Watch Out! The Anthropologists are Coming!

From The Far Side, by Gary Larson, 1984.


22 thoughts on ““Anthropologists! Anthropologists!””

  1. I am wondering why folks feel the need to use foul and insulting language. Is this what we have evolved into?

  2. he he, this is so true. so-called “authentic” indigenous cultures today? right.. :)

  3. Actually this is meant to be commenting on the western anthropological gaze on the romanticised ‘native’- you twat.

  4. Ziggy Zoggy said:


    the cartoon is portrayed from the “natives'” point of view because it is meant to comment on THEIR “gaze”–you’re stupid!

  5. Devil's Avocado said:

    @woodfarm, @ziggy zoggy, @aimee, @sinanju:

    This cartoon (a favourite of mine, used to be up on the wall in our anthropology dept) – to me – reflects on the suspicion of many of “us” that uncontacted tribes aren’t really all that uncontacted.

    But also – and here I agree with ziggy zoggy – it suggests that these groups are to some extent aware of the value that portraying yourselves as “uncontacted”, “primitive” people has to academic researchers and voyeurs worldwide.
    It was this suggestion, sinanju, that seems to have driven much of the scepticism around the Tasaday controversy (I did look it up). That and “journalists” bribing community members.

    And I don’t really think it’s all that much about gazes at all. I think it’s more about preconceptions, whereas when people talk about gazes anthropologically they’re talking about affecting what you see by the position you see it from.

    • RasTinny said:

      “it suggests that these groups are to some extent aware of the value that portraying yourselves as “uncontacted”, “primitive” people has to academic researchers and voyeurs worldwide..”

      Mr/Ms Anthropologist it was Manuel Elizalde who attempted the exploitation. If the Tasaday were a fraud then they did not exists and thus it is not ‘uncontacted ‘primitive’ people that are aware of the value of being ‘uncontacted’. As always it is western idiots with Western models of development that use fraud to exploit people. Don’t blame it on ‘primitive people’ Anthropologist… Fuckry

      • shamanjuice said:

        Apologies if I have given the impression that I was trying to blame something on ‘primitive people’. Perhaps I was wrong to conflate the idea of ‘uncontacted’ with ‘different’: in the cartoon (you remember, the fun, amusing thing which was bringing joy until we started arguing about it?), the people the anthropologists are coming to visit are hiding their modern appliances, suggesting that they are to some extent pulling the wool over the anthropologists’ eyes in terms of how ‘primitive’ they are.

        That is all. Oh except please don’t call me a Fuckry. I don’t know what it is but it sounds unpleasant.

  6. I think it is a really nice cartoon that should be pondered upon greatly by participant observers in the field.

  7. jvp_solar said:

    Gary Larson rules get over it people.Oh he also has a couple bugs in his namesake.So he outrules everyone

  8. Or, you know, it’s just an ironic cartoon :P You people ruin all the fun.

  9. GerRoland said:

    In a way this reminds me of when MENSA came to Detroit for their national convention in 2010. The Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau won MENSA over and got the convention with this slogan… “Who was the genius who picked Detroit?”

    LOL… needless to say the MENSA visitors were surprised and pleased with their choice once they saw what the city offered.

  10. Kathleen said:

    I use this cartoon in my anthropology classes to prompt reflection on how our classic conceptions shape both our own thinking and also help inform how others interact with us …Gary Larson used to sit in on anthropology classes at the University of Washington in the 1980s and always came up with wonderful comic re-takes. He was so enjoyed and appreciated that the UW’s Burke Museum of Natural History even mounted an exhibit of his work in the late 1980s.

  11. Tibebu Taye said:

    i wish them more sunglasses, an ornamented hat, a skinny blue trouser, a black boots, a priceless necklace. they are now of western, no significace for anthropology in the teaching of original culture!!!!!

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