A Cowboy’s Life; 51…32…

32. Life is more interesting as a Cowboy.

You’ve got to be careful with this Cowboy thing, but with judicious application, the most mundane duties become charged with Mythic meaning.

from Gunman’s Gold, by Max Brand

Pocket Books, 1960

illustrator unknown

Last Stand! Trapped! Brush Fire! or Die! When this is truly the case, you . . . → Read More: A Cowboy’s Life; 51…32…

The True Meaning of Ka-ching!; or, 51 Cowboy Facts, Continued

The End of the Trail, by Peter Field

cover illus. Earl Bergey

Pocket Book, 1945

from the collection of ES

36. Anybody can wear cowboy boots; it’s the person who wears spurs who commands attention.*

* Although, outside of a rodeo, a horse show, a trail ride, a ranch, or some . . . → Read More: The True Meaning of Ka-ching!; or, 51 Cowboy Facts, Continued

51 Cowboy Facts; or, the Mythic Metaphor

There are days when words come easy. There are days when words come hard. And there are days when other people come to you with the perfect words.

Cowboy metaphors are simple to use but harder to back up (see “cowboy diplomacy”). From the press statements of world leaders to casual water-cooler talk, the downright sloppy use . . . → Read More: 51 Cowboy Facts; or, the Mythic Metaphor

51 Cowboy Facts; or, Continuing the Countdown

Bucko’s Boots. Photo copyright  2008 comoed

42. No other shoes do what cowboy boots do.

41. No other shoes do what cowboy boots do.

40. No other boots do what cowboy boots do.

OK, OK, that’s cheating. But it is a fact that bears repeating.

41. Walking in boots makes you imagine the ching of spurs. All . . . → Read More: 51 Cowboy Facts; or, Continuing the Countdown

Powboy; or, 51 Cowboy Facts

Fifty-one facts about the Cowboy Myth:

51. The spirit of the Cowboy is alive and well, even when it shouldn’t be.

50. The Cowboy makes people pose.

49. Some people look better in cowboy hats than others.

48. Shredded computer printout paper does not hay make.

47. It’s best to be earnest about appropriating the Cowboy.

46. You don’t have to sing . . . → Read More: Powboy; or, 51 Cowboy Facts

The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly

Historical museums take pride in displaying the good, the bad, and the ugly of Americana (cue spaghetti western soundtrack). They collect and preserve objects that are sometimes significant, but are usually the kinds of things found in the back of someone’s untidy closet. I admit that I was a voyeur at first, drawn to their quirks like a . . . → Read More: The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly

Cowboy Hero, Take 2

Like a tumbling tumbleweed, a question or thought on one blog is is found on another. From High Country News (For Those Who Care About the West) comes the feature story “Why the West Needs Mythic Cowboys.”

Untitled (Woody Strode), copyright 2007

The author Jeffrey Lockwood argues, like Batboy42, that Myths (in . . . → Read More: Cowboy Hero, Take 2

Who Was That Masked Man?

A certain commentary conversation was getting veeeery interesting, so I have to bring it to the light of day. High Noon day that is. I had fingered Gary Cooper as a Man Worthy of Emulation (at least on the silver screen). Cooper’s Everyman Marshal Kane is willing to risk all for the sake of duty. . . . → Read More: Who Was That Masked Man?

What Would Gary Cooper Do?

When life appears frustrating, demeaning, terrifying, unfixable, and/or immutable, it is helpful to ask: “What would Gary Cooper do?”

His example—and that of other western celluloid heroes—provides an antidote to the life of the office drone, the frustrated housewife/husband, or the cog in the machine. Following the Cowboy Way allows one to stand . . . → Read More: What Would Gary Cooper Do?