Wednesday, July 20, 2016

pocahontas and the west


I spent a moment rewatching some of my favorite parts of "Pocahontas" — "Colors of the Wind" and "Just Around the Riverbend."

Of course, the movie had so many bad choices, from the WonderPoncho to the complete rape of the historical record (which, most dispiriting of all, would have been far more entertaining). But many of its critics derided it for being "anti-Western" in its revisionist white-guys-get-it-wrong sentiment. They were wrong. That sentiment is one of the strongest themes of the West, from Socrates to the present moment.

Whenever you see Lord Byron in a turban, or his great-great-grandson, a white suburban kid in hip-hop gear, you're looking at the same thing. "Orientalism," as Edward Said called it, that suspicion that the Truth lies outside the West, in the exotic Other. It's one of our great traditions.

Plus, some really good songs there.

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