The Wild and the Free:
Shane, Rousseau, Hippies
by Donal McGraith
9781895166323 $10.95 97 pages Paperbound
The Wild & The Free begins as a series of meditations about wilderness and freedom; about the American frontier in fact and fiction, and its promise of freedom for refugees. But then it draws back to consider Rousseau, Zerzan and the largely negative effects on humanity and personal freedom which stem from the advent of agriculture. Along the way, Donal McGraith considers such topics as ‘buyer’s regret,’ which is evidenced by our consumerism and attempts to convince ourselves that we have not lost something of value. And he takes a detailed look at the film Shane whose chief protagonist exemplifies the impossibility of personal integrity when faced by the demands of loyalty brought about by civilization. With his insistence on individual responsibility, Shane chooses to become an outsider, to stand apart from the family, law and gangs that compete for his allegiance.
Part screed, McGraith attacks the complicity between post-modernism, technocracy and consumerism. Distracted as we are by the pursuit of things, he highlights how this plays into our complacency with misery, homelessness, and ecological disaster. Wholesale capitulation to so-called technological innovation has allowed us to ignore the utter degradation and self-loathing we incarnate. McGraith does find clues to a different kind of life we all know to be possible in the paleolithic and specific gathering societies that survived into the 20th century. Filled with provocative insights, this is a personal and unconventional book.
Donal McGraith has written for magazines such as Musicworks and Sub Rosa and his essay 'Anti-Copyright and Cassette Culture' was included in Sound By Artists (Lander & Lexier ed.). The most public moment of his literary career may still be the front page editorial in the inaugural edition of a new arts section of the Toronto Star condemning him for his attacks on Canadian cultural icons and his argument that high art abounds with racism, sexism, political apologia and self-indulgence.
Other Notices of Donal McGraith:
"A more interesting polemic that takes a run at the history of contemporary art and underground music is Donal McGraith's 'Anti-Copyright and Cassette Culture.'"
Clive Robertson, Fuse, Winter 1991, Vol. 14 No. 3.
delivers a mock serenade of abuse to the pompous
Be sure not to listen to this imposter; you are lost, if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong equally to us all, and the earth itself to nobody!
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau