Monday, June 15, 2009

Good Grief...Tarzan was made up...

Western culture understands, or misunderstands, non-Western cultures. Is Tarzan a sexist and a racist who subjugates Jane and treats black men like children? Is he a macho colonialist in a leopard-skin loincloth, rather than a pith helmet? Or was he the first ecological super-hero: a man in recyclable, locally-sourced clothes who fought to protect his pristine jungle from greedy commercial interests?

According to the curator of the exhibition, the celebrated French sociologist and anthropologist Roger Boulay, it depends which Tarzan of the Apes you are talking about. "There is a big difference between the original Tarzan of the Burroughs novels and the culturally impoverished Tarzan of Hollywood movies, starting with silent movies," he told The Independent. "The Burroughs character is complex and eventually speaks 12 languages. The movie character is often a caricature who speaks only in grunts."
Sociologists are obtuse. Anthropologists even more so. When you mix and match, you can only hope the recipient of both degrees has velcro instead of laces.

Here's a clue Mr. Socioanthro-apologist...TARZAN IS A FREAKIN' CHARACTER IN A WORK OF FICTION!!!! He is made up. You won't find him anywhere. He's not a sexist...or a racist...or an ecological super-hero (huh?)...because he just is...not anything other than a figment of Edgar Rice Burroughs' imagination...a man who never step foot in Africa.

Now...on to more important matters. Is Harry Potter gay? Did Fat Albert have a thyroid problem...and was Bill Cosby being insensitive to fat people by calling the fat kid...Fat Albert? Does Dennis the Menace have ADD? Was Wil Robinson really a smart midget?