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Westerns

Helen Thomas
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books not movies.

I remember reading a few I thought were pretty good. I am surprised they never made it into a series.

Vaguely remember one set of second-hand books about a character/cowboy called Shane.
Buffy and the Vampire Slayers seem so tame in comparison. And another about a group of teen western cowboys based on The Magnificent Seven was embarrassing to say the least to be put in the same category as a Western.

Has the character of Americans changed in the last century so vastly ?
To trace the defining moment would be
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

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"God who creates and is nature is very difficult to understand, but he is not arbitrary or malicious." OR "God does not play dice." - Einstein
Jeroen Wenting
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the old westerns are probably considered too racists and not politically correct these days.

Shooting at Indians (which you're supposed to call "Native Americans" now despite the first of them appearing from Asia no more than 2-3000 years ago according to current finds), guys carrying guns openly, violence against criminals (shooting them on sight instead of giving them a fair trial and telling them to never do it again before they're let go), etc. etc.

It's not the cowboy who's changed, it's the person reading the story (or rather the lawyer of the publishing company who doesn't want to be sued for publishing racist stories that promote violence).


42
Max Habibi
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Jeroen: Americans believe in fair trials, we respect people's right o be called by their chosen name, and we're committed to fairness( not necessarily kindness, but fairness).

Helen: I remember the sort of books you're talking about, and I remember liking them a great deal. I also liked the Conan and Tarzan books. However, I also remember passing them over, eventually, more intellectually challenging SC-FI fair.

M
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]

Java Regular Expressions
Axel Janssen
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Genre was probable driven to a yet caricturesque limit with for the time extreme hardcore westerns of Sergio Leone during late 60ties.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/films/ouatitw.html

Oh. Was about books. I never read books about western.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Frank Carver
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The heyday of the written western was in that time long ago when people read books for entertainment. That mythical age before reality TV shows; before CDs and MP3s; before weblogs and JavaRanch; even before mobile phones.

It used to be that people would write (and often write again :roll: ) such "genre" books in the sure hope of a large and steady market. They were known as "pulps" - produced and sold cheaply to a mass audience. That's long gone, though. Nobody buys westerns, or sci-fi, or adventure stories, or sword-and-sorcery "just because" any more.

Unfortunately, without the support af a mass market familiar with genre conventions and willing to take a chance, there's not much hope of getting an audience (or a publisher) for even an outstanding example. So all those great westerns remain in notebooks and cupboards - dusty and unloved.


Read about me at frankcarver.me ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


Shooting at Indians (which you're supposed to call "Native Americans" now despite the first of them appearing from Asia no more than 2-3000 years ago according to current finds), guys carrying guns openly, violence against criminals (shooting them on sight instead of giving them a fair trial and telling them to never do it again before they're let go), etc. etc.


There's some news today of discovery of a Native American settlement about 4,500 years old in Utah. Can't find the link anymore.

You'd still find Westerns on TV but not many fights with Indians just between ranchers. Guess they cut some scenes out now.

Max: I don't find Buffy the Vampire slayer intellectually challenging just gruesome. Sometimes difficult to draw the line between her and the Vampyres. The Vampyres seem so good at times until you discover there's a deadly vampire beneath.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
Genre was probable driven to a yet caricturesque limit with for the time extreme hardcore westerns of Sergio Leone during late 60ties.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/films/ouatitw.html

Oh. Was about books. I never read books about western.


Sergio leone certainly captures the mood I meant. I'll see if I can dig up some of his work. The Good , the Bad and the Ugly...

Clint Eastwood has also tried to make some Westerns but in my HO he has failed. He usually has very little dialogue and the man's inscrutable. There's nothing for adrenalin junkies, no romance. The rest of the cast see him coming and drop like flies.

Frank Expect there are no good Westerns in print anymore.

[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:

Max: I don't find Buffy the Vampire slayer intellectually challenging just gruesome. Sometimes difficult to draw the line between her and the Vampyres. The Vampyres seem so good at times until you discover there's a deadly vampire beneath.

[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]


Good point, I should have qualified the SCC-FI in question. I'll defend myself with the feeble excuse that Buffy's not, strictly speaking, SCI-FI. Of course, that sort of leaving my guard down for all the other horrible SCI-FI out there.. Maybe you won't notice?
Helen Thomas
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Max: SCI-FI like Star Wars ? Has anything useful come out of SCI-FI yet ? Or Star wars ?
Buffy seemed to be like a new type of Western seeing as the old Westerns have become non-PC so they create creatures that are figments of imagination.
It would be unacceptable to act similarly in a police drama,say.

At least with the sci-fi series of yore you also got some decent art to look at, Michaelangelo having written some of the first comic strips on record.He was preoccupied with flight and some of his sketches appeared laughable.
Add a few laughs into the bargain.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Axel Janssen
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We have still a production of those entertainment western in Germany. Are you sure it doesn't yet exist in UK?

http://www.bastei.de/iwestern/main.php3 (those are new ones).

Its a bit. Hm. Lets say traditional...

Heres last paragraph of web excerpt:

"Die ganze Nacht geh�rt dir, Frankie", sagte er. "Lauf mir nicht wieder mit einem Cowboy davon. Aber jetzt muss ich erst noch ein wichtiges Gesch�ft erledigen."
Er gab ihr einen Klaps aufs Hinterteil und ging auf den Tisch am Fenster zu.
"Hallo, Mr. Stone", sagte er, und er war froh, dass der Mann aus Chicago sein Wort gehalten hatte...


traduction:

"All the night belongs to you, Frankie [Frankie is woman]", he said. "You won't run away with a cowboy again, ok. I have to do some serious business now."
He gave her a slap on her backside and went to the desk near the window.
"Hello, Mr. Stone", he said, content that the man from Chicago has kept to his word.

[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Helen Thomas
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Would this be the same Matt Brown ?

This link refers to Matt Braun.

"We combined the King Arthur legends with the medieval morality plays, adding the chivalric code of the Old West into the mix, and called it a 'western.' All in a matter of years, we created the literature of our newly invented mythology."
America's Authentic Voice of the Western Frontier

That's a good description of the element I see lacking.

Braun says, 'Nowhere in history have mythical figures achieved such widespread appeal. Few people today would recall Beowulf met a valorous death while slaying the evil dragon. But people around the world, from Germany to Japan, can relate the story of Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral."
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Axel Janssen:

Its a bit. Hm. Lets say traditional...

Heres last paragraph of web excerpt:



He gave her a slap on her backside and went to the desk near the window.
That doesn't sound like Mr Braun.
Western books aren't that ready to find in the U.K. As Frank said it doesn't have mass appeal.

Found this : Shane 1953
Recently Woody Allen said he considered it the best American film of all time. Another one to add to the list. The ones I referred to in the first post were probably spun-off from the movie.

"Director/actor Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider (1985) paid homage to Stevens' film with a similar storyline. " That was actually one I didn't like.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Axel Janssen
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No. Its jus' an inocent piece of trash culture full of cliches.
About time when men where like King Kong and women like blond woman who fell in love with King Kong.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Helen Thomas
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Posts: 1759
Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
No. Its jus' an inocent piece of trash culture full of cliches.

[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]


I'm not sure if you are refering to Pale Rider , Westerns in general or one of the other books.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Jeroen Wenting
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yes there are older tribes that settled the Americas, but the CURRENT indiuns/"Native Americans" all descend from later waves of settlers which are 2-3000 years ago. They drove out the original settlers, either driving them into central and south America or simply exterminating them.

Tribal warfare is not nice, it's all about destroying your enemy which means killing all the men and boys and enslaving the women and girls.
Helen Thomas
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A good Western doesn't necessarily have to have Indians featured as the enemy. Can't think of any examples now.
Max Habibi
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yes there are older tribes that settled the Americas, but the CURRENT Native Americans all descend from later waves of settlers which are 2-3000 years ago. They drove out the original settlers, either driving them into central and south America or simply exterminating them.


You state this like it's a fact, but I'm not aware of it being such.


Tribal warfare is not nice, it's all about destroying your enemy which means killing all the men and boys and enslaving the women and girls.

I think this depends on the bloodthirstiness of the tribes in question. For example, I seem to recall that some African tribes fought 'mock' battles, where no one was killed. Humanityhas by-and-large, evolved away from these sorts of barbaric tactics. While there are, of course, parties that still act in this way, they are rightly shunned by the civilized world.
Helen Thomas
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Here's the story I mentioned about an Indian settlement discovery.
It's a 4200 acre ranch on which the 1,000 year old settlement was discovered. I , unknowingly, switched some figures around.
[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Jeff Langr
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One can dismiss the Western genre as trashy and full of cliches, but classic Westerns are very deliberately structured and full of iconic elements. Granted, there have been loads of bad Westerns that take a few of the cliched trappings and exploit them for pure escapist entertainment purposes. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But great Westerns such as Shane, Red River, or Unforgiven, have something to say that is relevant to today (i.e. the time they were made). Among many other themes, the Searchers dealt with racism, and Unforgiven dealt with gun control and redemption.

Unfortunately, there are scads of bad western movies for every good one--much as there are gobs of trashy Western novels for every Zane Grey or James Fenimore Cooper novel. But Westerns aren't the popular trash today. Instead, we have the thriller, with scads of formulaic books by people like Ludlum, Baldacci, and Clancy. Almost every one is enjoyable pap that ultimately says nothing. There's far better literature out there--why waste your time?


Books: Agile Java, Modern C++ Programming with TDD, Essential Java Style, Agile in a Flash. Contributor, Clean Code.
Warren Dew
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And here I was reading fiction just for entertainment. I've been wasting all my educational reading time on nonfiction books!

Helen, the view from New England is that this part of America was never like that. Some parts of America might have borne a greater resemblance to it - though those stories probably depart from the older reality they depict as least as much as Clancy's thrillers depart from today's reality.

Sorry to disappoint!
Jim Yingst
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Posts: 18671
Helen (and others), you may enjoy this previous thread on Westerns.

I'm far from an expert, but I'd suggest if you're looking for relatively modern written Westerns, the works of Larry McMurtry may be worth checking out. E.g. Lonesome Dove. Admittedly that was 1986, but he's written a few things since then.

[Helen]: SCI-FI like Star Wars ? Has anything useful come out of SCI-FI yet ? Or Star wars ?

One might as well ask if anything useful has come out of Westerns. Or the posts of HS Thomas. What sort of "usefulness" did you have in mind? I mean, we are talking about entertainment here. If you don't like "sci fi", fine, but this question sounded unnecessarily disparaging to me. Though to be fair, real science fiction fans are often rather disparaging of "sci fi" as well. The good stuff is known as SF.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:

[Helen]: SCI-FI like Star Wars ? Has anything useful come out of SCI-FI yet ? Or Star wars ?

One might as well ask if anything useful has come out of Westerns. Or the posts of HS Thomas.


To the first, greater understanding of ourselves, perhaps. Here are a bunch of settlers who had a handful of laws and some moral code to fall back on for protection. They ventured into territory that had no understanding of those laws. Those laws were repeatedly broken and flaunted in their faces, some were driven to acts of extreme cruelness , most to survive but a few
out of pure greed.

Hey? To the second. Found HS Thomas's post mostly useful . Particularly liked the Questions thread.



What sort of "usefulness" did you have in mind? I mean, we are talking about entertainment here. If you don't like "sci fi", fine, but this question sounded unnecessarily disparaging to me. Though to be fair, real science fiction fans are often rather disparaging of "sci fi" as well. The good stuff is known as SF.


Good questions. Here's another. Is a good wine useful ?

Sci fi must have similar usefulness as Westerns. The limits of it's usefulness will be when we understand things like : we like robots that are cute and mimic some human likeness but once they become too realistic we recoil from and shun them.
And : We can live with aliens as long as they are like us. Aliens probably have learnt this much about us and zap humans into UFOs to study them.

Steven Spielberg's a director with a wide range of films to his credit ( Schindler's list, AI and now The Terminal ). He must see the usefulness of sci fi. Wouldn't know whether he has cottoned on to SF.

The question wasn't meant to be disparaging.
And thanks for the link on Westerns. Very useful.
I'll be watching another great Western - An American Tail as I'm babysitting. How else does one answer the endless Why?s without some Westerns to refer to.
[ July 02, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Helen Thomas
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Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
But Westerns aren't the popular trash today. Instead, we have the thriller, with scads of formulaic books by people like Ludlum, Baldacci, and Clancy. Almost every one is enjoyable pap that ultimately says nothing. There's far better literature out there--why waste your time?


Unfortunately, media don't have much time for great literature. Instead we are titillated with "edgy" material, even from advertisers who actively use littering, (all those posters through the letterbox) and project lairy drunkeness and generally any anti-social behaviour as a virtue.
Hah! The literratti
[ July 02, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Max Habibi
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In fact, we're raising an entire generation of minorities to actively resist and disdain anything of educational merit

I'm not sure I follow this reasoning? Why minorities?
Helen Thomas
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Probably pop-stars and TV reality show performers.
Warren Dew
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Max Habibi:

I'm not sure I follow this reasoning? Why minorities?

I may be reading the post wrong, but if "rednecks" are a minority, I'd venture to say that everyone is a member of some minority in the context of the post....
Helen Thomas
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Marlon Brando died yesterday.

Long list of films Marlon acted in

He will be remembered for his performance in The Godfather undoubtedly. He acted in a few Westerns. I used to confuse him with Paul Newman a lot. His last decade had great sadness. Penniless and alone apart from his nurses,his good neighbour Jack Nicholson would pop round with food and invite him over for a meal.

So , who's left ? Paul Newmann, Clint Eastwood,Robert Redford and then it will truly be the end of an era.
Helen Thomas
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Go Ahead--Call Us Cowboys
By Andrew Kleinfeld and Judith Kleinfeld
Americans are indeed very different from people of other nations, and our Midwestern "cowboy" heritage has a lot to do with that. Here's why we should be proud of our sprawling, brawling spiritedness.


I wasn't far off then. And according to the Accents thread - midwestern is neutral. The American human equivalent of 'beige'.
Guy Allard
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Marlon Brando died yesterday.

......


One-Eyed Jacks was a good flick.

Guy
Helen Thomas
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Scene fro The Wild One

In 1954, a babe had a question for Johnny Strabler, who leans next to his gleaming hog, in a pathetic small town in the middle of nowhere.

"Johnny, what are you rebelling against?"

Johnny doesn't even have to think. Every line in his body expresses the answer, as does the contemptuous power of the machine, the beautiful sullenness of his face, the slouch of his heavily muscled body as it contorts the leathers that drape him like knight's armor, the rakish tilt of his cyclist's cap pulled across his broad forehead.

He replies, "Whatta ya got?"

Brando made that line legendary.
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
Sorry, I should've avoided the word minorities.



Jeff, I'm not sure how you managed your thought train, but you're right:
you're probably better off leaving your opinions on minorities, whatever they may be, elsewhere.

Thanks,
M
[ July 06, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Frank Silbermann
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[political commentary regarding theories of gun control, leftist, idiot presidents, ands facists removed.]

-Frank, please feel free to post your meaningful post somewhere else, as I'll send the content to you.

Thanks,
M
[ July 06, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
David O'Meara
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Posts: 13459

Since you bought up Western and Buffy yourself, you may be interested in 'Firefly'. (sorry, I don't have a link) This is Joss Wheadon's (creator of Buffy) next effort after Buffy/Angel. Described as space-cowboys. There are definitely parts where the whole frontier law aspect comes in and you're forced to think "just a second, that wasn't very nice".
Jim Yingst
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Yeah I almost mentioned Firefly myself, but didn't think the godless anti-Whedonites in this thread would appreciate it. It was a lot of fun for the short time it was on. Too bad Fox kept screwing around with its schedule; it never got to build an audience. But it was a fascinating synthesis of scince fiction and western, with great characters. All 14 produced episodes are available on a single DVD set - I got mine for US $31, well worth it. Of course you can probably rent the 4 DVDs for less than that at your local rental store. Or you can just wait until Serenity comes out - looks to be next June if things go well. More info can be found at www.browncoats.com/ . Enjoy...
Warren Dew
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Helen Thomas:

Marlon Brando died yesterday....

His last decade had great sadness. Penniless and alone apart from his nurses,his good neighbour Jack Nicholson would pop round with food and invite him over for a meal.


Or so people thought. It turns out his estate is apparently worth 22 million dollars including a string of islands in Tahiti. According to the article, he also leaves behind 8 kid by 4 different women. Not such a bad life after all.
Anton Golovin
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Are you Russian?


Anton Golovin (anton.golovin@gmail.com) SCJP, SCJD, SCBCD, SCWCD, OCEJWSD, SCEA/OCMJEA [JEE certs from Sun/Oracle]
Mapraputa Is
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Warren Dew or Helen Thomas?


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Helen Thomas
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From an obituary there are rumours that Brando may have stashed away $200m.
Unless that's a typo. For his role in The Godfather they only paid him $250,000 a fraction of what he'd have commanded a decade earlier.
For his performance as Vito Corleone, Brando won his second Oscar but sent an American Indian actress to decline his award. She was booed off stage.

After Last Tango in Paris he was back in favour and was able to command $3.75m for his 10 minute appearance in Superman.
Jim Yingst
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[Anton]: Are you Russian?

[Map]: Warren Dew or Helen Thomas?


No. That was easy.

To Anton's question, the only Russian (or rormerly Russian) poster in this thread so far is Map - who hadn't posted when you asked the question. So I think the and=swer is "no" unless one of the other posters has a more complex ancestry than they've previously announced. Who were you talking to?
Mapraputa Is
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I was perplexed what was so particularly Russian about any post/poster in this thread...
 
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