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« DVD Journal: "Rollerball"; "The Shipping News"; "Donnie Darko"; "Monster's Ball" | Main | Free Reads -- Paul Johnson »

October 17, 2002

Free Reads -- Steve Sailer

Friedrich --

I love checking in on the protean Steve Sailer (here). He writes enlighteningly about evolutionary biology, he writes sensible political commentary, and he writes smart, brave, always-worth-wrestling-with things about race and immigration. (A standout piece on whether or not the concept of race has any validity is here.)

In addition to all that, he's a movie critic who takes a distinctive approach to thinking about movies, treating their business and popular history not in the usual way (as gossip and matter for facile sociology) but as evidence of what works and what doesn't in the art form. It's a kind of evo-bio approach to writing about the arts -- let's see more of that. He even manages to get off the occasional good, yet informative, anti-P.C. crack, as he does in a review (here) of the Navajos-in-WW2 thriller "Windtalkers."

Sample passage:

The screenwriters...are so terrified of being accused of stereotyping Native Americans that they portray the Navajo with no particular traits. Look, you can't "celebrate diversity" unless you show some diversity. In reality, the Navajo are fascinating. They are possibly the most economically dynamic of all tribes. They were originally invaders from Canada who arrived in the Southwest not long before the conquistadors. Acquiring sheep from white people, they prudently shifted from hunting and gathering to herding, weaving, and crafts manufacturing. While the rest of the Native American population was in catastrophic decline due to European diseases, weapons and alcohol, the Navajo exploded in numbers, much to the distress of their neighbors and rivals, the more conservative Hopi tribe.

You won't find that kind of thing in Film Comment.



posted by Michael at October 17, 2002


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