Monday, February 02, 2009
Last night on BBC2 there were two exploration shows. The first was Bruce Parry's Amazon. Wiry and objectionable, Parry's shtick is that he finds remote tribes and takes part in their lives and rituals. Last night, deep in the jungle (as we were repeatedly told), he encountered the Achuar people. They are mistrustful of whites but, after long negotiation, they let Parry and his crew in. This climax of his stay with the Achuar was taking part in a ritual involving the consumpton of hallucinogenics which are supposed to give you 'your vision'. Parry said his ego stopped him finding his vision. Actually, his ego had stopped him getting the story. Having established how isolated this tribe was, Parry then showed us a group of people wearing football shirts and with a large, accurately marked football pitch. He could have told us more about these people by getting an answer to one question - 'Where did you get your shirts?' - but he didn't. The next show was Simon Reeve's Explore in which Reeve travelled down the Great Rift Valley. He asked questions, he analysed, he got stories, good ones. Parry, sentimentally, suspended the third person perspective, his analytical imagination, and turned the Achua story into the Parry story. Reeve stood back and saw much more.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:04 am