13 February 2005

The Selling of the Last Savage

The February 2005 edition of the travel magazine Outside has a long article by Michael Bihar entitled "The Selling of the Last Savage" in which he recounts his experience on a savage-spotting tour in West Papua.
On a planet crowded with six billion people, isolated primitive cultures are getting pushed to the brink of extinction. Against this backdrop, a new form of adventure travel has raised an unsettling question: Would you pay to see tribes who have never laid eyes on an outsider?
Why, no. No, I wouldn't. Nor would I pay to shoot the last spotted owl, or harpoon the last sperm whale. I just don't understand the attraction. Nostalgia for the pith-helmet era?

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