Mutilations: scalps, gender parts … and culture
Watching the movie Buffalo Girls, made for TV, I was offended that some scenes showed the Lakota taking scalps from General Custer’s raiders (that is, raiders sponsored by the US); but no scene was filmed to show the US soldiers performing their own brand of trophy gathering: the severance of sexual parts followed by the wearing of the parts by the vanquishers.
Native Americans took scalps. I’ve heard that the French suggested it to them: the French offered a bounty on dead English settlers, but the bounty hunter wasn’t required to carry the corpse to the paymaster: a right ear would do, or a scalp.
I’ve heard that scalping wasn’t always fatal. A scalp can be cut from the living as well as the dying or the dead. But the paymaster accepted the scalp anyway: a scalped settler was a defeated settler, pay the scalper.
I doubt that Washington DC paid for the several sexual parts of native Americans, but the soldiers took the parts and wore the trophies.
Thus Custer’s men, if they weren’t wearing a girl’s severed and drying vulva as a hat first thing in the morning as the raid commenced, they may have been by midday.
I haven’t heard anything about US soldiers sporting “Indian” male paraphernalia in or after (or before) battle, but the practice is common, world wide: except: the practice of inserting the severed penis into the mouth of the victim, then sewing it in place with the testes-filled scrotum doesn’t take place during battle. The battle is over before the tailors settle down to thorough work.
2011 07 08 John leCarré‘s The Constant Gardner, both novel and movie, has reference to such a practice: the black doctor has his tongue cut out and replaced by his severed manhood.
2012 05 25 I’m just recalling something I’m surprised I hadn’t referred to earlier: I read of a pair of neighboring tribes in Africa so dedicated to castration of the “enemy” that every male of both tribes, past puberty, carried a special castration knife. If you didn’t have at least one severed scrotum hanging from your ear, you were not a made man. Obviously, the girls back home were the opposite of repelled by this.
So: Buffalo Girls shows the “Sioux” (means “enemy”) taking scalps: how come there was not one shot of some screaming yokel of Custer’s, cutting the nether lips from some cute Sioux girl and yanking them over his ears?
I’ll return at my leisure and add references. One, off the top of my head, will be W’asi Chu. A book of that name, a Lakota book, is among the most important of my sources for the foregoing by the way.
Note: This subject relates intimately to K. material on terrorism which I’m just now restoring. Genital mutilation would certainly terrorize the victims whatever else it might also be intended to do. (In fact maybe I’ll put this in the terrorism menu.)
I’ve categorized this post under Civilization, under Terror, under Social Order … Yeah, all of them, and more.
Circumcision has been in the news, where it belongs. If only some rational discussion accompanied the mention. But, finally, some Germans, of all people! question the automatic mutilation of male infants. First a blood god demanded it, then an AMA … Ritual, ritual …
2015 06 23 I didn’t know until yesterday that we’ve had an anti-circumcision hero right here in the US, in the news! [link expired]
Woman went to jail rather than endorse the mutilation of her son. Alas, now she’s caved in: weeping, yesterday, she signed an agreement. That’s democracy alright: agree or go to jail!
(pk doesn’t (any longer) “believe” in “democracy” for a stack of reasons I’ll just mention a couple of bricks in: law should be truth-based, or God-based, or science-based, or evolution-based; not popularity based. If God says, “Don’t kill”, it’s ridiculous to think we can out-vote him.)
(Now what we need is God to step in, in person, no possibility of misidentification, and say “Cease! Desist! This is the law!”)
(But of course what’s really needed, what “God” must actually mean, is somehow imagination shows us alternate universes in which all possible meanings of “truth” or “reason” or “law” are displayed: and we can see the consequences! over Time!!)
(What we’ve got instead though is dead-men-walking, bragging, like imbeciles, that we’re immortal, free, rational, capable of discussion …)
I just learned that the name “Comanche” means the same thing: “enemy”: in another native language. I’ll wager it’s very common. (Like every creek here in Florida is called Fisheating Creek: or, Charlo Apopka).
Ford’s The Searchers has a bunch of white guys shown a string of scalps. Guy tells the kid, One of those was your mother’s. But he didn’t say which end of the mother’s body the “scalp” was taken from.
2017 05 18 I’ve been watching a documentary on Scottish photographer Harry Benson, sipping bits and pieces over several days. I just take another sip and get a story from his early professional days: Harry visits a refugee camp in Somalia: huts as far as the eye can see, a doctor holding overhead an impossibly emaciate4d child. Every morning he wakes u to woman wailing. I think he’s about to reveal that the wailing is grief for newly started child A, child B … But it’s worse: female circumcision!
The kids are staring, legs like toothpicks, and their hosts are still worrying that the girls might develop normally.