Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Desparado

 The 20th Century American considered the cowboy one of its signature archetypes. The image is one evocative of Americana, and a conservatives one of that, associated with figures like Ronald Reagan and John Wayne. For many, the cowboy IS America.

The 30th Century American considers the cowboy a murderous barbarian who brings down kingdoms and practices heathenry. 

That said, most Medieval Americans do find something very romantic inherent in the idea of the Desperado, the Lone Ranger. Much like the Knight Errant or the wandering Ronin. The idea of lone cowboys are from 20th century ideas of of itinerant farmhands, and the stars of television shows having new adventures every week. In reality, a nomadic herdsman is not usually a loner, but is part of a large, collectivist tribe--when they travel, their family travels with them. They are often defined by blood ties. A cowboy out on their own would be a pretty sad figure--the loner survivor of a brutal raid or an exile. But those outside the Plains find them pretty compelling figures. Stories of adventures and redemption and overcoming overwhelming odds.

Largely this ties into the contradiction medieval Americans have--the medieval part is tribal and hierarchical, but the American part is very individualistic. The stories of lone, wandering Barbarians is able to serve as something of a visceral outlet. Of course, the figures are a lot more admirable when not part of an all-encompassing horde.

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