Monday, August 6, 2018

Multiculturalism in Gunsmoke TV Series

Gunsmoke is Conservative, pro-America, Pro-white social propaganda, but it goes deeper than that. Season 15 (I recently studied all the episodes in Season 15) ends with an episode (The Cage) about a thief who tries to get revenge on his swindling gang while also stealing gold in order to fund a medical operation for his Mute Mexican girlfriend. It's ludicrous. One reviewer writes, "The story was not really bad it was the fact that the writers threw in a love story on top of an unbelievable storyline."

But this reviewer misses the point. 
Disposable T.V. Shows like The Brady Bunch were so overtly moral sermons that we tend to forget they were overt moral sermons. And then we got Friends, which is absolutely not a moral sermon. it's purely isolated nonsense, self-mockery, linear, fragmented, empty, nonsense. Friends is like a rejection of the moral sermon format and it should've failed but was a success. Friends is a study in stupidity; characters act stupid and encounter stupid scenarios they can only extricate themselves from by dialing down the stupidity. But Brady Bunch, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, etc. all were moral sermons simply preaching quasi-Christian propaganda at people who don't go to church. The morals are obvious: Crime doesn't pay. Hard work wins. Law and order is best. So basic. Family first. etc. etc. So we get reviewers watching an episode of Gunsmoke as if it were literal entertainment or some kind of 'drama' that recreates history. No! Obviously Gunsmoke is not drama or historical reenactment. Morality sermons on network TV died sometime after Gunsmoke ended. We get Cheers...where is the moral sermon in a Cheers episode? There isn't one. The Cosby Show was an attempt to get back to morality sermon. Simpsons started out as a morality sermon but has since lost its way in farce and parody. Now TV shows have made it much more complicated by rejecting the morality sermon format and getting by on strictly jokes and character. That's hard to do, to write a screenplay with no moral message. Gunsmoke lasted because there are infinite variations of the same moral messages of forgiveness, law, commerce, family, etc. Infinite. But it's been so long since that format was used that people of today watch the old episodes and are clueless about how simple they are. They study the plot as though that makes any difference. Brady Bunch was pure skit-used-as-fable. Gunsmoke was the same. Scooby Doo was the same. Basic fables, but they can't be analyzed as drama because they are ludicrous by design. 

Gunsmoke is hinged on Family, on self-improvement, on making small sacrifices to advance the greater good. Roy is the two-timed bandit trying to recover the gold his gang stole. Ok, but his motivation in stealing the gold was to help his future family. Then he learns that his Mute girlfriend, Maria, may have a medical condition that prevents her from speaking and with some money he could help her. Ok. What's immoral about wanting to help a Mute New Mexican woman speak? See, this is a common thread with Season 15...the grey line between Law and Crime. Over and over again this line is drawn and redrawn. For example, The episode titled Celia (episode 22) involves a "mail order bride" who cons a blacksmith...who then recovers his money and gives Celia a choice between "Church or Jail". Their relationship has been about nothing but lies up to that point, and he's essentially forcing her into marriage (her choice is not included because it's assumed she chose the church) but the blacksmith's behavior is overlooked because he never crosses the line of law. His objective is to populate Dodge City with the youth that this bought woman can incubate with her fertile womb. It is not important that she has sinned because Dodge City forgives as long as the westward expansion is unchecked. Everything is forgiven.

This unspoken forgiveness goes for the characters of The Cage twice as much. Despite robbing a bank and then escaping a jail wagon, and then robbing his old partners and leaving them to die, Roy is finally forgiven and left to wait for a judge on his own recognizance by Marshal Dillon, the Blessed Anointed, the Benedictine. Ultimately, Roy's selfish desire to have a family with Maria, whom he learns is pregnant, is his get out of jail card. Maria is a mute Mexican, Celia is a gold-digging con artist, but they are fertile and their offspring will populate the land of survivalists. The difficult, even illegal nature of their heritage will make their children stronger and strong children are required to survive in this hard land. That's the message. Maria is mute right up until the gift of speech is born in her with the first pangs of pregnancy. See? She can understand bilingual speech presumably because her parents speak Spanish and her boyfriend speaks English, but her first word is actually the motto of Gunsmoke encompassed in four letters. "Baby" Spanish pronunciation is very similar, "Bebe". With a single forced word Maria, the virgin mother who is metaphorically giving birth to a new nation without having sex with the thieving Roy, has combined all that is good with this multicultural melting pot. She is a native of a land that was previously Mexico, stolen by Polk's Land Grab in 1845, became a U.S. Territory alive with native Americans who were slaughtered by Custer, then domesticated by The Law. Who better to give birth to the next generation but the fighting, mute survivors of the bloody era of colonization?

The sheriff and the deputy and doc and Miss Kitty hardly factor into any of the plots. They are mostly hollow catalysts and don't develop beyond their silhouette metaphors: Matt is Law; Kitty is Commerce; Festus is Common Sense; Doc is Science. The whole cast of characters are as blatantly metaphors as the Cowardly Lion and the Heartless Tin Woodman and the Mindless Scarecrow. They are the 4 cornerstones of personality required for civilization in any age. The producers wanted to demonstrate that with a law enforcing sheriff, loyal prostitute, doctor, and illiterate deputy....anything was possible for all mankind. That's the hypothesis. 

The Mute Mexican girlfriend turns out to be, yes, pregnant. Her first halting word...."Baaaa-Beeee" Baby! That's basically the last word, the denouement, the Climax, spoken in Season 15 of Gunsmoke. Baby. Spoken by a Mexican street bread baker in New Mexico Territory in 1880, referring to her bastard child (the thief isn't married to her). 

Yes, the whole season is social propaganda. There are stereotypes. of course. but the level of multi-culturalism is way ahead of its time. The writers were definitely instructed to basically trick the audience into thinking the Kiowa Indian was the villain for the first 20 minutes...and then turn around and develop the Indian into a caring family man who kidnapped a woman only because she is the daughter of an Indian woman...and the husband is an Indian who is pretending to be a white man who long ago left the tribe and domesticated himself with fake loathing for his tribe which includes his own former wife. This is the plot for Episode 21: Kiowa. The conclusion can only be that humanity defies definition as gaunt and simplistic as "American" or "Kiowa". Yes, humanity is defined by the final statement "I'm prouder of who I am than what I am." The who is defined by action, the what is defined by political stooges bent on division of the masses into neat categories for indoctrination and census purposes. 

I recently took a survey asking about my 'work satisfaction' and randomly one of the questions was "Are you transgender?" What the hell does that have to do with anything? You might as well ask me my favorite toy growing up. It's a bullshit question and Kiowa would agree. In fact, during an Indian Showdown during Kiowa a shady camp Reverend asks Marshall Dillon to stop the violence. Dillon spits back, "Shut up, Preacher, Quichero (The Kiowa chief) is the law here." That's a classic line because it overtly demonstrates that U.S. law has its borders, it is not unlimited, that native people have had sovereignty to disregard or to honor. In this case, The Law, represented by Dillon, respects Kiowa law.

The final denouement of Kiowa is a recognition that humanity has no useful category as broad as race, that action and family are the trademarks worth defending. For most of the episode Native people are portrayed as ' stinking coyote bait' and 'red bellies' and "nothin' but dirt'. Hardly the vocabulary of multi-cultural pioneers, but these are coming from the mouths of Half-Indians. Yes, it's phony self-loathing, the inability to come to terms with their own origins.

We of the early 21st Century are in difficult times mainly because the mass media is full of vile hysteria merchants. These digital snake oil salesmen have studied psychology and base desires and concluded on a method of creating commerce, creating false desire for stability by manufacturing instability. This is a great irony because the 'instability' the media reports about is actually manufactured by the media themselves. Every single day CNN yells "Fire!" in a crowded theater WHEN THERE IS NO FUCKING FIRE. But we are helpless to do anything. There is not substantially any more instability in 2020 than in 1880. But 1880 did not have dozens of propaganda merchants creating instability with hysterical conjecture and speculation, so we of the present day are in deep trouble. The late 20th Century Media, when Gunsmoke was produces, was well-skilled in propaganda and Gunsmoke was simply one of the weapons used to create a fantasy of 'American History'. But the need for 20+ episodes a season inevitably created a vacuum of pure pro-white jingoism and episodes like Kiowa and The Cage and Celia crept in to reveal the hidden propaganda behind the propaganda. There's even an argument that I, Oggy, am a paid stooge, a pundit who spins essays about propaganda that is actually misdirection to make the reader believe one thing when the truth is beneath the surface. I have no defense for this accusation. Maybe it's true. Maybe Gunsmoke is truly a Xenophobic stage play, come to life for all the deluded grandsons and granddaughters of Indian killers to make us feel good about our collective genocide. Yep, it's possible. But I'm feeling hopeful and I think these simple morality plays were a message from the past, about a distant past, to the future. The question of faith, law, love, race and honor are as important today as they were in 1880 and  as they will be in 2080. Maybe these ethics were the only important things to come out of Dodge City. 

Remember: Gunsmoke's writers and producers did not have to pull any punches. The West Was Already Won. But if their history was a mess, their sermon was as plain as the Ten Commandments: Love Thy Neighbor.

Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.