Val Salvo
The Primitive & Us

a review of

Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives by Marianna Torgovnick, University of Chicago, 1990, 328 pp.

Gone Primitive is about the cliched, figurative concepts (now fashionably called “tropes” in academic, literary deconstructive and critical theory circles) of the primitive which haunt the modern West. However, the actual intricate complexities of the primitive societies not yet physically or culturally obliterated are of no real interest to most Western observers and never have been. According to Torgovnick, the fascination with those who the European invaders conquered and later came to see as discrete objects for inquiry, furnish a disguised way to talk about Western power relationships, particularly the issues of gender and sexuality.

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Val Salvo
Wealth and Poverty: In the Shadow of an Exclusive Club Fifth Estate reprint, Summer 1991

Expensive new cars--Lincolns, Cadillacs, Mercedes, Jaguars--arrive at the entrance to the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC). Rich, white men dressed in $750 suits, $200 wing-tip shoes, custom tailored shirts, sporting $2,000 Rolex watches are greeted brightly but obsequiously by uniformed black attendants.

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