December 21, 2017
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
CLASSIC WESTERNS and the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: A New Essay Published by The Unz Review
Back on October 30, earlier this year, I sent out a MY CORNER that discussed American Western film as a kind of metaphor for and emblem of American history, of American settlers and pioneers meeting and, hopefully, overcoming challenges, and in the process, thereby giving texture to the young American republic. Portraying our struggles, trials, the triumphs, and, as well, our failures, was and has been a means of self-expression, an opportunity to explain to others—and to ourselves—who we are and who we have been, as a people. The classic Western movie—what the director Elia Kazan has called “America’s unique contribution to cinema”—has been over the past century both a mirror of American experience and, as well, a vehicle for memory and memorialization of history and heroes that oftentimes seem remote and clouded in mists.
In a sense, the Western took over the role of the great historic legends and inherited myths—the Sagas from Scandinavia, the legend of the Holy Grail in England and Brittany, or King Clovis of France. And in more recent times, as the nation has seemed to sink into decay and moral uncertainty, again, the Western has represented that, too.
This morning that MY CORNER from October 30, in an edited version, has been published by The Unz Review, and I take this opportunity to pass it on (below) to you now. My belief is that the subjects addressed, while not the current hot-button issues that dominate the news this last week before Christmas, have a broader meaning for us as Americans. And I hope that the reflective approach you will find of some value, especially during this Holy Season.
THE UNZ REVIEW
"All I Want to Do Is Enter My House Justified!"
The Classic American Western As Emblem of Historic American Culture