Layers upon layers here today, as my random readings of blog archives brings up a post from EoTAW brought up a 2007 article by Chuck Klosterman, “Things We Think We Know,” which basically argues that Europeans vastly overestimate how much the average American actually cares about cowboy culture:

And it slowly dawned on me that the creators of “I Like America” had made one critical error: While they had not necessarily misunderstood the historical relationship between Americans and cowboy iconography, they totally misinterpreted its magnitude. With the possible exception of Jon Bon Jovi, I can’t think of any modern American who gives a shit about cowboys, even metaphorically. Dramatic op-ed writers are wont to criticize warhawk politicians by comparing them to John Wayne, but no one really believes thatHondoaffects policy; it’s just a shorthand way to describe something we already understand. But European intellectuals use cowboy culture to understand American sociology, and that’s a specious relationship (even during moments when it almost makes sense). As it turns out, Germans care about cowboys way more than we do.

EoTAW was highly critical of this argument, and the post reminded me that I, too, had taken issue with this article back in the day. I made some stupid comment on the blog, but then at home I managed to find where I had actually written down my thoughts on the piece, which are much smarter. I present them here for your enjoyment (updated, of course, because it is no longer 2007 and a lot has changed):

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