Friday, May 30, 2008

The ants haven't eaten them all?

I just read this article on MSNBC. Holy crap! (No, seriously- click the link, if only to see the picture.)

Uncontacted tribes! It doesn’t explicitly say so, but I imagine this means an entire society (and there are an estimated 100 uncontacted tribes left in the world) that has no concept of Larry the Cable Guy, stuffed-crust pizza, or emo (and I mean the whiny, emasculating musical genre, but also, I suppose, the much more respectable comedian of the same name.) Or the Holocaust, for that matter.

The gist of the article, or rather the point of the group that took the pictures to prove the existence of such tribes, is that these people are threatened by illegal logging in the Amazon that will inevitably lead to their contact, which means not just contact with the global culture that spawned the likes of Toby Keith, but contact with new and unfamiliar diseases. Such as Toby Keith.

While I have no doubt that these tribes near the border of Peru and Brazil are guarding some lame-ass crystal skulls, I think it would be best to protect these people from ourselves. We are nothing but trouble after all (Exhibit V.)

But what makes us think they need protecting? What makes them so pristine? For all we know they are a bunch of hateful, fornicating, idol-worshipping sinners who only need the power of Christ and some timely assimilation to help them achieve everlasting salvation. Oh, right, we tried that already…with every other person on the planet. Ask Sitting Bull how that worked out for him.

Anywhip, wouldn’t it be cool to bushwhack into the jungle and show these folks your iPod and maybe something even cooler, like a cigarette lighter? You’d be a god to them. And then take them to the mall and watch them go all Brendan Fraser or Genghis Khan on the place. Oshman’s Sporting Goods better watch the fuck out.

But really- and here’s the serious “you can make a difference” part of this post- if you were planning one of those fun slash and burn deforestation hands-on vacations to Brazil, maybe you should consider taking a holiday that’s a little less damaging to the rainforest and its indigenous peoples, like caribou hunting on the North Slope or tortoise wrangling in the Galapagos.

Stick-wielding tribesmen of the world thank you.

23 comments:

Courtney said...

That picture is amazing. Why aren't they nekkid? I envision all uncontacted tribespeople nekkid.

I was planning a deforestation vacation (deforestcation?) but I guess now we'll have to settle for going to Antarctica and clubbing baby seals.

JustinS said...

Why go all the way to Brazil for your deforesting vacation when there's plenty of forest to molest here in the States?

And if it started today, the Inquisition would have totally replaced the rack with Toby Keith CDs.

em said...

I kind of want to move there and join their tribe.

Aaron said...

Anywhip, wouldn’t it be cool to bushwhack into the jungle and show these folks your iPod and maybe something even cooler, like a cigarette lighter? You’d be a god to them. And then take them to the mall and watch them go all Brendan Fraser or Genghis Khan on the place.

This is a shitty new comedy just waiting to happen.

The Modern Gal said...

God bless them. Everyone one of them.

Noelle said...

Well, I already booked my slashing and burning vacation for this year, but perhaps next year I'll just go to a resort or something.

surviving myself said...

I would beat a tortoises' ass if it meant saving some stick-wielding tribesmen.

Mickey said...

courtney- I need to replenish my supply of baby seal-fur underpants anyway.

justins- I prefer to molest other people's forests. It's more exotic that way.

em- It looks like membership is closed at the present time. Sorry.

aaron- This sets up way better than Cavemen.

mg- Indeed. Unless the interdimensional beings of George Lucas's imagination have already blessed them aplenty already.

noelle- Come on, think of the children.

sm- But nobody's asking you too, man. Chill.

Kristen said...

Sometimes I think my husband belongs to that tribe.

Kristen said...

I mean, dude, put some clothes on for crying out loud.

Chris said...

Total BS -- those are just frat boys out goofing off with red paint all over them.

But seriously, what does it take to qualify as an "uncontacted tribe." Who has or has not contacted them? Does that just mean Brazil doesn't have birth certificates on file for these people?

Cause I'm thinking the tribesmen know there are other people on the planet and just deliberately avoid us.

Jacob said...

I understand the arguments that your stance on no-contact as being elitist or belittling the uncontacted tribes, but seriously, their being brought into the world doesn't do them any good. They aren't instantly elevated to first-world living standards just because they know about the first world. Instead they end up being the poorest of the poor in poor nations. Just look at the tribes we already have contacted, even the ones in our first-world country.

They're probably better able to support themselves as hunter gatherer subsistence farmers than sickly and impoverished subsistence farmers and laborers they'd be turned into after contact.

But wouldn't it be freaking cool to find a way to go visit without getting turned into a pin cushion? And I wonder what they were thinking when that giant, noisy, and obviously unnatural thing flew overhead with people's head sticking out.

Now, if Jesus wants to show up and teach these people about his glory, I'm perfectly cool with that. I'm pretty sure he'd be clean and not some smallpox-infested spirit. I'd be willing to volunteer to guard their borders with shoot to kill orders to prevent missionaries from heading down that path, though.

laurie said...

you nut.

those are great pictures, and a fascinating story. i love that there are people out there who have no idea what a helicopter is, and who think they can shoot it down (and what, eat it?) with their poison darts.

Jacob said...

Chris: Some of the primitive tribes are exactly what you talk about. In fact, a couple of the more recently "discovered" tribes were basically refugees who escaped the first wave of Spanish conquistadors and managed to stay hidden until the last 50 years or so. For some reason these tribes tend to be more aggressive to strangers than is otherwise typical.

I think the uncontacted means that nobody whose job it is to follow Indian tribes had a clue they existed. They probably have some idea of other people existing, but that part of the world is so remote and inaccessible that it wouldn't surprise me if their contact with even other tribes is extremely limited. Seriously, with what some of my poorer rural county students don't know about the rest of the world that is normal to the rest of us, it wouldn't surprise me that a group that managed self-sufficiency would have no idea of the world beyond their borders.

Mickey said...

kristen- As long as he paints himself red. That's the same as clothes, right?

chris- Actually, something about that photo does feel staged to me.

laurie- I don't think they'd eat the helicopter, but I bet the scientists inside are pretty tasty.

Meaghan said...

I was kind of thinking what Chris suggested, especially after Courtney asked why they weren't "nekkid." BTW, you need to get Courtney out of East Tennessee.

Oh, and I love how you and Courtney somehow manage to trash Toby Keith every chance you get! He really is the devil incarnate.

J-Money said...

I once stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and someone had defaced the condom machine, violently scratching the label and editing it to read "Freedom" Ticklers. I always assumed it was Toby Keith.

Mickey said...

jacob- Thank you for your enthusiasm.

meaghan- Born in NC, raised in GA, now living in east TN...she's a lost cause.

j- At least he's thorough, I guess.

Allie said...

I saw that this week! Amazing. I was wondering if the helicopter scared the crap out of them.

Jacob said...

And Courtney, I forgot to mention this in my rush to Mickey's defense (even though he wasn't being attacked), but why do you spend so much time picturing naked jungle people?

Julie said...

I don't think I've ever heard a Toby Keith song but I find myself strangly compelled to experience the glory these days.

Mickey said...

allie- I usually get out the bow and arrows when a helicopter flies over. Don't you?

jacob- Hi.

julie- Please don't.

Allie said...

Mickey - Yes. We live by an airport. I'm pretty much out there with my bow all day long.