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Re: The last dinosaur book

Ilja Nieuwland wrote:
> Hi all,
> I just finished Bill Mitchell's _The last dinosaur book_...
> I would be curious to learn how you lot thought about this book.
> Anyone?

I'm currently working on a review of this book, so my thoughts are good
and fresh.

All in all it seems an unfortunate treatment of the subject. In a field
of study (cultural history) plagued by accusations of poor scholarship,
Mitchell claims he wrote the book for archosauromorph aliens of the deep
future, unconvincingly equates dinosaurs with totems (then claims that
faults with the comparison actually bolster it, because totemism is more
poorly defined than it used to be), and finally justifies his work by
claiming that humanists "operate with a different stylistic canon...that
wit, flair, an air of the daring and paradoxical, the essayistic and
improvisatory, is valued in the humanities." If the book had more wit
and flair I'd certainly be inclined to accept this.

On the plus side, some of Mitchell's topical essays are thoughtful,
particularly when it comes to pictorial analysis and changes in visual
(as opposed to ideological) representation over time. His writing on the
evolution of images is quite good, as is the coda on what he calls
"Paleoart"- dinosaurs in modern and postmodern art, not realistic
representation of extinct life.

In total, a few solid thoughts scattered throughout a framework of
overextended ideas. Man's fascination with dinosaurs deserves better treatment.

Then again, I'm also jealous of Mitchell's publishing contract.