Taboo (2002–2014)
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Trial by Fire 

In Papua New Guinea young men dance with the fire as a rite of passage into manhood. In India young men ride with bulls to prove the worth of their family. In Australia a man risks his life to entertain people.
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In Papua New Guinea young men dance with the fire as a rite of passage into manhood. In India young men ride with bulls to prove the worth of their family. In Australia a man risks his life to entertain people.

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3 September 2008 (USA)  »

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Good enough
9 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

The episode is the average informative Taboo episode. Nothing is well beyond expectations, nothing immensely strange or interesting.

Three different cases are dealt with in detail. However, each of them are compared with other similar cultural rituals, that are quickly mentioned, a technique which failed to get to the point and did not prove anything. It is better to just emphasize the three main things and let the comparisons out of the final cut.

Clearly, the memorable part involved the "crazy" Australian guy that broke the world record by becoming the first person to put 17 swords down his throat. Yes, that is meaningful: risking one's life. But he enjoys it; he enjoys being payed to do stuff most people don't even think are possible. As the narrator said, one small misstep, one cm closer to the heart, and the Australian could end up in the hospital or in the morgue. That is a hell of a job to have.

In some cultures, initiation rituals are a part of life. You can't skip them, as, for instance, westerners can skip going into the army. Instead, they embrace it, they prepare for it and they eventually pass it.


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