Posts tagged ‘obama’

April 9, 2010

Finally, Obama's a Freaking Cowboy Already

by cowboylands

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 dismaying distance and wafflement–is being called a lowdown, dirty cowboy. Who knew that Ahmadinejad had such a grasp on Western frontier history? His use of the term “cowboy” is historically accurate. Before the days of John Wayne, cowboys were the ruffian types. They were the thugs that Wyatt Earp despised, none other than–hold on to your ten-gallon hat–the Democrats, a populist group at odds with the Republican bankers and railroad magnates.

We’re talking the kind of nineteenth-century American history that heavily mustachioed novelists and Americana experts adore. Iranian schooling must be incredibly cosmopolitan.

But that’s not all, folks.

Ahmadinejad then throws in an awesome shoutout to spaghetti westerns, referencing the trash talk the Spanish-speaking villains growled at Clint’s Man with No Name (you know, when the lips move but the dubbed-in voice doesn’t quite match up).

“Mr. Obama, you are a newcomer [to politics]. Wait until your sweat dries and get some experience…. [American officials] bigger than you, more bullying than you, couldn’t do a damn thing, let alone you.”

I am in awe. Ahmadinehjad must know for a fact that Americans of a certain age, suckled on the celluloid milk of Hollywood westerns, would look to strap on guns and, like Kurt Russell in Tombstone, tell him to “skin that smoke wagon” and then bitchslap the eff out of him.  (Check out minute 2 on of this fine piece of Americana.)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b56vwZ_oclw&feature=related

The problem is with the Iranian president’s ploy is twofold.

A.) Most rational politicians with foreign policy experience know that bitchslapping leads to missile crises.

B.) Most rational Americans understand that Hollywood takes the truth out of history to make exciting stories with lots of shooting and happy endings.

I hope we have a president who fits this profile.

And an aside on the historical Wyatt Earp:

Sure the skanky cardshark in the bar had it coming to him,  but Earp was looking to a.) take his place as a dealer, b.) ingratiate himself with the local Republican moneybags in town, and c.) make a living and a name for himself. What history shows is that Earp isn’t so different from most Americans–just wanting to get ahead, earn a nest egg, have a wife and kid and house, etc, etc. In the days before Social Security and Medicare, you were on your own; I can’t blame the guy for being ambitious and looking out for himself. But let’s not make him into a figure worthy of hero worship, shall we? Mr. Ahmadinejad, kudos to your knoweldge of Western history, but may I suggest some movies for further research into the American love/hate relationship with the macho cowboy image? The Searchers, is what I recommend.

Any others?

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May 6, 2008

Cowboy Diplomacy Isn't Just for White Men Anymore

by cowboylands

Cowboy.
Independent. Rough-hewn. Clean-cut. Hell-raiser, and all in good, clean fun.

But for however many hardworking cowpokes out there, “cowboy” is also code for another array of attributes: rough-and-tumble, no-holds-barred, antiquated, nonrefined, in-your-face. Add that to “diplomacy” and you have a thick brew of Ugly American.

“Cowboy diplomacy” has made it to Wikipedia. In Wiki-speak, it means the “resolution of international conflicts through brash risk-taking, intimidation, military deployment, or a combination.” To quote further from the not so-neutral Wiki-editor: “Overtly provocative phraseology typically centralizes the message, such as George W. Bush’s ‘You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.'” That line doesn’t have the terse power of Eastwood’s words, but every time I hear it, it brings home the fact that we are living on a huge movie set, peopled by leaders in Stetsons.

Western story lines are like code, arrangements of elements that satisfy the genre’s structure. One element is a climactic showdown, or what “cowboy diplomacy” inevitably leads to. But, with the arrival of two non-stereotypical stars, Clinton and Obama, we have a chance of having our own revisionist Western. A Western that does not adhere to the dusty, worn plots of yore, and which promises fresh perspectives. Change!
The woman: Clinton is definitely not a tart with a heart of gold. She is not the mild frontier housewife. I have yet to hear of anyone calling her a cowboy, but she can already swig whiskey with the guys.
African American man: Obama’s not the sidekick! He actually has speaking parts! He has a starring role!
Promising! But the more these candidates take pot-shots at each other, the more it seems that these two are in a showdown themselves, filled with intimidation, brash risk-taking, and the same old moralistic “with me or against me” script. There’s still a chance this will be a new Western, but it could be that cowboy diplomacy is here to stay….

April 23, 2008

Voter Showdown

by cowboylands

Candidates on the \'08 Campaign Trail

Candidates on the ’08 Campaign trail