I’m not saying that people should roll over in the Western Front of their existence, lay on their backs and wait placidly for the bomb to arrive as they accept their death in the flooded trenches. Let the bullets destroy the flow of their blood. Give-up. Surrender. Not at all. No.
What I am saying is that people are human.
Today as I read Savage Harvest further I grew angry again. The (at least somewhat) sympathetic author (who in my opinion is actually relatively sensitive and educated as a person as far most people go) starts off the book by wisely acknowledging that he shares a wildly different perspective from his subject. And rightly so… And I would like to think he’d therefore be able to accept his flawed perceptions based on that admission, but most people aren’t that humble or intellectually honest these days. But how about this: Either way, I refuse to surrender my qualms and irritations on my own blog…
The author writes about what he labels Michael’s hubris. …It was supposedly hubris when Michael, one of the world’s most privileged men alive at that time, failed to recognize what he was doing by traveling to such a “lowly,” remote, mostly untouched location…merely to rummage callously through their private world for commodifiable treasure. Taking advantage of their innocence?
It was a flaw in his armor of goodness? Albeit a possibly pristine character otherwise…
Therefore Gerbrands didn’t like him, it seems? …And what a foreshadowing?!?? …Michael had it coming? His savage death?
Regardless, I doubt Michael really understood what he was doing. And instead of being a flaw is his character…I think he too simply lacked perspective. It was 1961.
That’s before the so-called Sexual Revolution. Before the height of the Civil Right’s Movement. Before…so much change. It was 1961 not 1981. Not 1991. Not 2001.
Michael thought he was retrieving beautiful art. From a beautiful people. In a beautiful world… You could fault him for being spoiled in a way, but he couldn’t raise himself any more than anyone else can. And due to his privilege he was rendered deeply unaware, extremely vulnerable and in a state of perpetual, blissful awe…
Those aren’t excuses for what he was doing that was wrong. Wrong is wrong. Evil is evil. And he was making a fool of himself in a way… But he did so in the context of overall ignorance in the minds and hearts of those whom he respected most. People he loved. He wasn’t lacking in sensitivity or actual concern for the people whom he spent an enormous amount of money, time and energy acquiring art from.
It just wasn’t a flaw in his character, in my opinion. Unless you want to fault the entire world, including the Asmats themselves potentially. *laugh*
And on a positive note we might not be the people we once were but we do comprehend that evil now, at least. Don’t we? The evil of cultural appropriation, so to speak. Loosely labeled.
Only problem is: Do we care as much now about what’s good and evil? And I don’t know… Maybe??? …It is ironic though that the author of the book writes such a gruesome account and arguably commodifies the same exact group of people. And then the author has the audacity to turn around and accuse his subject of possessing the same possible character defect he may embody? Again, a flaw that I doubt his subject even necessarily possessed…
“You’re culturally appropriating Michael! He’s dead! And you have no right to think he’d give a fuck about your ugly white ass, you useless, hateful, ugly, evil, ugly bitch!!!!” says a hater. “I’m nice! You’re the problem. You’re the…the problem you rich, ugly, poor, stupid…ugly…bitch!” She straightens out her shirt. She’s fuming. “You-You’re-You-You’re the problem!!!”
“How am I the problem?” I ask.
“He’s dead! Don’t you understand? We don’t exist after we die. There’s no scientific proof! And…regardless you’re a poor, ugly bitch!”
“So it’s my poverty that’s the problem?”
“No!! I mean yes. I mean…you’re rich. And that’s the problem. It’s your family’s wealth. And my family’s wealth. I come from old money. My mother teaches the President French.”
“Your mother is a French tutor to President Biden?”
“Yes. I grew-up in Malibu. And then…we had five houses. And I played tennis in the Olympics. And here! Look at these headshots of my face. See! I’m prettier than you.”
“These are photos of Princess Diana.”
“No. That’s me.” She straightens her shirt again.
“Well, that’s great!”
“It sure is you whore! You should stick to one dead man at a time. …You don’t think they have feelings? Just because they’re dead?”
…So all I’m saying…is that y’all better be good. Right? And stop wasting time attacking “rich bitches” who aren’t bitches at all. God sees everything. Not just what tickles your fancy, honey. *smile* …And He cares.
…It is fascinating how Michael died. Especially, being so good and all.
Pray. And don’t forget to love yourself… Truly though. None of this pretentious nonsense where we can’t love ourselves when we see our sin through God’s perfect eyes. Just apologize to Him and ask for salvation in His son Jesus’ name. Right? It’s that simple to avoid Hell.