Saturday, February 16, 2008

Take me to your leader. Has he got an agent?

I found this video over at Cannablog just now and am posting it here for the same purpose this ethnographic researcher, Wade Davis, intends his work to accomplish; the dissemination of awareness and respect required to allow ethnic diversity to remain in tact. I love his breathless, gulping delivery of information he has personally experienced and dearly wants us to comprehend. At about 21:10 in he mentions the we he is a part of and my whole perspective changed. Please watch the video before reading the rest…

I fear that the well meaning exposure of the unique cultures he speaks of is paving a highway to their oblivion — the reverse of his intent to pickle them in National Geographics’ gallery of travelogues — they’ll never again be what he found, simply because he found them and, rather than live with them, came back to tell the tale. All those kids will be wearing tee shirts and gimme caps in ten years.

It is too bad too, because I admire the way this guy seems to love what he has been doing and how he seems to respect these cultures, but I think they would all be better off if he and everyone else had never found them. Or at least kept their secret to themselves in reverence for what they purport to respect.

I guess I am posting the video to counter commercial copyrights of corporate ethnotours; the very opposite of a seemingly benevolent gesture. Just like more food creates more starving people and more laws create more criminals. What a troll I am.


Anonymous said...

Simultaneous oneness and difference, achintya bhedābheda tattva, namasté.

gregra&gar said...

As stated in the previous post, namasté.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Okay, I'll confess up front I've not watched the video.

I spent a year studying anthropology and while it was fascinating I was always conscious of what would happen to the various ethnic cultures the more the white man poked his nose in to explore. Wherever you see an ethnic culture being prised open, there you see the rot setting in.

I'm afraid I view ethnotours in the same what that I view ecotours - with a huge degree of cynicism and agree with you that the exposure granted to these unique cultures runs the risk of paving the way to their destruction.

Anonymous said...

Yes Toddness, I agree. And to me, the most tragic part of the exposure of our culture with theirs is not so much that we then tend to dominate them in our efforts to "help" (which of course is bad enough), but instead the true tragedy is that they (especially the young) become curious about their potential "opportunities" within our mysterious culture, and then they voluntarily abandon their ways, leaving the culture to die with the elders who remain. Curiosity, after all, can kill a lot more than the cat.

Anonymous said...

Hey, but it just occurred to me that a true optimist would add the comment that there are possibly still some remote civilizations tucked away somewhere too inhospitable for our comprehension or satellite eyes, and we don't know about them because SOMEONE made the wise decision to keep them hidden.

A :)