Fast Times at Liberty Valance High; or The Reel-Life Politics of Ford’s Anti-Western

I knew where it was going. Anyone who’s done his or her western homework would.

There are two American archetypes that were sometimes played against each other in old Westerns.

The egghead Eastern lawyer who lacks the skills or stomach for a gunfight is contrasted with the tough Western rancher and ace shot who has no patience for . . . → Read More: Fast Times at Liberty Valance High; or The Reel-Life Politics of Ford’s Anti-Western

The Man from Laramie; or, The One-Two Punch of 1950s America

Ah, the beauty of pulpish western cover art, filled to the brim with all the perfect 1950s western cover clichés, combined and intertwined in a perfect union of cinematic, pulp western majesty.

Can life get any better?

You might recognize the title, perhaps? Anthony Mann’s films with James Stewart, such as The Man from Laramie (1955) are . . . → Read More: The Man from Laramie; or, The One-Two Punch of 1950s America

One’s All You Need; or, Shane’s Successful Showdown Advice

Control your arsenal at all times.

Just as real-life sharpshooters should be aware of the number of bullets (think of Dirty Harry’s classic line that foiled the Scorpio Killer: “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’”), a Silver-Screen Western Hero wannabe knows the quantity and quality of his or her . . . → Read More: One’s All You Need; or, Shane’s Successful Showdown Advice

A Mayor Cowboy Fail; or, Bloomberg’s Sheridan Moment

The conflict: New York State wants to collect taxes on tribal sales of cigarettes.

The background: Can’t say I know or will understand in the little time I have left to read the news today. But once sovereign nations and big-ass cocky states get into a brouhaha, you know there’s going to be mucho macho. And Mayor . . . → Read More: A Mayor Cowboy Fail; or, Bloomberg’s Sheridan Moment

Finally, Obama’s a Freaking Cowboy Already

I read Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent words with a dizzying feeling of deja vu. Wait–wha?–we’re cowboys again?

“American materialist politicians, whenever they are beaten by logic, immediately resort to their weapons like cowboys,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech before a crowd of several thousand in northwestern Iran.

Interesting that our statesmanlike leader–intellectual to the point of at-times . . . → Read More: Finally, Obama’s a Freaking Cowboy Already

I Heart the Obama Kid

The Kid is in. The Great Decider is out–and so are slimy campaign innuendos. I’ll not be sorry to hear the last of the slander of the good Maverick family name. I’ll not be sorry to have less of cowboy-diplomacy-this* and cowboy-foreign-policy-that drop into my inbox with such alarming regularity. And I won’t be surprised if this . . . → Read More: I Heart the Obama Kid

Gunlock; or, From Cowboy to Taxi Driver

In times of moral confusion, I turn to my collection of a gajillion western paperbacks from the 1940s and 1950s*. Their bold colors and bolder titles (such as Action by Night, Gunsmoke Justice, Dig the Spurs Deep) bring me back to my center. Good/bad. Right/wrong. Yes/no.

The one-two punch of pulp writers, who must have banged these . . . → Read More: Gunlock; or, From Cowboy to Taxi Driver

Wanted: Cowboy Presidents 2008

I’ve been unwilling to saddle up the presidential cowboy analogies for some time–Dubya too easy of a target–but THANK ALL THAT IS COWPOKE for recent presidential candidate news. 

Barack Obama resists the cowboy hat–all I can see him as is the lawyer/Dude from a big city, or maybe as a laid-back (yet pistol-packing) James Stewart in Destry Rides Again, . . . → Read More: Wanted: Cowboy Presidents 2008

TR's Blessings on Us (U.S.); or, the Origin of the Cowboy

A patriotic theme for a patriotic day—Happy July 4th!

On July 1, 1898, Roosevelt was cursing the fact that he had to dismount from his steed, Little Texas, to lead the cavalry charge up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill in Cuba.  But he knew that if he could get up to the top and . . . → Read More: TR's Blessings on Us (U.S.); or, the Origin of the Cowboy

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?