Saturday, June 25, 2005


Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News takes a look at an American west exhibition in the UK and reveals she doesn't like America or its past:
There are still men who work cows and who wear the traditional regalia (especially on Saturday nights when they hit the bars looking for girls who don't mind sexually transmitted diseases as long as they come with a ten-gallon hat and boots). Film-maker Vanalyne Green, visiting Wyoming a decade ago, made a documentary, Saddle Sores, detailing her amatory and medical adventures following an encounter with a local cowboy. A few years later Kim Shelton made a gritty documentary called The Highly Exalted, about present-day Nevada cowboys. Last year, when I bumped into someone who knew the cowboys in the film and asked what had become of them, he remarked casually that they were probably all in jail - ranch work is a dependable fall-back job for ex-convicts.

In recent years "cowboy" has come to stand for shoddy, don't-give-a-damn construction work and rude, boisterous behaviour. And, as this exhibition shows, it has also taken on a political colour, not of the decent, stalwart protector, but of an aggressive, foolhardy bully who forces weaker entities to submit to his will. The west has come to symbolise the policies and character of a country increasingly hated in the larger world, cutting fences and forcing its cows through. Thus has the heroic myth circled back to bite its creator on the ass.
As it turns out, Ms Proulx is not a happy camper. In her most recent "essay" she comments on a visit to Santa Fe:
There were an enormous number of people walking with their dogs, strolling, leaping, trotting, posing for photographs, urging each other on through the twisting path and jabbering loudly... For one used to the outdoor emptiness and silence of Wyoming such a crush of people was almost unendurable and I got into a bad temper, partly in response to everyone else's jolliness.
I'll bet she'd be happy if Bush abandoned Iraq.


Anonymous The_Real_JeffS said...

She also wouldn't know a real cowboy if one came up from behind and goosed her. Having quite a bit of time in Wyoming myself, I suspect she hung around the tourist hotspots, and probably got poorly shagged by some cowboy wannabe from some large metropolis.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Jorgen said...

Are you volunteering to shag her to put her right?

3:12 PM  

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