June 16, 2003

European lack of sophisticaton...

Directive from the Dean's Office

It is with annoyance that the Dean of Students notes a comment from Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, where she criticized President Bush for acting like the lone ranger in Iraq.

I have as yet to witness a more blatant display of European ignorance of the most fundamental archetypes of American culture.

In this case, the Archetype of the Cowboy that rules within the minds of all Americans is one of a lone man or small band of men in a lawless land running up against and defeating a bunch of thugs and criminals preying on the nascent foundations of civilization.

That is, the Cowboy rides into town, shoots the bad guy dead, kisses the girl, kisses his horse, gets on it, and leaves.

While the vision of the Cowboy lives in the heart of every young American boy, this version of the Eternal Hero lives on in the Southwest and Middle plains of the United States, most notably Texas. Thus, to label a Texan President as a "Cowboy", and to expect it to be perceived as an insult, is to display an appalling ignorance that Stalin himself would have labelled as treason.

Displays of ignorance of this sort were common long before the Iraqi conflict, but Ms. Lindh has distinguished herself by plunging to new depths thereof. In the Pantheon of Cowboys, the Lone Ranger (note the caps, Reuthers) stands among the Major Gods, right up there with Will Rogers, Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, and John Wayne. There are good reasons why the Texas state police are called the Texas Rangers (an organization that pre-dated that state's admission to the Union). The deeds of the Army Rangers are even more glorious.

A ranger is not just any cowboy. A ranger is the Pinnacle of Cowboyhood, the ideal toward which all Good Cowboys strive.

It is not as if Europe is in total ignorance. Lech Walesa, eulogizing Ronald Reagan, said this:

I have often been asked in the United States to sign the poster that many Americans consider very significant. Prepared for the first almost-free parliamentary elections in Poland in 1989, the poster shows Gary Cooper as the lonely sheriff in the American Western, "High Noon." Under the headline "At High Noon" runs the red Solidarity banner and the date--June 4, 1989--of the poll. It was a simple but effective gimmick that, at the time, was misunderstood by the Communists. They, in fact, tried to ridicule the freedom movement in Poland as an invention of the "Wild" West, especially the U.S.

But the poster had the opposite impact: Cowboys in Western clothes had become a powerful symbol for Poles. Cowboys fight for justice, fight against evil, and fight for freedom, both physical and spiritual. Solidarity trounced the Communists in that election, paving the way for a democratic government in Poland. It is always so touching when people bring this poster up to me to autograph it. They have cherished it for so many years and it has become the emblem of the battle that we all fought together.

The Dean therefore directs, to all faculty and staff, that all foreign students attending the War College be given the basics of American cultural Archetypes, so as to not bring dishonor and ridicule upon themselves, not to mention the War College, by uttering bone-headed gaffes such as this one committed by Ms. Lindh, in the course of their future employment.

[edited 6/12/04]

Here's an article from Opinion Journal relating to this subject. Excellent read, saying much better what I say here about the mythos of the cowboy.

Posted by ptah at June 16, 2003 10:25 AM

Yeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaaa !!!!!!!!!

A Jewish Cowboy from Illinois

Posted by: M. Simon at August 10, 2003 12:57 AM

Or, as detective John McClain (sp?) said to Hans in Die Hard, "Yippee-ki-yayy, M****r-F****r!!!!!"

Posted by: Bruce Lagasse at August 10, 2003 02:15 AM

And, Miss Sweden, be assured that MILLIONS of now-living Americans were children BEFORE TV, when we would sit around our RADIO, for the moment we'd awaited all week, as we ... 'Return now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear! A Masked Man, a speeding horse, a cloud of dust and a hearty, "Hi-Yo, Silver, awayyy!"

He was just, he was fair, he was intrepid and resourceful... he'd been shot in the back and other places during a bushwhacking ambush, and left in the arroyo to die, Miss Sweden, but an Amerindian (played by Jay Silverheels, a wonderful man in his own right!) nursed the Lone Ranger back to health, and loyally stayed by him to fight against lawlessness in the American west.

And Ma'am, that's just right off the top of my head, and I'm just one of millions... so to have some pipsqueak like YOU come along and call the American President 'a Lone Ranger' is just peachy-dandy with us!

Do NOT hold your breath in wonderment at why we don't suddenly hang-tail and skulk away from the immense task facing us (and the WHOLE free world, Ma'am) in Iraq and the Middle East...

America reveres and respects the ideals embodied in the Lone Ranger, and we always will... that's why we're in it til the finish, NOT for Iraq's sake alone, but because its a matter of honor!


Posted by: Eye Opener at August 10, 2003 01:50 PM

You left out "Randolf Scott" a real cowboy.

Posted by: OldSeaDog57 at August 11, 2003 05:44 PM


Ye burger flipping gods, please tell me you're only in junior high. Actually, please tell me you're only four.

"Unnumeral". Oh, lord. If this is an accurate indication of the linguistic skills being taught in American schools today, we're doomed.

Posted by: Bitterguy at September 1, 2003 01:03 AM

"Unnumeral". Oh, lord. If this is an accurate indication of the linguistic skills being taught in American schools today, we're doomed.

Why of course we are Bitterguy, just look at the Presidents linguistic skills for example.

Posted by: RealAmerican at September 26, 2003 09:49 PM
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