Monday, July 1, 2013

Claim is That Remington and Others Manufactured "Hero-sized" Americans

A brief introduction to the New Mexico History Museum’s “Cowboys Real and Imagined” exhibit rides the range of unsupported revisionism and impossibility. The same mindset largely ignored mining and agriculture when the museum opened a few years ago. The commentator here, in the summer 2013 “El Palacio” magazine is Kate Nelson, museum staffer and, before settling into her government job, political writer from the left at the late Albuquerque Tribune.
Nelson says the exhibit shows what she claims (without attribution or justification) was “a focused effort by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Owen Wister, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell to manufacture a hero-sized American.”
“The likes of…” To me, that’s certainly a snidely denigrating phrase to throw at some American greats. One might debate the point. Perhaps the context simply means “similar.”
Then consider manufacturing. Manufacturing is done on purpose. Manufacturing has a specific beginning, process and result called a product. That the result of the manufacturing work of the Nash Four listed above was “hero-sized” says that the starting point was smaller sized and that the Four purposefully added. In putting the Four together, Nash suggests a conspiracy. If there was purpose and if they were together, there must have been a plot.
Having trashed the Four, Nash jumps does a further number on them with guilt by association with Dime Novels, the mass not-so-literary media that first appeared in 1860, according to Wikipedia, and to B movie westerns, which came after the Dime Novels had pretty much run their course, something not mentioned.
All this is just another example of the unhappy political agenda at the History Museum. Frances Levine, museum director explained in the epilogue to “Telling New Mexico: A New History,” issued in 2009 as part of opening the museum. She said, History museums “honor the past while serving as ongoing partners in education, civic engagement and social change. The best play a strong role in framing social policy…” Wow.

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