Thursday, March 19, 2009


I was watching some Disney clips with my daughters the other night, and this one from Pocahontas came up:

Pretty schlocky, huh? The moment when she stops him from shooting the bear puts me in mind of a chapter in Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, which cites the work of zoologist Paul Martin, who argues that the first arrival of human beings in North America led to the hunting to extinction of North America's terrestrial megafauna (woolly mammoths, giant sloths, etc.). Weisman also points out that "the existence of much of the Great Plains themselves is due to fires set by their descendants, the American Indians, both to concentrate game that browse, such as deer, in forest patches, and to create grassland for grazers like buffalo." 

And it's a little creepy how Pocahontas's anti-colonial eco-topian anthem becomes a seduction dance, isn't it? By the end of it, she and her European conquistador are about to make out, and in the final moments it appears he's reaching up to grab her breasts.

I much prefer this "Pocahontas," a Neil Young cover by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings:

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