Friday, 25 January 2013


 'The Hospitality of Abraham' aka the Holy Trinity, by Andrey Rublev c.1410
Will ye no come back again
Hospitality is on my mind. The guest is sacred to many cultures, including once our own.
I have ordered a book about it: On Hospitality by Jacques Derrida.I have a nasty feeling he may complicate the otherwise simple proposition that a guest may be a god in disguise. Biding farewell yesterday to a visitor, who offered his hand to me across the threshold I explained that he must either come back inside or that we should both stand outside: -->
'Не через порога'! (not across the threshold) as they say in Russia. Liminal spaces, neither in nor out, are to be avoided. Hence too, according to the structuralists (Levi-Strauss et al), the prohibition of certain meats or combinations of food. Nothing to do with practicality or fear of infection. Pork is taboo in some cultures because the animal has a cloven hoof but is an omnivore, therefore defies category. As it happens, I have eaten horse. The family of my French Caribbean penfriend, Any, from Guadaloupe, served it one evening as a treat when I stayed with them in Chalons-sur-Marne as it was then called, in 1956. By the way: the so-called massacre at Glen Coe, of Macdonalds by soldiers who included Campbells, is an example of the extreme abuse of hospitality,  'Murder under Trust', because the soldiers were ostensibly guests of the Macdonalds. A solemn highland tradition was thereby hideously violated when the soldiers turned on their hosts. Have a nice day!

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