Monday, December 21, 2009

I got your noble savage right here!

IOZ on Douthat on Avatar:
Cultural conservatives imagine some kind of attack on the "theistic" cosmogony, even as it is their own confused fairy tale that posits a pre-civilizational Eden as the natural and primordial state of man. Meanwhile, the merely narrative appeal of making every ancient tribe and alien civilization into nature-worshipers is simply this: despite what every dork with a World of Warcraft avatar and a pile of Frank Herbert books believes, creating a unified, coherent, Tolkienian, fictional universe is very, very hard. It may have taken James Cameron a half a billion dollars to make the blue titties of his forest babes jiggle just so, but it took old J.R.R. a whole lifetime to invent his elves. Mere primitivism is a problem in storytelling not so much because it fetishizes false notions of indigenousness, nor because it attacks the received moral order of the Christian universe, but because it is bad storytelling. And isn't that likewise the problem with the Times editorial page and all its compeers? Not that they're so fucking wrong, but that they're so goddamned lazy.
If the Times replaced that constipated-looking baby face with this, I might read their editorial page more often. As it is, the Very Thoughtful Beard is swiftly replacing the Mustache of Understanding as most repellent NYT facial hair.
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