Abstract

This essay argues that the third season of Ice Road Truckers employs a hyperbolic language of fear and death in order to endorse seemingly paradoxical industrial and environmental aesthetics The former makes use of a set of ideas about the technological sublime, while the latter makes use of certain theories about the natural sublime. Presenting viewers with a constant barrage of mechanical images and technical terms, IRT glorifies the development of the North Slope's oil fields, the building of the Haul Road, and the construction of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, all of which are cast as marvels of human engineering and examples of the technological sublime. Using the narration and its talk of death and destruction to evoke the natural sublime, Ice Road Truckers shows viewers spectacular aerial footage of the icy, snow-covered mountains of the Brooks Range and the bleak, wind-swept tundra of the North Slope. In the end, this television program effectively sutures these two seemingly irreconcilable versions of the sublime and presents viewers with a vision of the Alaskan wilderness in which the technological and the natural comfortably coexist. By doing so, IRT is able to endorse the industrial development of the Arctic and champion the wildness of nature.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 132-151
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-02
Open Access
No
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