Joe: Aliens and the Old West is this week’s theme. Okay, so the Old West was a place that never actually existed. I live in Texas, okay? I grew up here since the 2nd grade, and have lived here most of my life. I want to throw this out there: the Old West is not real. If it is real, or if someone can argue in favor of it’s possible existence, I would accept a sort of Hundred Years’ War definition wherein a genocide occurred both accidentally and intentionally, and a population of culturally advanced and intricate tribes and empires and kingdoms all were cleared away like brush. The real Old West is more akin to what is happening inn the rainforests of Brazil where native tribes are murdered in the open by wealthy, corrupt business interests enmeshed into political power structures to access natural resources. Few families, mostly work camps of young men who would leave as soon as they got paid, lots of death and despair and ruination of the people who were in the way of “progress”. Even the concept we have in our minds of when the Old West occurred is not as long as people imagine it to be. Just a couple decades, really. Maybe two? Maybe three? From the California Gold Rush to the First World War?
Eric: Why you gotta ruin every John Wayne movie for me, Joe? Oh, wait, wasn’t there a few he did that basically covered the same idea, that corporations were evil? Or maybe that was Kevin Costner’s movie.
Joe: I just hate this broad brush we culturally paint of the myth of the Old West. One thing the show got absolutely right was how the movies invented the West. What they fail to mention is that this invention is a white man’s paradise retelling the story of manifest destiny through the lens of heroic white men that subdue and control the harsh landscape and other cultures through just action per our American moral values, and the power of the gun, as if god himself decided tough white men of good “character” ought to stand dominion over the earth. It’s like a justification for what happened, rebranding it into a myth to prevent people from remembering how we murdered millions and took their shit like it was free and easy. We wiped out the Buffalo completely, on purpose, to destroy the people who lived here before us. I mean I could go on about the horror. I’m losing track of the show, here. But, yes, the Old West was invented by Hollywood, and if Hollywood wants to invent some aliens in there, why not?
Eric: Aliens should come and save us from ourselves. Of course, we don’t need them to get rid of our food source to exterminate us. We’re doing that ourselves. Once the oil is gone the food…I’m way off the show here, but if you haven’t been thinking about the role of petroleum in feeding the masses, and how exponential the die-off is going to be…Do people think about that in Texas? Do they talk about aliens?
Joe: As a Texan who grew up reading the Fort Worth Star Telegram, I can also assert that the alien crash at the judge’s house in the middle of nowhere is a true thing that people discuss. I have seen refutations of it, but what I find interesting is that the refutations I have seen often go to great lengths to attack the character of the judge, and think it was all a big prank of some sort, to provide some juice to the local township. Even now, the city is believed to be using this plaque at this cemetery as a sort of tourist trap. It’s their claim to fame. Dr. Pepper wasn’t invented, there. No World’s Biggest Yarn Ball. We got a UFO crash instead. So, on the one hand, it is interesting to me that refutations of the UFO crash are, themselves, logical fallacies: ad hominim attacks.<I> Look at that kooky judge and his kooky small town. <\i> It is also interesting that unbiased reporters from the Star Telegram investigating this did find some anomalous things. These were good journalists with good intent. So, I am going to say that this is the first time I believe the show more than the conventional wisdom! Critics of this historical event engage in fallacious logic! The show actually presented the journalists’ investigation, which was fact-based! In this case, I am not suggesting aliens, only that the simplest explanation for what occurred in this town, based on our best, least fallacious logic, is a UFO, pending more research.
I think there is definitely room in the Big Myth of the Old West for aliens, and monsters, and any devils that may stand upon the mountains.
Eric: The one thing this show is really good at proving is that there is room for an alternative interpretation of most myths. I’m reading a story at the moment in which the aliens sent their food ahead of them to the planet in seeds. What if we’re just here because we’re the perfect species to reproduce and compile a planet’s resources? Westward expansion is proof of that. Which reminds me, the nod to transcendentalism and the interpretation of Leaves of Grass was not only random, it was pretty much irrelevant.
Joe:I don’t know why Ohio and the Serpent Mound got included in a show nominally about the Old West. Ohio is not… uh… you know. So. That was random.
Categories: TV shows