As those who regularly check out this blog (and not just its Photo Hunt entries) know, I have a fondness for photos of large spiders that I've come to realize is not shared by some of the blog's visitors. However, I'm actually not sure whether these people know that I also find the webs that spiders weave fascinating as well as beautiful.
Maybe it's the symbolic anthropology training I received (courtesy of Kathleen Adams, now of Loyola University of Chicago but previously a professor at Beloit College, my favorite alma mater by far) but it also is the case that the sight of the spider webs often get me thinking not so much that humans are prone to weave tangled webs in order to deceive (to paraphrase a Sir Walter Scott quote) but, instead -- to quote my favorite definition of culture, one made by the great symbolic anthropologist Clifford Geertz -- that "Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun..." (with those webs of significance being culture).
For those who ever wondered (and hadn't previously read this entry I wrote back in this blog's early days), that quote from Geertz's The Interpretation of Cultures (1973), is indeed where I got this blog's name from. And yes, I do think that my choice of blog name does symbolically show that I may have said goodbye to the groves of academe but that I still do often see the world through anthropological eyes. (Something that I trust would make Larry Breitborde, another one of my influential Beloit professors, happy as he did tell us, his students, that his ambition wasn't to produce anthropology professors but, rather, people who could use anthropology -- and for whom anthropology would be of use -- in their life.)