Sunday, June 30, 2013

Native Americans and Alcoholism

In The Ecological Indian, the Native American's seemingly insatiable desire for liquor reminded me of a common conception (or rather, misconception): Native Americans are drunkards. The truth of the statement is up for debate. However, some studies now suggest that it might be in their "nature" to drink after all.

Here's the link.


"When the teddy bear craze struck the U.S. in 1906, there was a serious debate over the effect that stuffed animals would have on children; some feared that small girls who played with plush bears instead of baby dolls would be inadequately prepared for motherhood" (187). -The Bambi Syndrome

Sometimes, I find the human race just utterly disappointing.
Because playing with plastic dolls is the way any little girl should learn to be a mother.
"Now, dear, this doll will make you into a great mom. Feed the doll, and nurse it, and pretend it's your own child. Stuffed bears are silly. Those are just animals." What.
Because little children learn their values and actions through their toys and not through their parents.

That's the thing that bothers me about Disney critics. They blame the Disney movies for raising unrealistic expectations of "happily-ever-after" in children, instead of maybe, mmm, looking at how they can improve their parenting. 'Everyone gets a happy ending, which just doesn't happen in the real world, and we should stop feeding our children the idea that it does.'

Um, how about explaining to your kid that it's just a movie. How about letting your child enjoy the magical worlds and vivid storytelling created by Disney, but teaching them that what they should take away are the lessons and insights, not the happily-ever-after?

When I grew up watching (and loving) Disney movies, I never expected some dashing prince to come and fall in love with me. It was an animated cartoon movie, for God's sake.
There were talking closets. TALKING CLOSETS. 
Even as a 5-year old, I knew these movies were just for enjoyment. Just like any other movie out there, ever. I just loved all the wonderful stories and the music and the beautiful animation. I appreciated it, not because it gave me some twisted view of reality and some false expectation of love, but because it made me feel happy and warm.

The same question can then be raised to the critics of Bambi. Hunters complained that Bambi portrays Man and Hunting in a negative light, while romanticizing the animal. How about: Bambi is an animated cartoon with talking animals. Give people a little credit, that maybe they don't base their whole ideologies on animated features. Ok, so they may be a little influenced because of how cute the animals look, which, in that case: raise awareness on the 'truth' of hunting. Tell the world how hunters actually help the environment and keep animal populations stable, or whatever. Educate, rather than blame.

It is true that Bambi has had an influence on mass culture, and how some people think of nature.
But blaming and getting angry at a movie for supposedly propagandizing the world against hunters?
I don't know about that.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I considered Thoreau's advice and took a walk on the wild side. I figured it may be a good time to take a break from your reading!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bambi meets Godzilla

I saw this short film mentioned while I was reading Lutts and decided to look it up:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Do You Want to Learn More about William Cronon?

William Cronon       Reading "The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature" in Uncommon Ground, I could broaden and deepen my understanding of nature. First of all, I was fascinated by Cronon's novel idea that "far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, [wilderness] is quite profoundly a human creation- indeed, the creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history" (69). I have never thought in a way that wilderness is not an untouched ground that has nothing to do with human but a created ground that is the very reflection of our culture and history. Moreover, I became to advocate his assertion that we are obsessed with dualism. That is, we often tend to have "a set of bipolar moral scales in which the human and the non-human, the unnatural and the natural, the fallen and the unfallen, serve as our conceptual map for understanding and valuing the world" (89). As he claims, we will be able to better understand the nature and world we live in when we explore the middle ground where "we actually live" and "make our homes" (86).

You can see biography, interviews, and photos of William Cronon in the link below.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Study like a scholar, scholar

In honor of our trip to the library today.
         Orpheus was referred to as an epitome of harmony with nature in Pan's Travail, "Orpheus is shown in art and literature as expressing the harmony of nature;" (Hughes, 54). This concept forced me to pause for a moment because the mythological tale of Orpheus highlights the way in which he goes against death. Orpheus attempts to revive his beloved Euridice and reverse death, the most natural occurrence at the end of any living being's life. The perfect harmonization with nature is thus disillusioned. Can Orpheus properly fulfill the description offered?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monogamy and Ducks



My English class read Walden this year, and one of my classmates discovered a video game based on Thoreau's book, created by the University of Southern California.

Pan's Travail: Pragmatic Romans and Sustainability

 Columella the " wise agriculturist" of Hughes book was described for a short time in the passage about the negative views of agriculture, but his views were not many different from the modern day practitioners of sustainability majors around the world.His major focus was to make poor farming practices the crux of the issue instead of climate or divine intervention.His views were shared by what Hughes calls " Pragmatic Romans", which does not have a negative connotation. Columella was not a negative conservationist, but a man seeking the best solutions for his time period.
A question to ask yourself is were these men viewed as ivory towered solution makers or simply the logical thinkers of their time. Propaganda for using resources would most likely be supported by those who wanted to increase the size of the navy and military rather , the chief use for lumber and resources at the time. Was conservation seen as a threat to national security? For Hughes to classify these men as negative may not have been fair to the loyal opposition, and he took an extremely absolutist approach to the issue.The spectrum of positions may actually attach the religiously pious "Mother Earth" supporters to a pacifist trend.The possibilities are many but the primary sources are so few.

Since Hughes work may have been based on this more absolutist ground due to the resources available, there is hope in understanding when we take into account other cultural aspects of  Greece and Rome, and this book thoroughly equips us with the information necessary to track the middle ground of public opinion and controversy.

Best Regards, Rudolf Ross

Monday, June 24, 2013


The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
"May we live long and die out"