Saturday, December 18, 2010

A (somewhat incoherent) politically incorrect rant

So, I am going to be politically incorrect. Don't like, don't read. :-)

I strongly object to Disney's Pocahontas as nonsensical historical revisionism. (It's also boring--and I love Disney in general--but that is a different matter altogether.) I mean, there is not much to say on that score. It's just pretty way off historically.

Now that, you may say, is not a rant. Just wait!

I was listening to my Disney's greatest hits CD (You are allowed to like opera and Disney, thank you very much) and something about "Just around the riverbend" struck me for the first time. The first line is "What I like most about rivers is you can't step in the same river twice."


Question: Who said "you cannot step into the same river twice"?

Answer: Heraclitus of Ephesus, 500ish BC

Now, this annoys me very much. It mildly annoyed me when I first noticed, because the film is anti-Western and all about how the stupid British came in and killed the pristine native American culture with their greedy ways, and the philosophy beginning the song was imported from Western philosophy. And then I started to think about it more.

I don't have a problem with criticizing the early settlers. Not at all. I do think there were atrocities committed. Note that they were committed on both sides, and I get mad when I read things justifying King Philip's war, and laying all the blame there on the side of the colonists. (and I did read that once...can't remember where...but it made us VERY displeased, precious.) I would also criticize the West because we knew better (and I'm sure that makes me paternalistic, but I'll deal). But this is the thing: we criticize ourselves NOW because in some ways practice has caught up to the philosophy/religion in the west, and we have decided that we should not have killed people for our lands, and that we should not have enslaved people. That is, it is Western philosphy that creates the guilt for what we did. (It's also Western culture that gives us "the noble savage" which is the central trope of Disney's Pocahontas, btw)

So what is this rambling rant against--it's against using our Western heritage to create a ridiculously unhistorical propagandistic children's film that completely pans the west.

And really, why would we do that? I tend to think that we made mistakes--big mistakes--and now we see them. But history has happened. We need to learn from history, not ditch an over-idealized view of our past only to set up an over-idealized view of those we wronged in the past. That isn't useful at all.

Anyway, I guess I didn't really go anywhere special. But I was thinking about it, and figured it could raise interesting discussion.

Hey, at least I didn't go off on my The Night at the Museum is evil rant. You should be glad.

And to end this on a cheerful note, the next song on my Disney CD is "The Circle of Life," which reminds me of THIS:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i think your feed is broken