The Islands of the Fraternal Order of Moai

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 Post subject: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:26 pm 
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Tourist
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:34 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Denver CO
Personal Statement: AcmeTiki.com
I went down a Youtube rabbit hole the other night and now I'm mildly obsessed with cargo cults. John Frum is my favorite so far. And it still exists today.

The short story is that it's believed that John Frum was an American on a recognizance mission (John From America).

      There are a number of theories as to how the John Frum movement began, the one most often told is of a white man who appeared on Tanna Island in the 1930s dressed in full military regalia. He told the native people to let go of the Christian practices missionaries had brought to the island and to reclaim their traditional customs and culture. He promised that if they reverted back to their own traditions, then one day Americans would come to shower them with wealth and wondrous modern conveniences.

During WWII, 300,000 American troops were stationed on the island, bringing with them an enormous amount of supplies (or "cargo").

      Shortly after John Frum’s appearance, during the height of World War II, American troops in the hundreds and thousands swarmed onto the island from the seas and skies. They brought with them endless supplies of trucks, radios, telephones, refrigerators and even Coca Cola. The people of Tanna Island had no idea where all these modern conveniences came from and so believed that they were summoned from the spirit world, sent by magic. John Frum’s prophecy had proved true and he was hailed their Messiah.

From the islander's perspective, the Americans didn't hunt, fish, farm or make anything. All they did was dress in uniforms, march, raise flags and then worship them like a religious icon; and then planes and ships would bring them cargo. Surely these must be religious rituals to please the gods!

      It may sound strange to us, but the local indigenous tribes saw modern technology, canned foods and other cargo falling out of the sky. To them, John Frum had brought to them the generosity of the Americans just as he had promised. Part of Vanuatu’s attraction to the American soldiers was the respect they showed to the local people. The British and French that had colonised Vanuatu (known as New Hebrides at the time) had treated the islanders like rubbish, but the American soldiers gave them their dignity back and changed the way that they thought of themselves. The Americans learned their names, trained them, gave them uniforms and even paid them, quite handsomely too. They showed the local people how Americans of all races worked together. Things changed for good on the island.

Eventually all the Americans left the island but to this day, members of the John Frum cargo cult paint their bodies with "USA," march in formation and ceremonially raise the American flag as religious rituals in hopes that the gods will once again shower them with wondrous modern gifts and prosperity.



And heck, if you're going to have one cargo cult, why not have two?

On the island is another cargo cult called the Prince Philip Movement. They believe John Frum's brother, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, is a divine being was born inside a volcano on the island where all their ancestors live. He traveled to the other side of the world and married the richest woman on earth Queen Elizabeth II so that he could shower the islanders with precious cargo.



This stuff is fascinating to me. Humans will create incredible elaborate stories to explain the unknown and then stubbornly hold on to those beliefs in spite of all evidence. I don't think we're any different. I may start worshiping Amazon delivery guy!


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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:37 pm 
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Fellow Moai
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Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:59 pm
Posts: 113
Location: Hudson, MA (presently)
Personal Statement: Kaʻapuni Hauʻoli
If you can find it, Dr. Atomic #2 "The Giant Grass of Bangagong Valley" - (C) 1973 Larry S. Todd, Last Gasp Eco Funnies - was my introduction to Cargo Cults. It's pretty entertaining. In addition to reading underground comics, I ill-spent my youth following up on tidbits contained therein, Cargo Cults among them. Today is the 1st time I've looked at this book in 35 or 40 years, honest.

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:05 pm 
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Fellow Moai
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:45 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Littleton, CO
Very cool! Thank you for sharing this.

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:40 pm 
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Honui Moai
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:56 am
Posts: 4028
Location: Pineapple Lounge
Personal Statement: Kungaloosh!
If you're into cult cinema and haven't checked it out, watch Mondo Cane. It ends with a segment about a cargo cult in Papua New Guinea. It's almost certainly staged, but worth watching for the retro vibe and great soundtrack (the origin of oft-covered More, funny to see in a "shock" cult film.)

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:21 pm 
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Chapter Tohunga
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 10:27 pm
Posts: 285
Location: Fort Lauderdale (Mai Kai Land)
Personal Statement: Jungle Red!!!
I remember seeing a documentary on the John Frum group as a kid and I was fascinated by them. Thanks for reintroducing that childhood amazement back to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:30 pm 
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Honui Moai
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:24 pm
Posts: 6908
Location: Deep down the rabbit hole
Personal Statement: Ouch!
Cargo cults are why the Fo'c'sle Lounge bar is constructed using methods found in military specifications for crates and packing.

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:47 pm 
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Initiate Moai Ra'e
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Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 11:49 am
Posts: 47
Location: Fort Lauderdale
That's a great name!

ANCHORS AWEIGH!


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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:28 pm 
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Honui Moai
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:50 am
Posts: 2045
Location: The Aloha Temple of Baby Smiles (TX)
Personal Statement: I got yr Barbie zucchini
There was an exotica group in Austin called John Frum Cargo Cult.
They played at one of the annual Texas Tiki Gatherings at Aloha Julie's home south of Austin.

Perfect exotica band name, no? :D :thumbsup:

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:33 pm 
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Chapter Tohunga
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:35 pm
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Location: lost city of Atlanta
2 years ago we used the cargo cult theme for a special menu at Trader Vic's it was a magical night.

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:59 pm 
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Fellow Moai
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:53 pm
Posts: 284
Location: Grantham, NH
To a certain extent, the FOM *is* a cargo cult.

Now I need some sort of John Frum cocktail

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:41 pm 
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Honui Moai
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:24 pm
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Location: Deep down the rabbit hole
Personal Statement: Ouch!
thekazz wrote:
To a certain extent, the FOM *is* a cargo cult.

Now I need some sort of John Frum cocktail
I know that I have baggage.

Maybe we are a lost luggage cult. Some are in Denver, others in Fort Lauderdale...

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 Post subject: Re: Cargo Cults
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:34 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Denver CO
Personal Statement: AcmeTiki.com
thekazz wrote:
To a certain extent, the FOM *is* a cargo cult.

Now I need some sort of John Frum cocktail


There's a banana spiced rum called Caro Cult.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sba9-Qa3ZQw&ab_channel=StevetheBarman


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