“Kawa-Liga” (Hank Williams)

It’s all about a tree that has been cut, modified and commodified—turned into a red, cigar-store Indian. On the one hand, the tree, in the form of the brave warrior, aspires to human status. It wants to “show” something to the world—to speak and interact, for example, with the wooden Indian maiden across the street, peeking out from the antique store. But it also remembers a time before commodification, “when he was still an old pine tree,” communing in the forest. Perhaps this is the whole of the problem of the stereotype. It necessarily tends toward hardened inertia, and yet there is no clear alternative. Yes, one can fight stereotypes, and replace nasty, old types with seemingly benign and corrected new ones. But no matter how proud one is of these achievements, petrification begins again with representation and the market. A kind of reverse-Pinocchio strategy remains strangely plausible, however, and it starts by pining for the unformed.


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