About the Name of this blog

This blog's title refers to a Dani fable recounted by Robert Gardner. The Dani live in the highlands of New Guinea, and at the the time he studied them, they lived in one of the only remaining areas in the world un-colonized by Europeans.

The Dani, who Gardner identifies only as a "Mountain People," in the film "The Dead Birds," have a myth that states there was once a great race between a bird and a snake to determine the lives of human beings. The question that would be decided in this race was, "Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds?" According to the mythology, the bird won the race, and therefore man must die.

In the spirit of ethnographic analysis, this blog will examine myth, society, culture and architecture, and hopefully examine issues that make us human. As with any ethnography, some of the analysis may be uncomfortable to read, some of it may challenge your preconceptions about the world, but hopefully, all of it will enlighten and inform.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is This the Best He Can Do?


Glen Beck has declared a boycott on Levi’s.  Why?  Because they apparently “glorify revolution” in a “shocking” new commercial.  He said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, I love Levi’s. Never again, Levi’s, never again will you get a dime from me. I know you’re not disappointed. Never again. I won’t wear your stupid red tab."

Let’s deconstruct this.  We live in a country, for which Beck loudly screams his love for, that began with a violent revolution.  There was no Velvet Revolution or Freedom Revolution here.  We took our freedom in a war, a war to good end, and one which I as an American thoroughly support having happened, but still, let’s be honest, it was a violent insurrection against at least semi-legitimate overlords.  (By this I mean that all citizens of the colonies were British Citizens who immigrated here.  We were not a conquered vassal state, as were the Middle Eastern and Asian Colonies.

Let’s also look at world events.  All across the world, people are throwing off the yoke of oppression, demanding freedom, and rights, and liberties that we as Americans take for granted.  (and seem to be willing to discard, but that’s another story.)  They are rising up with one voice and saying, NO MORE.  They are NOT fighting FOR intolerance, they are NOT fighting FOR bigotry, they are NOT fighting FOR evil, they are fighting AGAINST them.  They are willing to lay down their lives for the very things that America is supposed to stand for.

Let’s look at the text of the commercial:
          Your life is your life.
          Don’t let it be clubbed into submission, be on the watch.
          There are ways out.
          There is a light somewhere
          It may not be much light, but it beats the darkness.
          Be on the watch, the gods will offer you chances.
          Know them, take them.
          You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life sometimes.
          The more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be.
          Your life is your life.
          Know it while you have it.
          You are marvelous, the gods wait to delight in you.
             (I know the last sentence seems a bit of Tyler Durden's "beautiful or unique snowflake,"  but the rest is powerful.)

I don’t often stand up for corporations, especially one with a checkered past like Levi’s, but the message here is amazing.  It is a call to stand up for your rights, to stand against the darkness.  To shine what little light of good and right you possibly can.  To spread that light as much as you can.

And Glen Beck is outraged at as commercial that seems to him to stand for revolution??!!

How dare he be?

The change coming to the world will make us safer, freer, and more unified as a planet.  It is our last best hope that the human race will finally throw off the shackles that bind us and stand together, shoulder to shoulder, saying what you do to my brother, you do to me.  I am not free unless you are free; I am not whole unless you are whole.  We will no longer allow petty tyrants or the chains of fear bind us.

If we lose now, we lose for all time.  Moments like these come once in a generation, if then.  We cannot afford to cower.  And we can no longer afford the Glen Becks of the world, who would have us turn our face from the light and live in fear. 

This is the video that offended Glen Beck so much:

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