Dear Mudge, Tribal Context


Dear Mudge,

Didn’t work a day in 2019? What did you call that work-a-day drudgery where you slogged, scene-by-scene, through that teencom “Fifteen” for Notes from the Avalon? If that wasn’t work, I’ve got a slew of yard “scenes” for you that need editing (mowing and pruning)…

I like your choice in calendars. I, for one, don’t use one. What future event do I have to look forward to that deserves a reminder or planning? Now, if I knew the date and time of my death, I’d gladly buy a stack of calendars (or just the one) to eagerly “X” off the days. I recall a time-management guru who once said, subtract your age from 80, multiple that by 52 and go buy that many marbles, placing them in a jar on your shelf. Every Saturday, take one out and throw it away. A sobering reminder of the passage of time.

In this letter I’d like to examine the concept of tribes and the context they provide.

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that within this narrow context of our correspondence we’ve developed a tribe of sorts, surely between the two of us, but I’d expand the embrace and say there are numerous others who participate in this philosophical experiment—the examination of life’s puzzles and choices, being the focus. And within that focus, were recommendations voiced: movies, books, cartoons, art, etc. we’d be inclined to trust those recommendations. Trust the Tribe.

Other tribes that we might examine are satellite to this one but still important: one’s family, one’s work place, other’s whom you share thoughts of cuisine, travel, hobbies, and so forth. All tribal circles, if you will, that, within their own context, provide valuable guidance in choosing directions.

TomBeingTom, for instance, has his football/beer tribe, a group he trusts to recommend like-minded pursuits and suggestions: restaurants, team sports, BBQ recipes, cheese-dip… From them, he’s unlikely to accept advice on erudite non-fiction books regarding human evolution. He’s got other tribes for that.

In this way, the cultivation of numerous, individual tribal contexts seems like a crucial aspect to developing a working, enjoyable lifestyle. Different peeps for different needs and situations.

Ultimately, it would be nice to have a single context which provides for all one’s questions and accepts, in turn, one’s recommendations. In actuality, just the opposite seems to be the trend, factions of fractions, all with narrowly defined goals and stipulations.

Your tribe selection appears limited. Mine just as much. This tribe of folks here is a strangely time-dominate context, one my wife grudgingly bequeaths.

What are your thoughts on this concept? Additionally, what are your thoughts on how the media has used it to divide and conquer our sentiments and beliefs, and if you have notable tribes, currently or in the past, what might they be and how do you think they influence (have influenced) your life.

New year like the old year, only greyer and slower.

Your friend,

PS: Thanks to Audrey Driscoll for the prompt for this post: The “Why” of recommendations.


16 thoughts on “Dear Mudge, Tribal Context

  1. You’re quite right, my friend, for the most part. My beer-swigging, ref-screaming tribe fills that competitive/bro necessity in my genes, but a couple of them are also my philosophical tribe, as well. We share our thoughts on books and politics between crunching tackles and hail marys. But, mostly, it’s about the beer, the laughs, and the game.

    Ironically, I once went to a comic book/gaming convention (just once) and found that tribe to be incredibly unlike me, though we share a passion.

    In my life, I have always had two tribes: the live-for-the-fun crowd, that surrounds itself with as many people as possible (the enlightened and incorrigible alike), and the other. This one. More isolated. More thoughtful.

    I am an open book, I understand, and yet you know me better than even I allow. I am thankful for that, Anonymole. To tribes. 🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I wrote that paragraph, I suspected (knew) that your buddies would most likely represent a combination of tribes. (But as you can imagine, that thought would have muddied the concept.)

      This concept is also one that I’ve broached here/elsewhere regarding what I call “netdonyms” — alternately named internet personas. Kind of like a pen name or “nom de plume” but on the net. Like my Anonymole (and half a dozen more). These netdonyms segregate my exposure to various peoples: family, extended family, programming, writing, mischief&mayhem, black-op-hacking, that sort of thing. Different tribes / like different group exposures.

      Yes, you are a rather open book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and proudly display the angel and devil on each shoulder. 😁

        I’m considering a netdonym (maybe something like “sagaciousfool”) that follows only your blog. I’m thinking that by using an alternate identity I could actually respond to Mudge’s responses to Mole without getting tossed to spam. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. one my wife grudgingly bequeaths. –
    Instead of what? A bad conversation about (kids, DIY, the house, a really cool kitchen on Pinterest with more square footage than your entire house, Penny and Susie and Kate and Irene and the rude boy at the deli…her job, your job, how long ago the last vacation was, the dog…feel free to add your own). Perhaps mutually enjoyable pastimes (what she wants to do and thinks your company is required so that you might “enjoy” it too.) Shit. I’m a grown man. As long as it isn’t illegal, won’t fuck up the kids and nobody gets hurt, leave me alone.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. There is more to this tribal concept than the superficial secret handshake and a common interest in condiments. There’s a quote out there about how you’ll know the members of your true family better in 20 seconds than you’ll know your blood relatives in a lifetime. Take Van Halen the band. They got tired of renting Roth’s little sound system for $10 or whatever. DLR was a born frontman, Ed got to quit singing and just play guitar. On stage they appeared to be birds of a feather, however nothing could be further from the truth. But as a tribe, a family, dysfunctional or not? Alice Cooper and Glen Campbell were decades long neighbors and daily golfing buddies. Similar? See where this is going? Common careers, interests…you should be familiar with this whole strange bedfellows concept.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. It’s the intentional or accidental segmentation that I was attempting to call out. And whether more tribes are required to fulfill one’s needs or if a more bespoke tribe would be desirable. If I found a group of folks who: love to fish, travel, cook, write fiction, write code, explore the Universe’s conundrums — would I feel of a fellowship, content or suffocated and constrained?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. The latter. Why? Because, as I am attemping (poorly) to point out, in kind “like” or enjoy do not equate to comfort or “tribal” without further definition. I once read where true, long term friendship is about knowing where out of bounds is. Or realizing who is out of bounds and letting it go because their value as a friend exceeds their occasional whack job opinions.
              To whit – I got a card that read – “You’re the kind of person I could go camping with – If I was the kind of person who went camping – (inside) Which I’m not”
              See what I’m saying here? People of value in our lives may have nothing more in common with us than being of value. Not the superficiality of a shared interest in dark lager and guacamole made with ranch dressing save for the “Hey, have you tried/thought about?” tip from an otherwise egregious asshole. Like me.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Those people of value, though, might’n they not share commonalities with you along certain subject matter or considerations? Emotional support, music appreciation, political, educational, passions, foibles? One might not assign them one “tribe” or another, but perhaps these valuable people fall into a limited number of similar buckets.

                I’m not trying to classify all people in all ways. I’m trying on the hat that says we have similarities and differences, how do those affect us? How do we subconsciously apply categorization?

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps, like me, If mudge enjoyed writing “Notes from the Avalon” then he didn’t work…because he enjoyed doing it…and didn’t consider it “work.” Just IMO. When I had my own biz, I never really considered it “work.” Works is doing something, for someone else, that you resent…perhaps hate…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The most fascinating, interesting and intelligent woman I ever met, Sherry (my friend who currently lives in a tranquil Bavarian village and who once told me that my writing reminded her of Neil Gaiman’s writing) is a descendant of the Iban tribe of Borneo – the tribe famed throughout the world and in old National Geographic articles as being the famed head hunters of Borneo.

    Now there’s a tribe with very unique outside home and inside home decorations.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s