Cargo cults can be described as messianic or revivalist movements, which are mostly found in the oceanic regions. Cult cargo members are typically indigenous people of the oceanic regions with mystical beliefs of owning goods held by Europeans. In this regard, cargo refers to goods. Cult devotees believe that they will get back their goods with the help of magic and religious means. Cargo cult was first documented in the 19th century in Papua New Guinea and other Oceanic regions like Vanuatu (Gaylor 1).
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The purpose of cargo cults to the people who practice them
People who practice cargo cults believe that they will receive goods or wealth that is currently held by the Europeans. In this sense, cargo cult acts to reassure its adherents that their future will be characterized with plenty of wealth. Moreover, cargo cult helps in revitalizing people’s imagination and resilience in adapting to daily problems. Also, cargo cults fill the gap between their desires and existing ways of satisfying them. In essence, the cargo cult gives them hope of the coming period of prosperity and comfort (Gaylor 1).
Acculturation refers to the influence of one society on another due to constant face-to-face interaction. Acculturation is sometimes called culture contact. Acculturation involves the diffusion of different cultural traits. However, it particularly requires continuous personal interaction between two ethnic groups. In general, acculturation is usually utilized to refer to the adjustments that transpire in an indigenous society under the influence of modern culture (Gaylor 1).
Acculturation in the development of cargo cults
Acculturation played a central role in the development of cargo cults. For instance, in the 19th-century cargo cult in Papua New Guinea resulted from the interaction between the locals and foreigners. The locals desired modernization, so they merged their mythologies with Christian Missionary beliefs leading to the formation of cargo cult movements in the Papuan Vailala Madness that occurred in 1919. Because of acculturation, local inhabitants tend to fill the gap between their desires and existing ways of satisfying the needs by forming movements such as cargo cult (Gaylor 1).
The concept of cargo cults to modern American Culture
North America is presently under cargo cults. The author believes that cargo cults influence every dimension of American lives. Fitzgerald gives examples of shopping malls and computers as examples of contemporary cargo cults in modern American culture. In essence, he stresses that borrowing of ideas without proper knowledge is common in contemporary cargo cults such as evaluation and computer. Just as people built a shopping mall after the first one, everyone is now going for computers (Fitzgerald 1).
Revitalization movements of the Native American groups
Revitalization movements were famous in Native American culture. Some of these include American Indians’ Ghost dance and handsome lake religions. Moreover, the other American Indian religion was known as Peyote (McLuhan 25). On the other hand, political examples of revitalized movements in native America were American revolutions. Of the above named revitalized movements, Peyote religion was the most successful (White 1).
National Geographic Taboo video summary
National Geographic Taboo video talks about fat acceptance in some quarters of the United States. It provides an elaborate inquisition on a group that has been isolated for the last 40 years. This revitalized group cherishes obesity and enjoys their big bodies. In contrast, their neighborhoods present great resistance to their stance. Throughout the video, various professionals like anthropologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and sociologist among others try to interview and analyze this group of people (Pantel 1).
Elements of human culture in the Taboo video
The culture that was predominant in the video was socially concerned with human behavioral ethics. A change to the social norm (obese culture) is predominant in the video since it shows fat acceptance in a country that is obsessed with thin bodies. One of the big-bodied women interviewed (Cathleen) lost her sister who wanted to cut on her wait. As a result, Cathleen established a club for fat people. This has changed the social norm although most people interviewed still faced public scrutiny over their body sizes (Pantel 1).
Ethnocentrism or cultural relativism in the video
Participants in the video believe that American society is ethnocentric on the issue of obesity. One participant makes it clear her sister died from her need to cut weight in the hospital. Her sister was lured by the ethnocentrism of thin-is-healthy culture. On the other hand, the video is produced based on cultural relativism. Producers try to understand participants’ obese culture about American society without prejudgments (Pantel 1).
Uniqueness of the cultures from the video
Obese culture is unique throughout the world. Obesity has been associated with poor health, stigma, and trauma. However, this group of people is vocal, happy, and comfortable with their body weight. One participant called Gabi performs modeling, a unique gesture of defiance and resilience in their obese culture. I have never heard of such a group before the video. This was a masterpiece (Pantel 1).
The video was instructive, adventurous, and thrilling. The video exposed a vital part of social culture that most people have ignored. Statistics from the documentary show that over 17 percent of American children aged between six and eleven years are obese. Also, adults over sixty years of risk of becoming obese. Moreover, various experts in anthropology, sociology, and medicine have provided critical information on health, staying fit, and revitalization movements. This video was educative (Lindstrom 1).
FitzGerald, John. Contemporary Cargo Cults. 2007. Web.
Gaylor, Dennis. John Frum. 2012. Web.
Lindstrom, Lamont. Cargo Cult: Strange Stories of Desire from Melanesia and Beyond, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1993. Print.
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McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. Print.
Pantel, Alexandria. “Taboo National Geographic: Fat Acceptance.” Online Video clip. YouTube. 2014. Web.
White, Phillip. “Researching American Indian Revitalization Movements.” Journal of Religious and Theological Information, 8.3 (2009): 155-163. Print.