Monday, December 31, 2012

"The significance of the guy holding out his arm, dipping at the wrist, is that that's a gesture that magicians use to imitate the cassowary"

Jared Diamond:

the local people were afraid of him, because he was such a powerful magician.

The significance of the guy holding out his arm, dipping at the wrist, is that that's a gesture that magicians use to imitate the cassowary. The cassowary is New Guinea's biggest bird. It's flightless. It's like a small ostrich. Weighs up to 100 pounds. And it has razor-sharp legs that can disembowel a man. The sign of the cassowary, if you hold out your arm like this, that's the cassowary rolling its head and dipping its head when it's ready to charge. So magicians will imitate a cassowary in order to show their power. Because the cassowary's big and powerful. Magicians identify with the cassowary. They intimidate people.

So, here's this crazy guy. Why did that crazy guy come into our camp at night? I don't know why he came into our camp. It's safe to assume that he saw the green tent and he knew that there must be a European inside the tent. It's safe to assume that his reasons for coming to a camp were not friendly.