DA: Tell us about your interest with the force of the Western myth.
BH: It’s a love-hate relationship. I grew up surrounded by the myth, but uncomfortable with it as well. The West distrusts speech and intellect, other than what’s practical. It leaves action and, hence, violence as the only way to express one’s self and remain a man. One of mythology’s functions is to instruct its adherents how to function in the world. The rituals and rites are all part of that training. The Western myth teaches men, instead, how to behave in a way that guarantees bad marriages, jail, and a devastating isolation. Violence as a moral force is both admired and punished. Old men sit around recounting their crimes with glee and the boys listening later walk around behaving like a Clint Eastwood character from the spaghetti westerns. The Western myth grew too quickly to develop a moral center. Absence, emptiness, and violence are its morality without the reflection necessary to separate what is selfish from what is justified.
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