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.