Sunday, February 14, 2010

John Frum Day? That’s Just Silly

Tomorrow is February 15, known as “John Frum Day” to the natives of Tanna Island in the Republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. A primitive tribal society, one of the last remaining “cargo cults,” these people are desperately in need of some good Christian missionary work.

Apparently, sometime in the 1930’s one of the natives was granted a vision of an American named John Frum, who lives in a volcano on the island and promised a future of wealth and prosperity. Then, during World War II, the island was set upon by American soldiers, who built airstrips, marched around with guns and brought food and other items down from the sky.

To this day, many of these natives await the promised return of John Frum and the coming Age of Abundance. And on February 15, these primitives paint “USA” on their chests, march around with bamboo “rifles,” build airstrips and bamboo towers, and attempt to communicate with their gods through coconut shell “headsets.”

Just imagine: a whole society built around the worship of an imaginary person hiding in an inaccessible place, promising to return at some uncertain future date and bring otherworldly wealth and happiness, all started by a magical “vision” and spurred on by superstitious misinterpretations of perfectly explainable events. And pretending to communicate with supernatural beings while wearing ridiculous stuff on their heads!

Next thing you know, they’ll be practicing some sort of symbolic cannibalism or treating old bits of cloth as sacred relics.

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I am the Ken doll you left outside in 1983. I have been living on cat food and squirrels, coming out mostly at night, unable to wash or even change my clothes because they are permanently sewn on. I ask you, would a merciful God allow this? I just wish I could wipe this stupid grin off my idiot face.