09 June 2010

Creepy Cargo Cult

Junior Apprentice

Thickie-pedia describes a cargo cult in the following manner,

"A cargo cult is a type of religious practice that has appeared in many traditional tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults are focused on obtaining the material wealth (the "cargo") of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices, believing that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors."

The BBC's Junior Apprentice programme gives a distinct impression of a cargo cult; the cargo being success and the means of obtaining it weird rituals and practices that are being mimicked by children. The programme is really creepy and as difficult to watch as an American child beauty pageant.

The activity of the children remind me of Skinner's Pigeons; again from thickie-pedia,

"One of Skinner's experiments examined the formation of superstition in one of his favorite experimental animals, the pigeon. Skinner placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that delivered food to the pigeon "at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird's behavior." He discovered that the pigeons associated the delivery of the food with whatever chance actions they had been performing as it was delivered, and that they subsequently continued to perform these same actions."

The puzzle is ... why is this stuff so popular? Why was it ever commissioned? What do people think that they can learn from probability freaks such as Sugar?

ps I don't see any difference between Junior Apprentice and the usual one; the junior one just illustrates the point more clearly.


  1. Great post... glad I'm not the only one who can't stand Sugar!!

    Junior Apprentice is *extremely* painful viewing and remember commenting at the time that it "was just wrong" to have kids doing that stuff.

    I'm not sure their personalities (or future careers) will ever recover! :-\