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Cathy Spude
Myth, Legend, Slotkin and Soapy
Fri Nov 12, 2010 15:14

Thanks to comments from Gary Roberts and historians in Alaska, I have much revised and retitled my work on the last days of Soapy Smith as MYTH, LEGEND AND SOAPY SMITH. Today I put a proposal in the mail to the editor of a renown academic press and we'll see what happens. The reason I mention all this to this forum is because much of the new material discusses the Smith Legend in the context of Slotkin's American Frontier Myth and his theme of "regeneration through violence." I intend to end my discussion with a comparison with the Earp Brothers, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok and George Armstrong Custer legends.

(Big Breath, here). This chapter has only been drafted out, and I'd be interested in what you all have to say. What does this forum think of Slotkin? Is he passe? Do you think Smith has the hero/anti-hero status of these latter characters and deserves the Big League discussion?

By the way, ALASKA HISTORY just published my review of Jeff Smith's biography of Soapy. I hope I did it justice.

    • Slotkin as historianWilliam Urban, Wed Nov 17 19:55
      In 1994 one common theme among cutting edge historians was that of lawmen being hired guns for American capitalism. For me that tied in nicely with the B&W B-movies I had seen as a kid in Central... more
      • Thank you, thank you, Mr. Urban (nm)K.t.K., Wed Nov 17 20:35
        • Slotkin as HistorianCathy Spude, Fri Nov 19 10:04
          Finally, we have some discussion. I don't believe Richard Slotkin ever claimed to be a historian. He was a professor of English and American Studies at Wesleyan University, and therefore best... more
          • Well putGary Roberts, Fri Nov 19 14:15
            Cathy, I've been working on a response to Professor Urban myself. As usual, I was more than a little long-winded. Then, I read your post. It seems to me that you have the topic well in hand and... more
            • Thanks, GaryCathy Spude, Sat Nov 20 09:28
              Actually, it was something you said when you reviewed a draft of my manuscript that sent me off in the direction of looking at myth and legend, so I really have you to thank for this line of thought, ... more
          • Way over my head, CathyK.t.K., Fri Nov 19 10:41
            I'm just a blue collar dude. One time I had a guy tell me I was in possession of an IQ about eight points higher than a turnip. That was immediately after I bounced him out of a joint. Kenny
          • Not so. You are very clear.Tom Gaumer, Fri Nov 19 10:15
            Cathy Joseph Campbell in his PBS shows about mythology said something like this, "If you want to know about a people or culture find out what the people believe rather than seeking the truth." If... more
            • true enouhwilliam urban, Sat Nov 20 05:53
              If you want to study the audience, it is true that the facts matter little. If you want to study Wyatt Earp, they do matter. An audience conditioned by 1950 B movies to think of the railroad, bankers ... more
            • Ha Ha HaCathy Spude, Fri Nov 19 10:50
              Tom: I have a copy of the book by Joe Campbell and Tom Moyer that was written after the PBS shows, and it has some great insight into American Mythology, stuff that really helps me understand our... more
              • Cathy I see no reason we can not all agree on the true nature and factual story of Wyatt Earp by tomorrow at noon. Bring dueling pistols in case that is an error. Keep Laughing Tom
                • Truth, history and legendCathy Spude, Sat Nov 20 09:19
                  I hope that no one thinks that I'm saying mythology, legend and history tell the truth in exactly the same way. The facts of history and the elements of legend, of course, will differ. Historians and ... more
                  • Re: Truth, history and legendPam Potter, Sun Nov 21 08:32
                    I find the discussion intriguing. I have long held my own theories on why many consider Wyatt Earp a legendary hero. His flaws contribute to his heroic image. If you look at fictional main characters ... more
                  • How sure are you that studying those fellows willTom Gaumer, Sat Nov 20 13:45
                    Cathy result in an uplifting lesson for the future generations? Isn't it possible study of such people might make people cynical about history. especially as presented in most media? I mean the media ... more
                  • TruthGary Roberts, Sat Nov 20 13:37
                    An accumulation of facts does not, of itself, constitute the truth. I wish it were that simple. But facts do not explain themselves.
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