‘Westworld’ And The American West As Locale For Self-Reconfiguration

It is perhaps unsurprising that Westworld is Westworld; if American mythology is to be staged anywhere, the West is a natural locale. In the original Westworld, the West meant a zone in which certain kinds of adventures were facilitated: gun battles mostly, but also sex with perfect strangers who cared little for who you were andContinue reading “‘Westworld’ And The American West As Locale For Self-Reconfiguration”

Wanted: Presidential ‘Leadership’ In North Dakota (#NODAPL)

As I have noted on this blog before (here and here), America is not done with Native Americans yet. You might have imagined that banishment to impoverished reservations was the final insult to historical injury, but apparently much work, like the denial of clean drinking water–the provision of which in certain communities seems increasingly beyondContinue reading “Wanted: Presidential ‘Leadership’ In North Dakota (#NODAPL)”

The Oregon Militiamen Need Several Magazines Of Caps In Their Asses

Hang on just a second, America. You thought you were done with the Native Americans? Done driving them off their lands, killing them off, infecting them with smallpox-ridden blankets, massacring them, breaking treaties, taking over ancient hunting and ceremonial grounds, mocking them with derogatory and offensive stereotypes? Not so fast. Much work remains to beContinue reading “The Oregon Militiamen Need Several Magazines Of Caps In Their Asses”

Geronimo and the Cruel, Beautiful, West

Yesterday’s post on the continued presence of derogatory team names and mascots in American professional sports was, in part, prompted by my reading of Geronimo‘s autobiography.  It is a short book, an easy read, and comes with an excellent introduction by Frederick Turner. (Geronimo: His Own Story, As told to S. M. Barrett, with introductionContinue reading “Geronimo and the Cruel, Beautiful, West”

Redskins and Indians: America Isn’t Done With the Natives Yet

Years ago, on ESPN, I saw a young African-American player on the Washington Redskins‘ roster  interviewed about the periodic controversy over his team’s name.  The interviewer asked, quite straightforwardly,  ‘Do you think the team should change its name?’ The young man, looking worried–perhaps knowing he stood a good chance of offending someone and aware ofContinue reading “Redskins and Indians: America Isn’t Done With the Natives Yet”

Meek’s Cutoff and the Terror of the Beautiful

In the summer of 1998, during an epic road-trip out to the American West, I drove from Idaho into Oregon, heading for Eugene. I was still recovering from the surprise of having found out that the landscape of Idaho had been nothing quite like I expected it to be. (Idaho; potatoes, right? So, flat fields,Continue reading “Meek’s Cutoff and the Terror of the Beautiful”

The Heartbreaking, Transformative Effect of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

This past summer, as my wife and I drove through parts the American West, we visited Badlands National Park in South Dakota. During our brief stay in the park, we made the obligatory visit to the visitor’s center: to pick up maps, refill our water bottles, and perhaps to pick up a book or twoContinue reading “The Heartbreaking, Transformative Effect of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”