All of our thoughts and lore of Bigfoot center on a basic question – but is it real? This is the key concern here. Not Sasquatch, but Reality. The key concern is a test of science. The questions we ask are more in line with forensics. Hair. Footprints. DNA. Fossils. Carbon dating. As the 17th Century Enlightenment philosopher Sir Francis Bacon said the ambitions of science, “My only earthly wish is… to stretch the deplorably narrow limits of man’s dominion over the universe to their promised bounds… [nature will be] bound into service, hounded in her wanderings and put on the rack and tortured for her secrets.”
It’s a futuristic Titanic with some features of Robinson Crusoe with a dash of The Shining. It’s a fun movie, but begins to unravel at the slightest scrutiny. But it is one of those rare cases where the film’s criticism, instead of wilting under this kind of picking of nits, begins to make the film more interesting. In other words, the reason the film doesn’t work is the reason that it works. I read Passengers as an exemplary demonstration of the American Self that reveals something about the tradition of the myth of the American hero, its vulnerabilities, and its projection into a future space to indulge the American settler mythology that is an ideological cornerstone of American society.
Folklore in human history was really an oral tradition, some of it making its way into poetry and literature. In our time, our folklore comes basically from popular culture, but it still serves the cultural […]
Historian Nancy Isenberg’s new best seller White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class In America tell the uncomfortable story of how important it was to the American experiment to create for itself a myth […]