Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tarzan in Paris

AFP reports that a new museum exhibit examining Tarzan's legacy has opened in Paris, France. The focus seems to be on the role Edgar Rice Burroughs' character has had on Western perceptions of the African continent.

"Popular western culture," said the head of the museum Stephane Martin, "whether it be books, fashion or music, is nurtured by non-European worlds. Tarzan shows how the West saw Africa."

Unfortunately, if the AFP article is to be believed, the curator of this exhibit, Roger Boulay, seems to have a poor grasp of the pop culture that is his subject matter.

"Tarzan differs from other super-heroes because his resources are in himself," said curator Boulay. "He grew up in nature, the others such as Batman or others took their super powers from other galaxies."

I hope he misspoke, because that's the first I've heard of Batman's extra-galactic super powers.

Still, Tarzan himself would be quite at home in Paris. After all, French was the first language he learned to speak. And when he went to visit his friend, Lt. D'Arnot in Paris he made the most of civilization's luxuries.

"If he smoked too many cigarettes and drank too much absinth it was because he took civilization as he found it, and did the things that he found his civilized brothers doing."

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