I’ve devoted some space on this blog to the bizarre case of Marlo Morgan, enemy of the indigenous people of Australia. Her fake story about the extinction of “true” Aborigines (along with her claim of being their guardian and messenger to the world) is the most sickening case of identity theft and cultural assassination in the history of publishing.
Morgan’s book Mutant Message Down Under is also the most widely read book on Australian Aborigines. It’s been translated into 26 languages and been read by tens of millions of people the world over. Clearly the majority of readers fail to pick up on the surreptitious but profound racism. Clearly too, most readers lack the knowledge of the subject matter that would allow them to quite swiftly see through the hoax. (Not only is Morgan’s representation of Aboriginal culture inaccurate to the point of being surreal, but even her mere descriptions of the Australian landscape are so inaccurate as to almost be offensive.)
The biggest tragedy is that her success is built upon a genuine worldwide interest in the subject. Millions of people read that book on the understanding it’s a true story. In fact readers have paid for a dose of racist poison. Aborigines earned the interest themselves through two centuries of struggle in the face of genocide and oppression that continues to this day. International recognition of their culture is important to their continued survival, especially given that their real history is little known, even within Australia.
A series of documentaries made in Australia about Aboriginal history, oppression, and survival has recently been made available on the internet by the film maker. I will be posting them here, with a little commentary for each.
The first is The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back, from 1985. It deals with the Aboriginal resistance to the invasion and colonization of their land. Read the rest of this entry ?