One thing I had a LOT of time to contemplate while staying with my father was American TV. I haven’t watched TV in years, but my father watches it every day. On Sundays, he watches pro bull riding (the one thing I watched with him). On weekday evenings, it’s old Western TV series on Encore Westerns. (Imagine me studying at the kitchen table with cowboy rifles blasting in the background.) These are all shows my dad watched when he was a kid. His favorite one is "Have Gun, Will Travel", which has an awesome theme song. In fact, that song is now my phone’s ringtone, and every time I hear it, I miss my dad.
The shows he watches on Saturdays are the ones I think say the most about American culture. Topics include: Cajuns hunting alligators in Louisiana. Border patrol arresting illegal immigrants from Mexico. True crime stories. How to make guns. Drug lords of Mexico. And then there are the shows on terrorism. One show advertised for at least a week before it was aired. On the advertisements, a SCARY SENSATIONALIZED MEDIA VOICE kept saying “WHY IS BIN LADEN STILL ALIVE?” in between preview clips, over and over and over again. I felt like the words were drilling deep into the cochlea of my inner ear. I asked my dad, “Hey, Pa, don’t you think all these shows just fill people with excessive fear?” His response: “This stuff is real, Kid. People have to know.”
Me, standing in front of my dad’s TV screen.
A video from my dad’s collection:
Conclusion: Guns, ‘gators, the Wild West, and fear. That is the spirit of America. It can be seen in my own family:
(My father’s great-great grandfather.)