A Grim Fairy Tale – THE GHOST DANCE

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Hello, children. Would you like to hear a story?

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THE GHOST DANCE

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It began as a television show: a dance contest with a Native American theme, financed with Native American money accumulated slowly over the years from slot machine and roulette revenues.

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Auditions were held in New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Houston, Kansas City, San Francisco and lost Angeles. Contestants from all walks of life were asked to perform a complex set of steps called “the Ghost Dance”.

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The competition was fierce.  The dance itself was hypnotic. The show was a hit – outperforming every program in its time slot and eventually becoming the most popular television show in America.

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In its 3rd season, the show began promoting what it called “Ghost Dance Day” during which the show’s growing television audience was invited to join in the fun. The goal was to get as many people as possible performing the Ghost Dance simultaneously.

Each year thereafter as the show’s popularity grew, so did Ghost Dance Day, with people all over America – from New York to San Diego – performing the steps of the Ghost Dance simultaneously. The producers of the show had tapped into the power of dance to build a sense of community.

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And the movement spread. People all over the world began to celebrate the Ghost Dance Day.  Even the world’s poorest people petitioned their government’s to furnish them with television or Internet access that would allow them to both view the competition and participate in Ghost Dance Day.

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Pundits both great and small endlessly analyzed the Ghost Dance phenomenon.

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Scholarly papers were written about the psycho/social elements of the dance’s  unbelievable popularity. But, despite all this intellectual attention, virtually no one looked very closely at the historical roots of the Ghost Dance – other than a few anthropologists and historians, whose warnings were ignored and classified as an element of the egg-head racist lunatic fringe.

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In its 8th year, the show’s producers boasted that Ghost Dance Day would see over 4 billion people dancing together.

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Nobody knows if that boast was realized. Nobody knows the exact number of people needed to fulfill Sitting Bull’s dream. All we know is that, all over the world, the skies grew dark, the earth trembled, and the dead returned.  The Ancestors returned and destroy the works of European civilization in Africa, Melanesia and the Americas, fulfilling cargo cult prophecies and millenaristic dreams.

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MORAL OF THE STORY:  dance shows are bad.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Dance

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5 Responses to “A Grim Fairy Tale – THE GHOST DANCE”

  1. Love it, Paul! Native dancing always makes me giggle, thanks to a friend of mine who went to Arnhem Land for a holiday. He videotaped the famed Yaputcha tribe doing their tribal dance. We gathered at his house shortly afterwards, and he played the video for us. He was horrified when we all began rolling on the floor, laughing. He was even more horrified when he realised that the ‘Yaputcha’ tribe were actually doing the Hokey Pokey. “Yaputcha left leg in, Yaputcha left leg out…”. Yes, this is a true story.

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  2. No argument from me, about the moral that is.

    Like

  3. paulboylan Says:

    Cat – I’m not surprised. That is, after all, what it is all about.

    Like

  4. Reblogged this on Flying Tiger Comics and commented:
    Bu ha ni ni ni naissa’asan hi tu ni ba hu ta ni ni ni ba hu

    The original Wovoka Ghost Dance was nonviolent, the Lakota made into war medicine, which didn’t work. Doing it peacefully as in this delightful tale would certainly work.

    We would go from Locutus of CNN to There Will Come Soft Rains in about a New York Minute after psychic critical mass was reached.

    Like

  5. paulboylan Says:

    I very much agree, and thanks for the reblog.

    Like

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