Tandem Reads: Blood Meridian and Tristes Tropiques


Let me start with two different ledes. First, I love Cormac McCarthy, but I’m a little embarrassed of that fact. Second, every writer really wants to be an anthropologist.

I mean, isn’t Cormac McCarthy a bit much, and aren’t we all a bit wary of the cowboy’s romance, awash in blood and ash as it were, a prevailing carelessness whose presidential poster child left us with a bitter taste in our mouths and confirmation that our capitalism is indeed late, that we are bivouacked here for the foreseeable future at the crumbling edge of our greed and haste? Isn’t the best thing a cowboy can do is fall in love and stay put, but don’t they mess it up every time? The thing about Blood Meridian is that it’s never a question why any of them are out there—call it fate, or call it, as the judge might, history—but the draw of the frontier is only a ploy for one’s own renunciations, for dismantling what has been received as the conditions of your life and conceiving of yourself, of the possibilities of humanity, in an altogether more fundamental—and thus truer—understanding. And isn’t this anthropology?

Read the whole piece at The Hairsplitter.