The Politics Of Cool: On Cowboys
September 22, 2008, 1:46 am
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Instapundit linked to Bill Quick asking why ‘cowboy’ has become an epithet:

STERLING, Va. (AP) – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says part of the solution to the country’s financial crisis is “ending the cowboy mentality of the Bush-McCain era.”

I like cowboys. They are one of the greatest American icons.

Why do Obama and Biden hate America and her greatest icons?

The answer, of course, is that cowboys aren’t cool. They used to be, but then their brand of independence, gunslinging, and honor became old-fashioned. So now they’re not, and thus folks on the left have a burning need to dissociate themselves, and the country, from anything resembling ‘cowboys’.

For one thing, having the whole cowboy thing going, it just makes us look really uncool in front of the Europeans. Like in the first couple seasons of 90210 when the Brian Austin Green character had a cowboy friend from Oklahoma. Man, that guy was uncool. Wisely, 90210’s writers killed him off by having him play stupidly with a gun.

We need to kill off our ‘cowboy mentality’ in a similar fashion to how 90210 did, for the ratings. Er, I mean so that we look cooler in front of the Europeans. After all, the Europeans are way cool. They seem to take better drugs, dance to techno in cool clubs, and have sophisticatedly-casual sex with each other all the time, in historic locations and efficient metros. So, let’s all ixnay on the owboy-kay stuff in front of the cool Euros, shall we? It’s just tres gauche.

It’s telling that the metaphor the left reaches for when they feel the need to criticize something they dislike/wish to change about America (which is, inevitably, something they find uncool about America) comes from movies. After all that’s where our – and, one might add, Europeans’ – image of ‘cowboys’ comes from.

Indeed, it’s where Europeans’ image of Americans comes from. But I digress. The point is that the cowboy image is just that, an image. It’s the image that Biden is talking about, not tangible actions or policies.

Because that’s what he, like most lefties, cares primarily about.

P.S. Actually, on reflection I should revise my claims here slightly. Not all cowboys are uncool. It’s pretty cool when cowboys have self-doubt and hang up their spurs, giving up violence in the name of a simpler life, like Clint Eastwood tried to do in Unforgiven. And when cowboys are gay, that’s very cool. Even the Europeans like that kind of cowboy.

I think if we could all work together to end the cowboy mentality in America, and nurture the gay cowboy mentality instead, then folks on the left would be pretty happy.


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