Main Course or Colonel Kurtz?
December 18, 2005 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Main Course or Colonel Kurtz? Michael was a Harvard graduate, but otherwise refused to follow in his father's footsteps. After graduating cum laude and serving a hitch in the army, he went to New Guinea as a member of the Harvard Peabody Museum expedition. As he explained it, "I have the desire to do something romantic and adventurous at a time when frontiers in the real sense of the word are disappearing." In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, fortunate son of the first order, disappeared while studying the Asmat people of New Guinea. Questions remain, however. Was he, indeed, eaten by the Asmat, who had a rumored history of cannibalism, or did he decide to go native? At least one documentary has explored this.
posted by John of Michigan (14 comments total)
Fascinating. I've studied the Asmat (in a very armchair sense), and I can understand why Rockefeller was drawn to them. The page for the documentary comes across as a bit...dramatic, shall we say, but I do want to see it.

Also recommended: a documentary called "Cannibal Tours", that follows white tourists around Papua New Guinea, with plenty of interviews with the indigenous peoples, many of whom remembered the Leahys, the first white explorers to enter PNG. Completely changed how I see tourism, I have to say.
posted by kalimac at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2005

Wow, this is a facinating story. Thanks for the differing perspectives, I'm intrigued.
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2005

Food for thought as to whether young Rockefeller was stewed and served. Great post.
posted by killdevil at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2005

Also, as a thought experiment: do wealthy people have a more pleasing taste?
posted by killdevil at 1:20 PM on December 18, 2005

Agamemnon Films seems a bit... um... let's say... focused?

Founded by Charlton Heston and his son, Fraser Heston, who appears to be good friends with a polar bear.

(Not that this puts the film being discussed under dispute. I'm just not sure how to react to going to the production company's main site and seeing Charlton Heston's kid in a Sears-family-Christmas-photo-esque shot with a polar bear.)
posted by Coda at 1:28 PM on December 18, 2005

Very interesting!
posted by heatherann at 3:07 PM on December 18, 2005

do wealthy people have a more pleasing taste

It depends on the cut but typically fatty meats provide flavour so we might assume well bred anglo-saxon stock would be in excellent taste.
posted by stbalbach at 3:16 PM on December 18, 2005

do wealthy people have a more pleasing taste

If they're prepared correctly:

Rockefeller Rockefeller
Preheat oven to 425
1 Rockefeller
1 Cup Spinach
1 Stick Butter
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs.
Sprig of Parsley, chopped
Saute Spinach in Butter. Add Rockefeller. Sprinkle with Bread Crumbs and Parsley. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
posted by TimeFactor at 3:31 PM on December 18, 2005

do wealthy people have a more pleasing taste

I've heard that in some third world countries, the westerners, but not the locals, are swarmed by pigs when they go to the fields to do theirs business, so, yeah, I guess they do taste better.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:57 PM on December 18, 2005

And now that I got my stupid joke out of the way and have actually read the post: wow! Fascinating stuff, both the mystery of Rockefeller's disappearance and about the Asmat people.
posted by TimeFactor at 4:05 PM on December 18, 2005

From the movie page:Why did Michael Rockefeller – privileged son of Nelson Rockefeller, heir to one of the world’s great fortunes, journey to the one place on earth where his name and wealth meant nothing[?]

Well, that's not too hard to figure out, is it? Only in such a place could he get tested and pass or fail on his own merits.
posted by bingo at 5:19 PM on December 18, 2005

do wealthy people have a more pleasing taste

Mmmm. Fully-developed veal.
posted by teleri025 at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2005

Couldn't he have just died? Why did they necessarily eat him just because of a suspected history?

There is speculated history of Crusaders eating people, does that suddenly mean that we should look suspiciously next time someone goes missing in Paris? What about the Mormons in Utah, ever heard of the Donner Party? I always thought that Donnie and Marie's teeth looked suspiciously filed down!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:39 AM on December 19, 2005

Pollomacho: very funny critique on the absurdism of cultural studies - like a satire of liberal sensitivities, right?

And also, John of Michigan - great post. Makes me want to watch the documentary.
posted by billysumday at 9:11 AM on December 19, 2005

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