Trudy Dittmar explains in "Wolf Show, Truman, Ersatz Moon," her essay from Fauna and Flora, Earth and Sky: Brushes with Nature’s Wisdom, a collection of ten essays from University of Iowa Press.
Nature writing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but add some cinema and cultural-political intrigue and you’ve got some evocative reading. Such is the case with Dittmar’s book, a title from the Sightline nonfiction series edited by Patricia Hampl and Carl H. Klaus.
Dittmar uses nature to introduce us to what Dittmar’s thinking, but she swirls in a sort of existential take on a movie to discuss a large, far-reaching issue of today’s society: the uncanny valley. She’s not talking about artificial intelligence or robots or the stuff of sci-fi. She’s talking about how we can hardly tell the difference between reality and what’s on the screens before our zombified faces. The essay weaves two stories about a public event of watching wolves in their “natural” habitat and The Truman Show, a ‘90s movie starring Jim Carey.
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