PAPUA NEW GUINEA–Upon returning from a recent trip to the United States, Hupy, a Korowai tribesman, attempted to relate to his friends and family many of the wonders he experienced. Hupy made the trip along with Dr. Francis Van Peele, an anthropology professor from the University of Chicago who has spent his entire career studying the isolated cannibal tribe.
“Everything was awe-inspiring to Hupy,” Van Peele said, “From the airplane ride to the massive buildings. Even cell phones were a puzzle to him. But when we met Michael Moore, it was almost too much for him to process.”
Dr. Van Peele said he and Hupy met Moore, who won an Academy Award for his film Bowling for Columbine, on the plane ride. It was only the second time Hupy had laid eyes on a white man.
Struggling to describe his meeting with the controversial documentary director, Hupy became frustrated and began gesticulating wildly, finally simply extending his arms out to his sides and filling his cheeks with air.
“There is no word in the Korowai language for skyscraper. Or morbidly obese,” Van Peele explained, “Hupy just has to do the best he can to communicate what he saw.”
As the tribe slowly began to understand Hupy, many started murmuring with excitement and curiosity. Dr. Van Peele began translating Hupy’s words.
“Hupy says just one pink sow–that’s his name for Michael Moore–would be enough to feed and sustain the entire tribe through the dry season,” he related, chuckling, “Now he’s talking about televisions and the strange music he heard. Now he’s talking about Moore again. Now he’s describing the airplane ride–he calls it a giant metal eagle. And now he’s talking about Moore again.”