Sunday, September 27, 2009

America's Best Idea

Is anybody else watching the new Ken Burns doc on National Parks? The discourses of nature deployed both in the guiding conceits of the piece itself as well as in evidence in some of the most moving materials it cites are enormously interesting for our course-community. Some marvelous stuff so far in ep 1, do others agree, disagree?


  1. I watched a 30 minute menagerie of episode clips online. It opened with a postal worker's subliminal tale in yellowstone's winter ending ending his retelling with a definitive "This moment can last forever!" [Don't worry america about global warming!]

    What I really love is the elederly woman saying "in the US you don't have to be dependent on some rich guy being generous to you [making parks]" with folky americana music playing in the background. (funny GM was listed as funder for the film on this particular clip) I look forward to watching more.

  2. I was listening to CSPAN radio today and I'm pretty sure the speaker was talking about the "National Parks" series because he called the National Parks "America's best idea."

    Anyways, he said some pretty interesting remarks. Among other things, he said that (I'm going to paraphrase) "Nature never lies. Nature is Truth (or something to that effect)," and "When one is outside of Nature one is caught up with the past and future, but when one goes into Nature one comes into contact with the present (the Now)"

    His remarks echoed Emerson's "Nature" and Carlyle's "Characteristics" (interestingly enough when I was reading "Characteristics" at some points I thought Carlyle was directly citing Emerson). They all seem to be employing the discourse of Nature as the Sublime.

    But, while I agree on an intuitive and emotional level with their sentiments about Nature I have a hard time parsing what exactly "Nature is Truth" means.