Friday, May 05, 2006

Yep, just a little bit of pixie dust. Now, think of the happiest things. It's the same as having wings.

This piece by Robert Farley on the conservative penchant to push the Tinkerbell Theory of geopolitics is worth reading. Farley is a man after my own heart as he spreads liberal quotes from Goodfellas, The Usual Suspects and The Godfather throughout in making his point.

All of it's great but what struck me was this aspect of Farley's argument:

Recall also Michael Corleone's comment at the end of Godfather II, about how history has shown that anyone can be killed. In Apocalypse Now, Colonel Kurtz demonstrates that only a Will to commit atrocity is necessary to defeat the Viet Cong. The Will explanation extends to athletics, as well. How often does a commentator explain a team's victory through their commitment, courage, and Will rather than through the fact that it plays better and is more talented? As noted above, this explanation is attractive precisely because it is so lazy; the Yankees win games because they have talented players, not because they have Will. Nevertheless, pop culture evocations of the importance of Will are extremely common. Will plays better as a story than a sober analysis of things like capability, skill, or talent. Will is dramatic and surprising in a way that capability is not.

I wish he'd taken the time to flesh that point out a little more. It's not just Will as an aspect of popular culture but also as an underlying theme to the culture of business which has become predominant over these last 30 years. Business celebrates the importance of Will at the corporate level all the way down to the Zig Ziglers and other motivational speakers. Sheer determination can shape reality and wipe out the comptetition.

The conservative belief in the power of Will, it's "triumph" if you will, reminds me of another political movement who valued the power of positive thinking over objective reality. I believe Leni Riefenstahl made a little film about that movement:


Anonymous said...

That's funny. It looks like a Nazi poster. Hey. . . wait a minute.

Dean Wormer said...

Admit it: only I could find a way to mix Peter Pan and Nazi propaganda movies.

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