Vivanco - Tarzan - Intro
Robert J. Gordon
We live in a post-explorer era in which it is widely considered that the feats
of the great adventurers are remnants of history and that the Earth's mysterious
places and peoples have long "been discovered." Yet adventure
enjoys ubiquitous status in public culture and late capitalism. Adventure television,
from the Discovery Channel to the "reality shows," is a major growth
area. Best-selling books and magazines increasingly feature "extreme content"
and narratives of audaciously successful and famously disastrous expeditions.
The best selling SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) speaks volumes
about the current fascination with adventure and the goods deemed necessary
for it. Such purchases clearly have major environmental consequences,
yet people persist in purchasing them even though they — like most SUVs —
will never be used for what they are supposed to be capable of doing. These
totems of the desirable bespeak a nostalgia for more heroic days.