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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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Re: [HoB/D] re: the moral instinct (fwd)

On Sun, 3 Feb 2008, **** ***** wrote:

> As far as eating the dog... where might it lead?  If dog is to tasty,
> perhaps the neighbor's dog.  Or what might granny taste like? And if she
> is that good after a natural death, why not try something younger, fresher
> and tastier? Taboos can have good reasons behind them, even if the average
> person is not well equipped to articulate those reasons.

Good reasons?  Do you really think that eating dog will lead to eating

Taboos hold their power in part because of fear of where the behavior might
lead; but that fear, like the taboos themselves, is grounded mainly in

A Taboo is very deep-seated.  Many taboos prove to be stupid.  Our
explanation of a taboo will fall prey to the taboo's fundamental
irrationality if we limit our explanations by asking "Where might it lead?"

Millions of people in China eat dog on a regular basis. They don't eat their
neighbors' dog; they eat dogs bred for being eaten.  I remember how startled
Ernest and I were in February 1984 when we passed stall after stall selling
"Rover" cooked and ready to slice on the streets of Guangzhou, for what
seemed like endless miles of vendors, woks heated to warm the cut that you
chose right off the hanging carcasses. All Rovers looked alike, with their
heads still on them, with teeth set for a growl.  Dog was not cheap but was
very popular.

I loved my mother-in-law's reply when we sent her a picture of a row of such
stalls:  "Don't be eating dog lest you be chasing cars!"

I still don't eat dog, but as a carnivore I no longer think the Chinese
irrational or stupid or brutal for doing so.

The Chinese were just as horrified when in the midst of a lecture in a cold
room I took out a nice handkerchief and wiped my dripping nose. Chinese call
that fluid "nose excrement" (though a more exact translation would be the
street word we use for 'excrement').  They have a similar term for what we
call 'sleep' in our eyes, or "eye excrement."  Those excretions must be
attended to in private with no one watching.  Touching these excretions in
public, even with a clean handkerchief, is a severe taboo.  Only very
primitive or evil people must do such things! What might it lead to?!!!

Nothing much at all, as we can attest in the West, where we can blow our
nose in the midst of a lecture or a sermon and not miss a beat in keeping
the audience's attention.

In college and on our way to Europe in 1957, my school roommate and I
stopped off in NYC a day before we boarded ship, and took in GUYS & DOLLS at
the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village.  Afterward we stopped for a
beer at a bar next-door and to my surprise we saw only males, and several
couples were holding hands.  I went into the alley and vomited, so fierce
was the taboo and so afraid was I of its connections to my deep dark secret.
I did not want to accept my plumbing.  I wanted to exchange it, not act on

"What might it lead to?"  Archbishop Akinola surely thought he had
discovered the answer when, as he told the NY TIMES, he jumped back in
disgust when I introduced my spouse to him as my spouse, when we arrived at
the same time for a luncheon at Bishop Sisk's home.

"What might it lead to?"  Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo must have
had visions of orgies in his head when he over-reacted to my presence on a
Commission invited as guests to his palace along with all the bishops of the
Sudan and Uganda in February of 2001. Violating ancient African principles
of hospitality he excoriated me for over five minutes before all the other

Louie, L1 Newark 2009