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First Contact

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First Contact

I actually quite enjoyed this documentary. It was much more interesting than the others I have seen so far. In this film we follow a man and his two brothers as they search for gold in what they assumed to be uninhabited lands of New Guinea. They follow the "white man" through the introduction to the savages, as they show them their guns in order to keep them from attacking. In one scene they shoot a pig with intentions of showing the savages that while they are not there to harm them, if they are put in the position, they can and will fight back.

Hearing the savages recount history in the film is not only educational but also entertaining. They remember how they followed one white man while he was having a bowel movement. He goes back to the tribe and informs them that the white man's shit smells the same as their shit does. I find it amusing that we go through such technical testing as DNA and genealogy tracing to find genetic and societal similarities between ourselves and other cultures, but they are able to compare and contrast our cultures by smelling our shit. Honestly though, that makes me think of how much we overdo and overthink as "the white man." Before we invaded their lands, granted we weren't abusive on film and apparently did not enslave them; but in general, their way of life drastically changed once the white men left their "shit" for them to smell. Why is it that in all of the videos the people are completely happy being naked and dancing free? When the white man leaves now they need to be ashamed of themselves? They now wear shirts and pants and shoes all the time?

Granted the savages were able to benefit slightly from the invasion of the white man. They did supply them with lap-lap, beads, knives and other goods in exchange for not only a peaceful passage, but also partially in exchange for the literal gold mine they didn't realize they were sitting on the entire time. I guess in the savage's eyes it was fair. They didn't see a reason to keep these shiny rocks. They didn't know what they were for, how to use them or the value behind them. So in one way the white man was "helping" them but we all know that isn't the truth of what went on there.

I loved seeing how two completely different cultures were able to peaceably assemble for the most part, but in general the need for the white man to have more gold than they already had, and jeopardizing entire cultures in order to do it? The idea of our culture sometimes makes me sick. Smells like shit to me too.



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