Are we? The truth is Australia, the parts Cook had seen, and Indigenous Australians were as Cook described when compared to England and the English of the day. The issue is with the interpretation of Cooks writing not actually with what Cook wrote. The globalised world thrives on material like this, tourism thrives on promoting difference to the norm. Why go on holiday to get away from it all only to have the same things as you have at home. Tourism to New Zealand promotes Maori culture not English culture, tourism to places like Hawaii promote Islander culture not Western (American) culture. The globalised world loves the idea of "the noble savage" simply because, in my opinion, it helps us to see an alternative to ourselves.We are far nowadays from these fictional narratives of '' noble savages '' , there's no more place for that in this globalased World.
SURE , but in the most of the cases this image or idea is falsified for commercial reasons and poor tourists cannit know so they get what is served in the menu of the touristic agents.
The issue is with the interpretation of Cooks writing not actually with what Cook wrote.
Possibly a good idea for Anthropologists to write Historical fiction. This limits the tedium of meeting the criteria to fall under the category of non-fiction yet offers the ethnologist the opportunity to keep the research results accurate and inject enough style in order to bring the book to a wider audience.
A friend told me a while back, "K, if you write your work up for an academic audience, most of those scientists already understand much of your research findings. On the other hand, your average non academic will find the work dry and uninteresting"
With historical fiction if we inadvertently make a few mistakes in our field work/subsequent analysis of data...so what!! It's Historical Fiction. If on the other hand we can weave the human experience, History and true life situations from the indigenous into the right format we may still retain the academic readers attention and we might actually succeeding creating a viable, respected, and long lasting ethnography.
This creative non-fiction reminds me of chilean diplomat, explorer and writer Mr. Miguel Serrano (1917-2009). Among many of his books, he wrote a "Trilogy of the search in the external world", which contained;
- “Neither by land nor by sea”
- “Invitation to the Icefields”
- “The Serpent of Paradise: Story of an Indian pilgrimage”
They dealt with the spiritual search, starting from his early life in the city and the poetic/political movements from that time to then continue in a trip through many chilean cities and finally arrive to Antarctica. He was one of the first civilians in doing so. The entire book describes spiritual aspects of Chile as a country and as a legacy from indigenous people, The Mapuche. It is poetry written in prose, always keeping historical data intact.
The third part of this trilogy examines life in India from the perspective of a “pilgrim”. The creativity of these writings frequently uses lots of historical parallels as reference, always keeping a creative language.
I think Serrano is one of the few chileans that rescued the essence of our folk in some of his texts. He tried to find out the roots of our psyche as folk, taking in account our poetry, religious views and racial aspects.