Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Trouble with Lutts

Ralph Lutts' “The Trouble with Bambi” may have made some valid points about Disney’s portrayal of man the hunter, but in doing so he makes one criticism of the environmental movement which made me lose track of what those were. He draws from a Forbes critic’s review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature. I doubt the critic read more than the jacket sleeve to portray McKibben as being raised on a Walt Disney view of nature. Bill McKibben, a meateater himself, admits that he was raised on readings of “Little House on the Prairie.” In McKibben’s ideal world, the Bambi hunter’s cottage would be something for Americans to aspire to- minus the subsequent forest fire. McKibben's titles may be sensational at times, but he is writing for a general audience- not an easy group to lasso without a gimmick.

Lutts' use of a book review to illustrate his point seems cheap to me. That the review comes from a business magazine makes it seem even more so. Clearly, McKibben’s critiques of consumerism pose a threat to the interests of the Forbes reader. But to the hunter (and Lutts) he is more likely an ally. He may tell him to lose the bonfire and get a more efficient woodstove for the cottage, but at the end of the day he would likely be thankful for the venison and for knowing that a few less people were relying on a global food system.

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