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Witch doctor or chief?
There is a good reason why the witch doctor should never become the chief of the tribe.


Behrouz Bahmani
January 26, 2006

WARNING: This article is like totally tubularly not intended as any kind of like political comment on Iran or anything. Any similarity to real, imagined, or perceived realities is purely coincidental, if serendipitous.

LANGUAGE: There may be a few choice words spread here and there. Cover your ears or F*** Off.

Looking at the pics still coming out of New Orleans from the waste laid by Katrina, reminded me of the week long bender- I mean business trip I made to New Orleans last summer before the hurricane. New Orleans was a place where VooDoo and witch doctors sold t-shirts. That combined with the fuzzy memory of a drink they call the "Hand Grenade" got me to thinking about native tribes, the kinds of tribes that have witch doctors. So my PhE (Post-haste Embibement) thesis is this;

There is a good reason why the witch doctor should never become the chief of the tribe.

Let us look closely at the witch doctor. He (he's always a he) has an important (impotent?) function in the relative health of the tribe. Often he prescribes potions, herbs, incantations, special dances, rituals, and exercises, ensuring that evil does not threaten the tribe. He also serves as the medium between this and the netherworld. Nice work if you can get it.

But Evil is essentially the witch doctor's bitch.

As long as the witch doctor is focused on the job, looking out for evil, this is generally a good and positive thing. Generally. It is always good tribal insurance policy to have the liability of evil covered.

Strength is often a characteristic you look for in a good chief. The chief is oftentimes the strongest man in the tribe. But brains, common sense, intuition, reflexes, intellect, wisdom, experience, compassion, and skill are the real tools of the trade.

Focusing on evil understandably takes up all of a witch doctor's time and energy. Because as everyone knows, evil never sleeps. So neither does a witch doctor. The witch doctor must be ever vigilant, ever watchful for evil, wherever and whenever it might appear. It could be under a bush, better check out all the bushes. So to speak. That's why the witch doctor usually chooses (and the tribe actually prefers it) to live away from or outside of the village. Even if evil never actually appears, it is always good to have a witch doctor wary of it.

If there is no evil, you can be sure somewhere a witch doctor is doing his job.

While the witch doctor is busy looking out for and fighting off evil, a chief can efficiently take care of the day to day decision making and the more mortal needs of the tribe. And the tribe thrives under this separation of duties.

A good chief ensures the best hunters are hunting, the best mothers are nurturing the young, the best warriors are defending the tribe from other tribes who might want to attack it. A good chief listens to those who are better than he at their tasks, for ways to improve their tasks. A good chief is fair and metes out punishment to the guilty, and justice to the wronged. A good chief makes sure everyone is healthy, happy, fed and strong.

A good chief never rules through intimidation or fear. He knows that will only lead to his ultimate ruin. A good chief is not corrupt. He doesn't need to be.

A good chief listens to all sides, takes criticism seriously, and through good judgment and experienced council makes corrections as needed. Quickly. A great chief, a smart chief, prepares for the end of his rule and helps the tribe to select his replacement from those the tribe feels is most qualified to replace him.

He can do all of this because he does not have to worry about one important thing. The threat of evil. He knows that the witch doctor has that end covered, and he is grateful and (largely) respectful towards the witch doctor for doing that. When the witch doctor finds a real confirmed threat of evil, a good chief listens and prepares to confront that evil with appropriate measures.

But in healthy thriving tribes, a witch doctor is never, ever, ever, ever, ever, allowed to become chief. If the witch doctor falters, or leaves his post for even just one moment, he leaves open the door for evil to enter. Since he is the chosen gatekeeper, evil knows this, and always tries to attack the witch doctor first, seducing him if necessary, and it is almost always necessary, to ensure the door never closes. If a witch doctor is busy ruling, he becomes weak and wide open to the seductive attack of evil, and he inevitably succumbs to the seduction of it. And oh what a seduction! This has been proven time and time again throughout history.

Once seduced, the witch doctor tries to fight back, and makes everyone in the village think only of fighting evil, because he now needs their help, and pretty much the mothers stop nurturing, and the hunters don't feel like hunting, and everyone gets really tired, and bored and loses interest in their lives.

That's pretty much the time when the people of a tribe lose total respect for the witch doctor, and decide to call him names behind his back like "That Asshole!", and pretty much from that time on, ignore and avoid him most of the time, and go off and do whatever the hell they want. And that's pretty much the end of that tribe.

That's my thesis.

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