Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Things You Don't Hear Very Often

UPDATE: Here is another interesting thing about cowboys you don't hear very often: while most of the modern world, and probably guys like Hitler and George W. Bush, have thought of cowboys as being an almost uniformly-white class of people, that actually wasn't the case at all of the actual Old West. Being a cowboy in the Old West was a very working-class profession, and cowboys were often immigrants. Around 30% of cowboys actually weren't even white, but were African American, Native American, or Hispanic. The idea of cowboys as an all-white thing isn't something that came from the cowboys themselves-- rather it's something that came from writers of fiction novels back east, or from the sons of settlers in Western towns and cities who profited from the place that the original cowboys and settlers tamed (think of them as the west's original conservative, suburban, middle-class pansies-- the original George W. Bush's). They wanted to take the cowboy legend of the place they were living in and turn it into their own thing that pleased them the most, including an all-white cast of characters that was completely at odds with the real Old West. The real Old West-- at least as far as the cowboys-- was a lot more like The Lone Ranger and Tonto, or Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman in Unforgiven.

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Here is an interesting parallel between our President, George Bush, and Adolf Hitler that you don't hear very often.

George Bush lives on a fake ranch (really a pig farm converted into a home) in Texas when he isn't in Washington, and he likes to talk like a cowboy and pretend that he's a cowboy even though he's really from the Northeast.

And what do you think Adolf Hitler most liked to read in his spare time? It wasn't books about political theory, books praising the culture or history of Germany, books about warfare, or even racist propaganda books. Little Adolf liked to read cheapo cowboy novels by the writer Karl May. These were the type of thing that didn't reflect the Old West accurately at all, but rather turned cowboys into super-hero type figures. A lot of men read them like boys read comic books, or like men read Tom Clancy novels today.

This, of course, doesn't mean that cowboy = Nazi, or that everyone who dresses like a cowboy or likes some aspect of country-western culture is bad or racist. And it's also not the type of thing I usually spend my time pointing out on this blog. But since the media has acquiesced over the past few years in the face of a propaganda assault making cowboys and NASCAR fans out to be something like the Nazi German idea of a German Volk (if not a racial ├╝bermensch), I just thought I'd point out a parallel that is very clear, and based on well-known facts, but that no one bothers to mention (perhaps because it's a little more direct and clear than is comfortable for the Republicans).

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