Der Papalagi wohnt wie die Seemuscheln in einem festen Gehäuse
August 24, 2007 3:33 AM   Subscribe

The Papalagi. "Then many of these thought-mats are tied into bunches and pressed together ('books' the Papalagi calls them) and sent to every part of that great country. Very soon, everyone who takes these thoughts into themselves is infected. They devour these thought-mats as if they were sweet bananas ... [Y]oung and old gnaw at them like rats gnawing at sugar cane. That is the reason why so few of them are still able to think reasonable, natural thoughts, like those that every honest Samoan has.'
posted by No-sword (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Comic Sans!

No, seriously, cool site, and lots of good reading, there.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:47 AM on August 24, 2007

Heh, I was just about to apologize for linking to a site with Comic Sans, pop-ups, and animated gifs of flags. But it was the only place I could find that had it in multiple languages!
posted by No-sword at 3:49 AM on August 24, 2007

The book from which this is taken is nice (I've read it), but it's a piece of ficition, not written by a Samoan. See for instance the second wikipedia link above:

The Papalagi (Die Papalagi) was a book by Erich Scheurmann published in Germany in 1920, which contained descriptions of European life, supposedly as seen through the eyes of a Samoan chief named Tuiavii.
posted by Termite at 5:04 AM on August 24, 2007

Montesquieu did it better.
posted by LarryC at 7:15 AM on August 24, 2007

Yes, while it is still interesting, this was something I saw in an anthropology class on non-western religions in the early 70s (as an example of western recasting of indigenous thought and an instance of infantilizing the islanders).

Always innteresting to see a sipe at the Papalagi though. I was raised Papalagi.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:25 AM on August 24, 2007

Love the shoutout to Malinowski on the top of the page:

Meet Sexy Single Women near you. 100% Free!

posted by felix betachat at 11:08 AM on August 24, 2007

Great post! This amazing Wikipedia article is practically worth a post all by itself, and it has nothing to do with the Papalagi as such.
posted by languagehat at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2007

A palagi walked into a bar after a hards day work and buys a beer. he holds it up and says:' T G I F'

the samoan guy next to him buys his beer and says: "S P I T"
When the Palagi is finish he buys another and yells the same thing: " T G I F"

the samoan guy next to him buys another beer and says the same thing too:"S P I T".

After his second beer the Palagi buys another and says again: "T G I F", and the samoan guy next to him says once again: " S P I T"

Then the Bar tender asks the palagi guy what " T G I F" means and the palagi says " Thank God It's Friday". Then the Bar tender goes up to the samoan guy and asks him what "S P I T" means and the samoan replies: " Stupid Palagi It's Thursday"
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:00 PM on August 24, 2007

That book cover blows me away. Very Herge-like.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:26 PM on August 24, 2007

I lived in Tutuila for a bit when I was a kid. I wore a lava lava to school, almost drowned at Sliding Rock, and accidentally burned my house down with a Care Bear.

Aside from nearly drowning and burning my house down, Samoa was great.
posted by mullingitover at 4:31 PM on August 24, 2007

Yikes, I hope it was made clear by all the supporting links that I was trying to post this as a story about the whole affair rather than just a link to a LOLWESTERNERS -> LOLISLANDERS book. Oh well.

languagehat: Better enjoy it while it lasts -- that article strikes me as unlikely to survive long in the new, footnote-every-sentence Wikipedia...
posted by No-sword at 7:36 PM on August 24, 2007

Nah, I got it.

You know how there was this whole Karl May-influenced American Indian thing in Germany? After this post I had a sudden vision of it being Samoan based instead, lots of Germans getting together to wear lavalavas and jandals and eat palusami.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:52 PM on August 24, 2007

Malo o le FPP.
posted by Slap Factory at 9:50 PM on August 24, 2007

Also, from an unapologetically Palagi perspective from around the same time, see H. Wilfred Walker's account. It was Walker who observed that "the little Samoan girls, with their long wavy black hair, are among the prettiest children in the world." That's still true today.
posted by Slap Factory at 9:59 PM on August 24, 2007

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