Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cargo Cult

In a rather confusing turn of chronology, today marks the 50th anniversary of the world's last surviving cargo cult, the John Frum Movement. It's particularly confusing because it apparently started in the 1930s and became most popular during WWII, which ended in 1945. I guess if the christians can skip ahead 30 years or so for the BC to AD changeover, then we can give these guys an odd decade or two. What is it with religion and calendars?

In any case, the cargo cult believes (among other things) that if they imitate the Americans that they saw during WWII, they too will receive the shipments of cargo that stopped when the Americans went home. So they build mock airfields out of sticks and leaves and parade around in homemade uniforms hoping to entice the cargo to return.

Basically, it's the same reason that oppressed minorities join the Republican party. The cargo cultists are just a little less subtle about the whole thing. Both groups hope that if they look enough like the people with money and power and act enough like them, that they too will get the wealth and power. Farmers who vote overwhelmingly for the Republicans who bankrupt them to support Big Agribusiness? Frummies. The Log Cabin Republicans who help elect homophobes? Frummies. People of color who help ensure that the Supreme Court will swing right and spend the next couple of decades dismantling civil rights? Frummies. They're all deluding themselves that they can get some of that sweet, sweet cargo if they just wear the right suit. What else could explain it?

That's my theory anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

5 comments:

Flannery Alden said...

Wouldn't they just wear cargo pants, though?

vikkitikkitavi said...

What a great analogy! I love this post.

deadspot said...

Cargo pants... nice. :)

Thanks, Vikki.

Big Orange said...

Hmmm... I'll join their cult if that means I get to live on an island off the coast of australia. What do people eat there??

Big Orange said...

Hmmm... I'll join their cult if that means I get to live on an island off the coast of australia. What do people eat there??