Now and all are important : a post-structural critique of humanism, Aldo Leopold's "The Land Ethic," and Disney/Pixar's "Wall-E"

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


Feelings of hopelessness and meaninglessness have become hallmarks of American society. As a filmmaker and film educator it is clear I share a responsibility to address these defining issues. Using some of the ideas of Zygmunt Bauman, Jacques Derrida, Neil Evernden, Claude Levi-Strauss, Bill Nichols, Nell Noddings, José Ortega y Gasset, Edward Said, and Erwin Straus, I observe this problem to be a result of dispassionate humanism-a machineworld story considered appropriate in the current social construction. From this critical perspective, I then analyze Aldo Leopold's The Land Ethic and the Disney/Pixar film WALL-E. The former I show to be written in such a way as to leave its audience confused. The latter I demonstrate fosters unnecessary and immoral assumptions about the "imminent" collapse of our civilization. In conclusion, I make clear that it is how we relate to our current existence that is important. While the power of our ideas is truly humankind's greatest creation, that power is naught outside of time and the realities of our being Earth-bound. What we must learn to value in America alongside the power of ideas, are the responsibilities inherent in simply being.


The curtsy is a film that is part of the student's thesis project.



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