holy colonial langauge, Batman!

From the cover copy of The Serpent and the Rainbow:

Drawn into a netherworld or rituals and celebrations, Davis penetrated the vodoun mystique deeply enough to place zombification in its proper context within vodoun culture.

In other words, the Rational Masculine West encountered the Mystical Feminine Other, and then had sex with it.

I haven’t tried to read the book itself, so I don’t know if this is the fault of the marketing department or Wade Davis. But jeebus. It’s like a whole game of Colonialism Bingo, all in one sentence.

0 Responses to “holy colonial langauge, Batman!”

  1. malsperanza

    I don’t know if this is the fault of the marketing department or Wade Davis

    Both, probably. *points to “serpent” and “rainbow” in title*

    If you liked the blurb, you’ll love the book: it’s an Essentialismfest. All that masculine western metaphorical sex gets, um, reified.

    • Marie Brennan

      Poking around, I saw the quote the title alludes to; am I correct in guessing that quote comes from a white Western writer? I can’t tell from the name alone.

      I knew the sex got reified in the movie; I was hoping (apparently in vain) that it would not be so in the book.

      Sigh.

      • malsperanza

        I don’t remember. I read it a long time ago, and mostly what I recall was being thoroughly squicked by the adroit second-wave essentializing–the kind that starts out by declaring solidarity with and respect for the objects of study, thereby conferring subjecthood on them, and then chugs along merrily with the same old anthropological gimcrackery.

        White guy from Harvard goes to Haiti to research pharmacology, discovers self, smokes a lot of ganga, gets laid by reallycool Others, becomes reallycoolified, makes wholly specious but reallycool pseudoscientific discovery (because knows how to look with nonwhite eyes, due to reallycooliness), incidentally confers Harvard authenticity on heretofore disenfranchised folk practices, goes home enlightened and sells film rights, taking subjecthood with him.

  2. moonandserpent

    Oh, it’s all Wade Davis. Everything he’s written is a bit like that.

    He well and truly buys his own hype from every story I’ve heard.

    If you need a book to serve a similar purpose, seek thee out Maya Deren’s “Divine Horsemen”.

    • Marie Brennan

      Blame Kyle; he’s the one who bought the thing.

      For gaming purposes, natch.

      • moonandserpent

        For gaming purposes it’s not bad, and it is a fun read. (And for his specific purposes, probably not a bad pick.) But it’s not what I’d call unproblematic.

        Hell, the movie is fun, too.

  3. therinth

    I actually enjoyed it.

    However, the more scientific “Passage of Darkness” is the better book, IMO.

    (Also, i dunno if you know that i’m Erin from your group πŸ˜‰ — hi ;))

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