The White Lodge

The White Lodge As a kid, I remember seeing cars and trucks with dead deer lashed to them in autumn.  Deer Season.  The men in our neighborhood would go up to Wisconsin or Northern Illinois and hunt whitetail deer.   The argument was always that without a certain amount of thinning the herd, the deer would starve during the winter, which seems a logical premise.  People ate the venison they harvested throughout the winter.  It was healthy, low-fat meat that was plentiful.

Still, it bugged me. The killing of deer seemed ugly.  Or shooting birds.  I never liked the idea  of it.  I’ve eaten plenty of venison and have liked it, but I don’t think I could ever look through a scope and pull the trigger on a deer.  It seems like a sin, like something that should be a crime.  I see them once in a while, walking placidly across a field out by the airport or on a ride up to Wisconsin, and they seem more mythic as I get older; more poetic. . .more like something to protect rather than bust a cap in.

I am not squeamish about guns.  I’m a firm believer in the right to bear and keep arms.  I am very pro Second Amendment . Hunting does not even bother me so much, though I choose not to do it.

Crazy Horse hunted buffalo with a bow and arrow.  Now, piss off a fully grown buffalo and watch how fast he stomps a mud-hole in your ass.  He also hunted antelope, deer and elk, all of them formidable creatures when wounded.

Often, roving groups of shit-heads hunt wolves from helicopters, with high-powered rifles, or hunt quail (which are about the size of a feather-duster and about as ferocious) with shot-guns on game farms, like Dick Cheney.

These tools are not without their comic value though.  At least once a year, a story surfaces that one of these Bwana-types gets snot-flying drunk and, despite the orange vest, blows the brains out of one of the other he-men in his hunting party.  Oops.  I often wonder if it is a cock-size thing that makes grown men go out and blast ducks out of the sky.  Really. . .what for?  Though I agree with Ted Nugent on the Second Amendment, I despair at the endless photos of him with some magnificent animal he has just killed.  To take this much joy in killing is psychotic.

At one time hunting to eat made sense.  Now hunting just seems to be an exercise in cruelty.

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Deer Music

The Deer Music

In Larry McMurtry‘s splendid Crazy Horse, the author does something really smart, he measures what Crazy Horse means to his people and to us as Americans.  Little is known about Crazy Horse, despite the iconic presence he is.  McMurtry does not indulge any speculative history; rather than this, he carefully crafts an enigmatic and towering definition of who Crazy Horse became in history’s wider lens.  Instead of perpetuating the myth-writ-large, McMurtry, with the skill of a surgeon, explains our complicated history with the legacy of this odd man.  I’ve always admired McMurtry’s writing and while I was never much interested in Western things before or Texas so much, Lonesome Dove changed all of that for me and I became a rabid fan of Mr. McMurtry’s novels.

One of my aims in making these meditations on Crazy Horse is not to convince you I know a lot about Native American History or Native Americans.  I don’t.  I am a white guy who is fascinated by the problematic history and wanderings of one iconic Native American, Crazy Horse.  He was an odd man who was not very comfortable as a leader, or a member of a tribe, or even as a man.  He was a seeker of spirits, of nature, which are pretty much the same thing in this particular body of work.  Do I feel a kinship with him?  Not really.  He was at heart a loner, happy out wandering in nature, hunting deer, elk and buffalo, sleeping in caves and under the stars.  I am an admirer of his courage and otherworldliness.  I feel greatly for those who will only be like themselves.

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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