which there is no match in all of Eire -- except one. In Ulster.  
Naturally, to uphold the honor of his lady, the King chivalrously  
offers to go to war with Ulster to acquire the bull for his wife.

Not quite your typical potlatch scenario, but an amusing bit of  
materialistic tit-for-tat.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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