Re-reading the cargo cults "case study"

Monday, 08 July, Year 11 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

I just re-read this article from three years ago, "Cargo cults, a case study" and I'm... frankly, I'm appalled, and I suppose as closed to ashamed as I can ever get. It's such a barely comprehensible jumble! How in the world did it even make sense to anyone!?

Let's try going through the salient points again, for my own peace of mind :

  • That domestic handling of hot water is a defining characteristic of civilisation, and has been since the time of the Romans two millenia ago.
  • That "how do they handle heating water" is inescapably the chief criteria recognizable groupsi are judged by, irrespective of climate, because the domestic function of hot water is dual -- both heating the dwelling and washing things and people. Since nobody can dispose of washing and still aspire to civilisation, nobody can dispose of heating water and still aspire to civilisation, and therefore that criteria stands irrespective of "how hot it is, or it ever gets, outside".
  • That in the particular case of Argentina, the "clement climate" excuse is particularly facetious (and in a manner both specific and descriptive to the utterly insane and deeply facetious in-group narrative specific to Argentina), because whatsoever the "objective" temperatures may be, local women still go about the street during their piddly faux-Winter dressed as close as they can get to real women in a real Winter. If they themselves don't believe their own nonsense uniformlyii, it can not be brought into the discussion.
  • That the "no gas available" excuse, weak as it is (plenty of these will burn either GPL or heating oil, and arrangements can always be made for local tanks) also does not apply -- Buenos Aires does have piped gas.
  • That proper heat-handling arrangements, definied as wall-hung gas-burning insta-heateriii, with its flue and hot water piped throughout the dwellingiv, are an absolute must.
  • That heating alternatives are more expensive and less efficient -- in particular that electric resistive heating is a heathen abomination, an order of magnitude more expensive than the proper alternative above (and eminently braindamaged in a country which generates its electricity on incredibly expensive and inefficient diesel generators it imported for hard currency it doesn't either have or produce) -- its widespread use therefore marring the Argentine population with a thick brush of idiocy (the pigment thicker and darker for the pictured idiocy of the tools involved, and their production, handling and distribution, not to mention their stability over time).
  • That open-air gas burning in the very dwelling is barbaric insanity, both ineffectual and dangerous to human health, and in itself a resounding condemnation of the humanity of the populace of Argentina. Because they openly burn gas in the room to heat it, therefore they are not human beings.
  • Some other point about consonant transition, which we'll eschew here altogether as too distant and difficult to properly explain.

How one goes from the above to the erstwhile fircalitura is absolutely anyone's guess. Did it even make any sense to anyone ?

I suppose the very transparently incensed, white-hot emotional tone of the piece has its own merits, but rather in the comedic vein of a fellow so overwhelmed by indignation he can no longer speak, choked by fury to the point his arms flailing about will have to compensate for fluency and articulate expression.

Sorry about that. Are there any more articles like this ?

  1. Ethnic or otherwise, and irrespective of whether they are pretending to "nationality", "sovereignity" and anything else. The criteria for recognizable groups is group-external recognizability, not group-internal acceptance. []
  2. It has to be universal, because the "we don't need head" side of the argument is universal -- needing heat ever at all comes to needing heat, not to not needing heat. Never needing heat, never, at all comes to never needing it. []
  3. It's a thing, moreso a defining thing of our times than the "smartphone" or "[internet] platform" even if infinitely less known or discussed by the bleating hordes. []
  4. Including heating racks installed in the bathroom, for hot towels -- irrespective if any other heating elements are installed or not, needed or not, the bathroom heating towel rack is always needed. []
Category: Meta psihoza
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7 Responses

  1. Hm, I re-read the linked article before this one exactly to check if it made any sense - I got out of it the listed points except the argentine-specific re warm-climate excuse (i.e. I got it as general excuse not necessarily different in any way for Argentina than for any other place). The text certainly did read as "choked by fury" yes but ...uhm, that didn't strike me as very unusual around here - I took it to be deliberate though rather than uncontrolled.

    What I didn't quite get though from that article is really the "so what's a cargo cult" part - it seemed to have gotten quite lost into the fury at the specific case study as it were. There is the one-paragraph in there at the end, yes but almost as if it were glued on - essentially it read as if you got carried away with the case study and when out of breath remembered that oh, it was meant to be about *this* not exclusively about argentines.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 8 July 2019

    I think it might've been deliberate at the time ; but as time goes by, the deliberate suffers most.

    Anyway, yes, the actual "cargo cult" part got mostly left out both here and there -- the idea being that they do things they don't understand the meaning or substance of, strictly because it appears to them such doings would be confluent with some form they perceive to have perceived in the land of the better -- across seas of water or time as that land may be found, yet nevertheless superior. That they'd put their effort into "improving" unimprovingly on dead ends is, to my eyes, the essence of the cargo cult.

  3. Ah, here on this side of the river there is piped gas, but the piped gas network is so small the refillable LPG (locally known as "supergas") beats it narrowly on price. This was discovered through local press spreading "cheapest and most expensive ways to heat your space in a campaign that highlighted the ridiculousness of the folks doing the resistive electric heat thing and praised the minisplit heatpump air condidtioners as the way to go.

    Absent in the local discussion was the ridiculous situation where trucks carting around tanks of LPG beating piped gas on price should be anything but embarassing. Especially given this year's local handwringing over Petrobras wanting to give up their local piped gas business to anyone who can take it off them.

    But then again in the local headcases, the gas is cooking gas. Winter's not really a season, but an exception that happens every year. And so the wood trucks also run around doing brisk business so the locals can burn eucalyptus in a bidding war against Europeans that would very much like to pulp the wood.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 9 July 2019

    This is a point, holy shit why put pressurized fuel gas on the road.

    And this "exception that happens every season" is so very exactly how orc thought goes...

    Pregnancy's also not a state, but an exception that happens every year.

  5. As I read it, the content is there, and makes sense, even if its organization is marbled a little impredictably by allergy to specific castellano stupidities. The discussion of the untenability of open air gas burners is an excellent didactic exercise; the demonstration of the heaters being religious artifacts is razor sharp. Hell, it's a reader's treat to have to untangle your rare knot, I don't really see a problem.

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 10 July 2019

    Ha. Well, that's nice then.

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