clan of Palouse is alive and well; Group forms
family around love of Moscow, Internet and
Byline: Bill London
MOSCOW -- Would you call this a
Perhaps it's an extended family -- one not
related by blood, but by Web site?
In fact, the Clan MacThoy is a
Moscow-based circle of friends: single childless
adults, most in their 20s and 30s, about 35 in
number, evenly divided between women and men,
evenly divided between those who still live in
Moscow and those who have moved elsewhere.
But they're all united by a loose and
hedonistic view of life and linked with a Web
site detailing their mythological heritage and
maintaining their party network.
The clan's Web site (www.macthoy.org)
contains about 50 pages of text that include the
history, customs, songs and photographic images
of this nonexistent Scottish clan.
Be forewarned the Web site should bear an
R rating for bawdy humor and imagery, as well as
an A-plus for imagination, creativity and clever
And how did this clan come to be?
Killian Flynn, a 35-year-old adjunct
faculty member in the University of Idaho
philosophy department, explains the Clan MacThoy
began about six years ago, when he and a group
of Moscow friends journeyed to Oregon for a
campout sponsored by the Society for Creative
Anachronism, a medieval re-enactment group.
"At these encampments, groups name
themselves and so, to fit in, we tried to think
of a name," Flynn says. "I was studying
classical Greek and suggested the word "macthoi,"
which translates as trouble-makers. Somebody
else said that the name sounded like a Scottish
clan, so we called ourselves the Clan MacThoy."
What began as a joke took on a life of its
The clan grew in number as friends and
friends-of-friends were drawn to the
alcohol-fueled fun and creative play that
surfaced when the clan met at Moscow taverns,
potluck dinners and weekend campouts.
"People were not invited to become a
MacThoy," explains clan member Maria Zenobia,
28, office coordinator at the UI Women's Center.
"They just sat down and drank beer with us
and if they were accepted, they were in, and if
they were in, they were family."
That's a word that surfaces often when the
clan members discuss their MacThoy-ness.
"This is my family," says clan member
Octavius, 26, a UI student and freelance Web
designer. "My real family is scattered to the
winds and it sure is nice to have something to
fill in for that need.
"I also joined because this is an outlet
for creative energy and a forum for silliness.
This is such an interesting bunch of people to
be around. I love to entertain, and so this is
an audience as well."
With the sense of family created by the
clan comes the benefits of family, Flynn says.
"The Clan MacThoy allows me to be who I
want to be. I can be my true self.
"This is a creative community. Everyone in
the clan is doing things. We are writers, poets,
playwrights, artists. We all have creative
aspirations and we all encourage one another."
Moicha Turpis, a clan member who now lives
in Houston, Texas, adds her perspective via
email: "We do family things: we get together for
the holidays and hold family gatherings and
reunions. To me the clan is a place I can say
anything I wish and still be accepted.
"They share many of my interests and
passions. They are the creative extension of
myself. They are highly entertaining."
Bandy Legs, 34, who now lives in
Bellingham, Wash., describes the MacThoy family
via email as a "collection of old friends, and
many new ones, who are largely separated by
distance. While most of us met in Moscow and
consider it a social hub to this day, we've
found greener pastures in Portland, Seattle,
Bellingham and elsewhere.
"And although we may make up crazy excuses
and occasions to meet in the middle of nowhere
and go camping or to drive 400 miles to do
dinner, the pseudo-organization and
communication of the whole thing makes many of
us accountable to show up and not lose touch.
Kind of like 'The Big Chill' once or twice a
year, except nobody has to die."
Bandy Legs says the clan is also a good
"Most of us are students, teachers,
artists, musicians, poets, actors, writers,
scientists, and odd combinations thereof. So,
when we get together, it's not a simple matter
of partying it up for old times sake.
"We get a chance to catch up on each
others' endeavors, have holes filled in about
some piece of software we don't understand,
recruit each other for new projects and so on."
The clan is social, not sexual, in focus,
"The clan is not a dating pool," says
Octavius. "Relationships may happen, but that is
not our emphasis."
Members have a variety of sexual
orientations: bisexual, heterosexual and
homosexual, Flynn adds. "Sexual orientation is
not an issue."
"We don't necessarily encourage monogamy,"
Zenobia says. "We encourage other forms of
recreation. Most clan members have slept with
other clan members. But that is not the focus."
The focus is having fun together, they
say, and staying in contact.
Three years ago, Flynn began to learn Web page
technology and realized the clan's activities
could be placed on the Internet. With clan
member Pokedea Quidnunc, a Moscow playwright and
UI employee, he began posting clan plans and
memorabilia on a UI server.
In September, with financial support from
a clan member, Flynn and Quidnunc purchased a
domain name and set up the MacThoy Web site.
"There is a certain snob appeal in having
our own site," Flynn says. "It seems more
legitimate, and it does help communicate with