Kalroy Was Here

Eighth man from Adam, an artificer of metals

Monday, July 08, 2002

Cowboy Insult

Ever heard these phrases coming from European leaders and spokesmen? "Bush is a cowboy," or "Cowboy Politics" or here's a favorite of mine, "Like a bunch of cowboys." Earlier I wrote about the hypocrisy in claiming that Americans are culturally ignorant; but these European leaders and 'spokes-folk' think that "Cowboy" is some kind of an insult.

Real cowboys work hard and have hard lives that I doubt I could presume too. I'm not some kind of Nancy Boy, but I doubt I'm tough enough to live the cowboy life.

The ideal of the cowboy is one of rugged individualism, hard work, and the kind of physical, mental, and spiritual toughness that made the United States the kind of country it is. I'm failing to see how "cowboy" could possibly be a derogatory remark except to those utterly ignorant of American culture. This is more glaring because the cowboy ideal is one of those common cultural threads that pervades American culture.

What amazes me even more is that Europeans still have cowboys. Perhaps European cowboys are different than those put out by "Britain and her Cowboy Kids." Maybe that's why they consider it an insult. Perhaps they're reading European culture into American culture because of a very real lack of familliarity with American culture. I mean "Plucking a pom-pom affixed to the horns of" wild bulls is not the kind of rodeo sport that American, Australian, or Canadian cowboys are going to aspire to.

As an aside, I was googling to see if I could find the above-mentioned quotes on the net (since linking to radio and television news doesn't seem to work to well; <a href="WKERN News, AM1540">) and it turns out my opinion is hardly unique. I mean I knew it wasn't a new opinion, it's a discussion I had with my drinking buddies in the NCO club back in the 80's (and just yesterday over the phone with an old friend), but I'd never bothered to write it down before.

Kal