March 16, 2007

What Mt. Rushmore tells us

Wickham:  The floating heads of Mount RushmoreModernity confronts a wrecked earth-climate, dwindling resources and decimated species in shattered habitats. Mount Rushmore's effigies symbolize a Swiss Army knife of prosperity and progress--freedom from tyranny, democracy, social and racial equality, and capitalism. These ideals proved inadequate to the environmental tasks ahead and have become part of the problem. President Bush's technological Band-Aids may postpone this crash, but they will not stop the engine. Something fundamental is required, and Mount Rushmore holds a clue.

Mount Rushmore can be parodied as decapitated heads floating over the land, having lost all memory of it. Like the Taliban's vandalism, Mount Rushmore represents a national graffiti by disfiguring the magnificent natural imagery of the historic Black Hills. Mount Rushmore's icons of iron superimpose the ideological superiority of American ideals over ageless indigenous wisdom. This portrays another ideal as worthless to mankind--the extraordinary insights into human nature by Native cultures that for 10,000 years revered and protected this distinctive landscape.


Anonymous said...

I can't get past the horribly gaseous and pompous writing of the reporter. I had to read the article three times to figure what in the hell he was trying to say.

That's too bad, because the broad point is well taken. Still...I always cringe when someone makes a comparison to the Taliban or Nazis. Trivializes what these two groups represent which, unfortunately, trivializes what the carvings represent.

voyageur said...

Writerfella is right. There is a sort of face on the far right. It looks exactly like Ronald Reagan, but wearing one of those starfish face masks worn by "Mermaid Man" from Spongebob.