739186, "3:10 to Yuma" scratches that itch for me|
Posted by Walleye, Fri Aug-07-20 11:36 AM
Yeah, and when they make that critique in the form of a traditional western, it works really nicely. Though I think the one way that move doesn't succeed is that even a Western that offers an insider's critique on the idea of imposing order on the wilderness still implicitly treats the open-ness of the West as a shorthand for the idea of freedom.
That's why I prefer the more direct argument offered by the hardboiled detective: because the urban-ness (urbanity?) of the story is a clearer way of understanding how Americans relate to each other. In short - the setting addresses more of us and, because the narrative of the American city is still being made and re-made constantly,* the narrative is more democratic.
*I wish I had a better way to put that. But I remember when I was growing up in the rich DC suburbs that the riots in DC in the late 60s and in the early 90s were both treated as meaningful and transformative parts of the city's history. And not always in a suburban-liberal-showing-moral-horror-at-civil-unrest kind of way. More like the way architectural tours in Chicago talk about the fire: this is a thing that happened here.