Tuesday 31 August 2010

the effects of entitlement

It's this blogger's view that Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is the most influential 100 pages of the last 110 years. For those interested in climate change and culture, its special achievement is that it's a work of art that addresses an immediate moral concern - the slave trade in the Congo - but gives that concern a much wider and deeper significance.

Some credit for its current status as one of the most widely studied texts in our culture must go to others. T. S. Eliot took the epigraph for 'The Hollow Men' (1925) from the novella. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre did a radio version in 1939. (Welles' screenplay can be read here). In 1979 Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now introduced the story, in a very different context, to a new generation of filmgoers.

And now there's a graphic novel by Catherine Anyango. The graphic artist describes the book's relevance today in terms which will be familiar to those following the climate change debate:

It's about the idea of entitlement; [how] through the ages we enforce our feelings of entitlement in whatever way that age will allow from Leopold II owning the Congo as a private possession to the corporations involved with blood diamonds. The effects of entitlement have not so much gone out of fashion as out of sight.

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