Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brave, Courageous and Bold

And not a guy you would want to mess with. I'm speaking of Wyatt Earp, of course. Pimp, gambler, killer, and all around iconic American hero. I'm kind of an expert on Earp, having read one book (Sacrificed Sheriff) and a Wikipedia article and so I was bitterly disappointed with American Experience: Wyatt Earp. You would have thought that between picking out cowboy hats and growing those Yosemite Sam mustaches, the talking head Western historians would have giddyupped down to the liberry and checked out some primary sources. Graphic descriptions (substantiated only by Earp himself) of how Earp gut shot some ne'er do well who may or may not have killed  his brother is all well and good but, sweet jesus, you got a whole hour, put things in context. What about the power struggles between the Republican and Democratic political factions that increased tensions to the point of violence? How did Earp make his money? What about Holiday implicated in a stage coach robbery? Why totally ignore the fact that Holiday and Earp were arrested and deposed after the gun fight at the OK corrall? Do you think that might have some bearing on the story? That the town unilaterally supported the Earp actions is flat out wrong and there are easily researched newspapers to prove it. Josephine Marcus is identified as  poor, slandered Johnny Behan's wife, which probably wasn't the case and hooks up with Earp later. This is juicy, could it have some bearing on Earp dissing Behan in his memoir? Earp lives in a whorehouse early on and is characterized as hired muscle instead of, oh my heavens, a pimp. Right. Like there's a difference. Earp had a falling out with Holliday and his brother Virgil. Why? That dynamic might actually be interesting. Instead we get an unexamined rehash of the Earp and Josephine story as told by Wyatt and Josephine. Now, I know the last one standing gets to tell the story but it's not like there is no other information out there. All in all, a second rate effort and typical of TV history. Pretend to be in-depth by showing a couple of warts on the hero while maintaining the made-up hagiography and leaving the basic cartoon narrative intact. Lamer than lame. This is why I like books.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How About a Sponge Bath?

Welcome to O'Reilly's wet dream. Two days on the job as a political pundit and already she's made up a new word - "uncomfortableness". Which is kind of how I feel when I think about her being a heartbeat away from the Presidency.  Next week Fox unveils their new science correspondent - Ken Ham.