One striking example concerns the elephants. In the 1967 Disney feature elephants were clowns; a long sequence was devoted to the Jungle Patrol, an elephant troop of British colonial soldiers led by a sort of Colonel Blimp. In the new film it’s the elephants who have created the jungle, and Mowgli is taught to bow down before them in reverence. That reverence doesn’t extend to humanity. We’re the bad guys, wielding fire—the “Red Flower”—with a recklessness that devastates the junglePray to the nature gods, children. Beg forgiveness for the sins of your white, patriarchal ancestors who are destroying the Earth. Repent and discard the evil, rapacious ways of the past or face the desert hell of
Can anyone think of a recent popular movie, book or TV show where primitive tribesmen embraced civilization and the opportunities it created to crawl out of squalor? I can't. This is the marinade in which our children are immersed every day. It's no wonder that they want to throw Western Civilization classes out of college.
Two comments from that YouTube video. First, one from a person whose mind has been warped and corrupted by movies like The Jungle Book.
- How do you know their life is miserable? Sure it's harder than ours but it doesn't mean they are automaticaly unhappy and don't have small joys in life. There are wealthy people who suffer from depression and commit suicide even though by material standards they should be happiest people on the planet.
- quote: "says Kim Hill, an anthropologist at Arizona State University who has worked with several recently contacted tribes" ... "Still, he says, when he interviews such people years later, "I don't find anyone, pretty much, who would want to go back to the old situation.""
I haven't seen more that a few seconds of trailer either, but the bits of it that you comment on are a hell of a lot closer to the book than the previous Disney animated feature was. In the books, the elephants were, in fact, the true Lords of the Jungle, and Mowgli (along with everyone else) treated them with great respect. And when Mowgli decided that a certain village needed to be erased from the face of the earth, he recruited the elephants as his doomsday weapon.
I read the books a number of times as a kid. Basically, the previous movie had nothing, and I mean *nothing*, in common with Kipling's book other than the names of characters, and the setting being somewhere in India. Maybe this new movie has its own issues, and I expect that it deviates a lot from the book too, but man, Disney's first stab at the story was a *travesty*.
(Of course, a proper movie adaptation of the book would give little kids nightmares. There is a lot of blood involved.)
My father's father's father (*) was said to be a half-breed Cherokee Indian. While, of course, I am at quite a remove from the tribal life that he, and certainly his mother, lived, and thus don't know a great deal about it ... there is NO WAY in God's Green Earth that I'd *want* to live that life.
And, after all, he and his relatives had lived that life didn't want to continue to do so once they learned of better ways ... which is why the Cherokee as a people self-civilized.
By the important date, my great-grandfather was living within white society, and thus he avoided being shipped out to the western wilderness, as was done to many of his cousins and other close relatives. My father believes he didn't actually become a Christian, despite living in a Christianized society, until late in his life, just before the Civil War.
(*) due to long generation times, he born close to two centuries ago.
"Can anyone think of a recent popular movie, book or TV show where primitive tribesmen embraced civilization and the opportunities it created to crawl out of squalor?"
How about semi-popular? End of the Spear
Here is the Wickedpedia entry on End of the Spear
As a total side-note, when I first saw the movie (*), I knew nothing at all about the alleged controvery of the main actor being a "gay" "activist" (though, as I understand it, the "activism" came *after* the film made him semi-famous). BUT, there was just something about him I didn't care for -- and I mean the actor, not his character.
(*) when it was first released, thi s being one of the few movies I've gone to a theater to watch
I don't know why it happens, but I think of this process as the "brave argument" phenomena.
Start with something where the advantages are so blindingly obvious that nobody needs to offer a defense for it-- say, deadly force in self defense.
This means that the only reason to talk about it is to point out problems-- in this case, the deadly attacker is a human, and his humanity has to be respected; deadly force is a last ditch measure to prevent a bigger wrong.
Arguing "but water is wet" is not very interesting, so the only arguments that get heard by those who don't grasp the obvious is between the "don't desire their death, but it can be a sad result" and the "if you kill a killer, there are just as many killers" side.
This warps the conversation, so the "obvious" side is moved to where even I had an impulse to write some clap-trap about defending some other innocent, like self defense is somehow selfish and icky, or like some SOB who breaks down my door at 2 AM and has my TV in his hands is not a threat to life and limb.
It ends up with the little old farmer who shoots two guys with knives after they've broken in, at night, bound him and stabbed him goes to jail for murder. The "a woman murdered with her own nylons is morally superior to one standing over the dead rapist with a smoking gun" thing.
I went to see the Jungle Book with a young Disney shareholder and quite enjoyed it. I don't think you have to be a leftist or anti-capitalist to be concerned with man's impact on natural ecosystems. The elephant lore was consistent with cultural beliefs of primitive people around the world, and I didn't find it offensive.
But go check out Disney's other current hit, Zootopia. [Spoiler Alert] The villains are government agents who use murder and deceit to turn the people against each other and maintain power. Now that's a great message!
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