During the negotiations leading up to the “Compact of Free Association” with the USA, the people of the small Pacific island of Yap learnt that they were to get a television station and a regular supply of American programs, complete with advertisements for Big Mac hamburgers, vaginal deodorants, Californian Ford dealers, and carpet shampoo. All this was to be provided by the mysterious “Pacific Taping Company” of Los Angeles. Many Yapese are opposed to television. They see it as a threat to their fragile culture and an outsider’s attempt to foist changes on them. They believe the “Pacific Taping Company” is a front for a conspiracy to create dependency and promote US cultural values in an otherwise insignificant but strategically important island. Photography by Dennis O’Rourke.
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