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  #1  
Old 7th March 2017, 11:36 PM
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Default B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

Looking up cowboy tunes on YouTube. Sons of the Pioneers. Much more melodic and chordal than everything on the radio today, commercial or alternative. Always just pentatonic music now with effects processing. The digital age and commercialism has reduced music like all fuck. Those old timey nostalgic cowboy numbers are quaint. I intend to learn a bunch. Roy Rogers. I learnt how to play that stuff early.

I was born in 1950, went to the flicks in the wooden Capri cinema in Murrumbeena every Saturday arvo with my older brother from age 3. After the newsreel, the cartoons and the 3 Stooges it was usually a Western. I saw heaps, enough to get the indoctrination. Then there was Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey, Hoppalong Cassidy and those wholesome Christian cowboy radio shows for kids on the valve Golden Voice.

This myth runs very deep through America to this day, the cowboy code. I think it's very much what the successful slogan Make America Great Again resonated with in the psyche of the Trump voter. Westerns universalised the gun, connected with moral right.

Many will declare those were the good ol' days in every way. I reckon Jeff Sessions refers to this notion of America.

The cowboy theme on YouTube is vast.

Under the video, A Gun, A Hat and a Horse, I put this down, more or less,

Number 9 (1 hour ago)

I grew up through the early fifties in suburban Melbourne Australia, going to the local flicks every Saturday arvo with my older brother, watched all those B grade Westerns after the cartoons, 3 Stooges. Everyone implicitly swallowed the propaganda.

In the Western there was the total absence of African Americans. The attitude was that they were simple inferiors, primitive, carnal, in need of subordinating and of 'white values.' The indigenous Americans, the 'Indians' were benighted bloodthirsty savages, slaughtered en masse, played by non-indigenous Hollywood extras, probably Mexican immigrants and stunt guys, getting shot off cliffs or horses, riding bareback. Homicide and genocide by those trusty American icons, the six shooter and repeating rifle (and what weapons free to purchase have evolved up to now) was normalised, glorified, justified in terms of the good guy/bad guy, righteousness, 'Christian values,' American greatness, wealth, industrial might, military supremacy.

America is the lucky country, which Australia has called itself, but America has far more arable land, water and natural resources. After slaughtering the native nations and with huge wealth exacted from slave labour, enormous resources of every kind determined America would become the economic and military superpower.

To dismiss the Australian cattlemen and women, the brilliant aboriginal stockmen and also the Australian soldiers and service personnel historically is to betray deeply embedded ignorance and arrogance. I hear we have a cattle station as big as Texas. We are fortunate and wise to have outlawed guns and to have health care. Australia is the Lucky Country. America ever looms large.

But it's not a pissing competition after all, that we need to buy into.

The worldwide marketing of American cowboy movies represents cultural imperialism. One in 3 movies made from 1920 to 1965 was a Western. America because of its resources was able to develop its giant movie industry and establish Americanisation, just as it could necessarily dominate in every industry and in foreign relations. The genius and success of the Jewish migrants is to be acknowledged, which attribute is explained in genetic selection terms back in Europe in 'The 10,000 Year Explosion.'

The genius of the African Americans also. They gave us blues and jazz and fusion and all. American music would be impoverished without black input. They naturally excelled in music and dance and it didn't require education and especially higher education, to the gaining of which they have been historically denied and disadvantaged.

America is also awash with gorgeous guitars and all those wonderful American musical instruments. They invented the steel string guitar, pedal steel, the banjo and country fiddling. Rickenbacker and Beauchamp invented the electric guitar pickup prior to 1932. I love most American music although I have learned to be a critical thinker.

America is the land of retributive justice. The vast majority of those incarcerated are coloured people. There are way more guns than Americans. And now you have the eventuality of Trump and his cadre, threatening constitutional democracy, due process, administrative and political truth, accountability, integrity, imposing on the world the spectre of WW111, nuclear winter.

Gene Autrey's Christian puritanism, coupled with the fists and the guns is puerile. They aimed the propaganda at kids, with membership to the club with instructions on how to live and think. May God take a likin' to ya!

The American cowboy myth propaganda was captivating when I was little.
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Last edited by Strato; 7th March 2017 at 11:39 PM.
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  #2  
Old 8th March 2017, 05:42 AM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

So much popular music determined by commercial algorithms these days. And you cant hear the words!
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Old 8th March 2017, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

Indeed. And lets not forget that Adolf Hitler lived in this American western paperback and movie dreamworld.
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Old 8th March 2017, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

The Puritans fled Europe to escape persecution, but unfortunately started their own persecutions of folks who worshipped the wrong god [or supposedly, the devil], and loved which-burning and mayhem. Luckily the puritans were heavily diluted by other folks.

But even so, we have a technologically advanced nation almost dominated by stone-age beliefs. It took them a long time to produce a movie that was sympathetic to the native Americans. But I suppose that is not unusual anywhere.

Until "Zulu" in 1964, I think the Brit movie industry was equally blind to their imperialism in Africa. E. & O.E.
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Old 8th March 2017, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

Being born in 1962, steeped in the Beatles, the British Invasion and the space race, I am post-cowboy. The decline of cowboy cachet described in Toy Story 2 was a real thing for me. So much of it was in black and white, just old and boring, the cowboy culture was a total turn-off in my anglophile/Japanophile household. We liked Doctor Who, The Phantom Agents and Astro Boy

Because of Motown and soul and the Byrds and the Summer of Love I later came to respect a rich seam of goodness in American culture.

But I think you're right, the cowboy model of white men, guns and power is back. I recently finished watching the revamped "Westworld", with its attempt at arty seriousness, seeming to suggest that committing mass murder and being raped is the key to becoming truly human. Well that's how I read it anyway. Violent gun-loving DNA has been spliced into my beloved sci-fi.

I must say, though, I find pentatonic scales fascinating... the basis of the blues and many ethnic and folk music traditions, John Lennon's "Jealous Guy", loads of things. Rock and pop is all about the simplicity. It's also at its best when it is incomprehensible to old people, and exclusive to young people. I agree that music sounds like is crap to me nowadays, it was much better in my day. Paradoxically this is highly likely to be a sign of good health in music. It's meant to be that way. EVERY generation feels the same, every old fart bemoans the decline.

Or are we the first generation to say "young people's music is all rubbish it was better in my day" and actually be objectively right?
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Old 8th March 2017, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

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stylofone said View Post
Or are we the first generation to say "young people's music is all rubbish it was better in my day" and actually be objectively right?
I was born in 1965, so I'm a similar vintage to yourself.

I know that statement was tongue in cheek, but ask yourself this: Will the youth of today, 30 years from now, look back and say 'you know what, those old people were right. The music we were into when we were teenagers really was crap!'?

35 years ago, when people my current age were telling me how bad the music I was listening to was, I would ask them what people said about the music they listened to at my age. And it never even occurred to me that when we got to their age my generation wouldn't be exactly the same. And guess what?

I am probably more familiar with modern music than most people my age, as I get really bored listening to golden oldies stations and I don't enjoy listening to talkback radio, and I spend 2 or 3 hours commuting by car every day with the radio on the stations playing current music. There is some great music today, and lots of forgettable music. But don't worry, the great music will at some future point be considered representative of the standard of music produced today and the forgettable music will be.... largely forgotten.
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Old 8th March 2017, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

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142857 said View Post
I am probably more familiar with modern music than most people my age, as I get really bored listening to golden oldies stations and I don't enjoy listening to talkback radio, and I spend 2 or 3 hours commuting by car every day with the radio on the stations playing current music. There is some great music today, and lots of forgettable music. But don't worry, the great music will at some future point be considered representative of the standard of music produced today and the forgettable music will be.... largely forgotten.
I have an open mind on this question. E.g I really never liked Eminem, but when he was at his peak I went to the end-of-year disco at my daughter's primary school, and saw all the Year 6 girls singing along - yelling along, really - to "Lose Yourself". The lyrics say "lose yourself in the music, the moment, don't miss your chance, opportunity comes once in a lifetime." And then I realised, this song was a perfect vehicle to carry all the hopes and excitement and passions of youth, to be embedded in the consciousness just like "She Loves You" of "Pretty Vacant" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was for kids of yesteryear. I just couldn't see it. I still can't see it for nearly all new music. But that was one occasion when I realised I had been a regular old fart just like my parents were.

On the OTHER hand, music seems to occupy a lesser position in the culture nowadays. The gaming and anime scenes, for example, are in there taking up space. And the totally ephemeral nature of modern music diminishes it- tracks, not albums, digital, not physical, a ridiculously short shelf-life for artists and their work. The celebrity culture is also a stronger part of it, you can still be famous/popular/successful without actually creating anything. I wonder what damage that is doing to the quality of music now relative to decades past.
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Old 8th March 2017, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

Quote:
stylofone said View Post
Being born in 1962, steeped in the Beatles, the British Invasion and the space race, I am post-cowboy. The decline of cowboy cachet described in Toy Story 2 was a real thing for me. So much of it was in black and white, just old and boring, the cowboy culture was a total turn-off in my anglophile/Japanophile household. We liked Doctor Who, The Phantom Agents and Astro Boy
I spent my early childhood in the fibro belt of south-western Sydney. The games we played were very black-and-white. Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers. There were always clear-cut good guys and bad guys. No moral ambiguity allowed.

To be a cowboy you needed a six-shooter, preferably with a holster, and optionally with a roll of caps so that you didn't have to yell "bang bang" as you shot the Indians. Or a lever-action Winchester, also with optional caps. These were typically received as Christmas or birthday presents. The younger children were the obvious recruits as Indians, as they were less concerned with who were the good guys and the bad guys and being an Indian meant you got to make loud whooping sounds and do war dances and shoot arrows with rubber suction cups at the end.

In hindsight it sounds like a particularly awful type of cultural indoctrination, doesn't it?
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Old 8th March 2017, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

I know we are getting off topic but... personally, I believe that popular music is going through something of a golden age at the moment. The lyrical and melodic and production qualities of the most popular music of 2016 stands up extremely well, IMO, against the best music any single year from 20, 30 or 40 years ago.

The means of making good music are far more accessible now, the market is far more accessible now, and there are more paths to an audience.
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Old 8th March 2017, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: B Grade Westerns - cultural imperialism.

There is a related joke from Steve Hughes

Quote:
"I grew up playing Cowboys and Indians, which as an adult I can see is very strange - that you market the genocide of an indigenous people as a game for kids," Hughes said.

"Australians are far from perfect - I've never played Cops and Aboriginals, and you wouldn't play Nazis and Jews!
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