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  • hardie karges 1:25 pm on October 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cowboys, Indians, Western movies   

    I Never Liked Western movies, not really… 

    …until now, that is, what with all the cowboys and Indians fussing and fighting, and people getting knocked over the head with gun butts—not good. Back in the 60’s and/or 70’s, there was much “to-do” over violence on TV, with all the ensuing Congressional committees and so on and so forth, which all seems rather quaint now, what with violence many times over that now standard fare on evening TV, and sex out the wazoo, the yin-yang, the whatever, you name it…

    With regard to the violence, the concern was that kids would see the gratuitous stuff and emulate it at home and elsewhere. I’d say that sentiment proved prescient, given the current level of violence in the USA, now just a major Reality TV show. Even all the hubbub over ‘Natural Born Killers’ long ago seems quaint now, even though it made it to the halls of Congress (the fact that Quentin Tarantino intended it as humor seemed lost on them, though not future fans of ‘Pulp Fiction’)…

    But the proof was more personal, the fact that I walloped my older brother over the head with the butt end of a toy gun to great fanfare, distress and concern, and loss of liberties to myself (sent to my room, with no conjugal visits). No, that did not go over well, and my protests that, “All the cowboys do it,” didn’t seem to help. No, I was in deep do-do. Nevertheless, I survived, but will we?

    Now I like watching Western movies strictly for their historical value. After all, when that genre was all the rage in the 50’s, there were still people alive who knew that era first-hand, and even if they got much of their visual input from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows, still there was a direct line of transmission from the authentic previous era of the 1880’s, if not the 1850’s. The Oregon Trail is still there, if you know where to look, and so is Silver City, NM. In fact the old West is pretty much still alive, if you know where to go, not Italy, maybe Argentina, guns optional…

     
  • hardie karges 7:45 pm on February 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cowboys,   

    Vaqueros 

    Mexicans were the original cowboys of the American West, as attested in such Spanish-derived words as ‘buckeroo’, ‘lasso’, ‘chaps’, ‘rodeo’, etc.  Before wresting Texas from Mexico, Americans learned from the locals how to work the thousands of longhorn cattle grazing there on public land and put it to good use when the Civil War was over and the industrialized North was hungry for cheap Texas beef.  So they built railroads.  The golden age of the free-range cattle drives lasted only twenty years, but made a more lasting impression on the American psyche as the era that most represents the American personality.  The impact on Mexico was probably even greater, where to this day, ‘western wear’ stores can be found lined chock-a-block in any western Mexican city and a great many others, also.  Similarly, Plains Indians are considered the typical war bonnet American Indians, though their entire history as horsemen hunting buffalo barely spans a hundred years.  Their ancestors apparently hunted the native American horse to extinction 8-10,000 years ago after fifty million years of evolution, only to be re-introduced in highly-evolved breeds by those same Spaniards who taught the Americans vaquerismo.  Thus a long evolutionary and geographical cycle was complete, in which horses established strongholds in central Asia, the Russian steppes, and northern Europe before finally being tamed and breed into the fierce fast fleet war horses of Parthian, Arabian, and European legend.  All this was before the Spanish used them as superior technology to subdue native Americans.

     
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