The rise of the Western

I posted on Facebook the other day about the prevalence of Western-themed* books, movies and TV shows at the moment. Hang on, I’ll get the post for you…

You know, there seems to be a bit of interest in Westerns recently. Maybe it’s a reaction to the rapid change in technology…nostalgia and analogue are playing a huge part in what people surround themselves with in their home life. Maybe the romance and, yes, nostalgia of the western is the reason?
Or maybe it’s because I’ve written a western and I have glasses of the rose coloured kind.

my post on Facebook

So I’ve been thinking about this a bit. I listen to the rather fabulous Common Knowledge podcast over at Radio National, and they were the first to bring this to my attention.

As our lives become more dominated by technology, we seem to be clinging to the ‘retro’. I know I LOVE film cameras, and if I see anything that reminds me of my childhood in an op shop (including curtains with patterns of orange and brown entwined together – gotta love that combo!), it must come home with me immediately.

However, it seems more and more people are furnishing their homes with all things past. Video cassettes, record players, type writers…These things are popping up in people’s lives and homes. It’s been suggested that this may be a reaction to the technology-dominated work space, the almost-paperless office that has risen to prominence in the past twenty or so years. Computers, tablets, smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, Google…all these things are so very new, but they have dominated our lives so very quickly.

Recently, I heard a statistic that the top ten paying jobs in the world didn’t exist in 2004. That’s eight years ago, peeps. Is it any wonder we’re reacting with a craving for a ‘simpler’ time? It’s gotten so when you go out to dinner with friends, at least three quarters of us will be checking our Facebook or email on our Smartphones, interacting with our cyber friends over the flesh-and-blood people before us.

Perhaps that part of the appeal of this romantic notion of the past, the time before technology made it so you could connect to the internet anywhere at any time. I know I get stressed thinking that I must update to my blog, Facebook, Instagram…I’m out enjoying the Adelaide Show, shouldn’t I be tweeting this? It’s gotten so when sometimes when I forget my phone at home (ha! Rhymes!), I breath a sigh of relief. Thank God. Now I CAN’T check the internet.

And now, think Remember in the mid-90s, when I couldn’t do any of that? When mobile phones were in their infancy, and were pretty much used only as phones? Wasn’t that just the bestest time eva?

So, lets apply this notion to the Old West, that era when everything was so new and exciting and treacherous – kinda like now. Is the return to the era in stories that it appeals to that ideal of the simple life, where everything had to be done with your hands? You had to build your house, you had to make your fun, you hung out with your community at the church, or the saloon, or the bakery.

As we grow more insular, as the need for shopping and food and banking and whatever else are met by the little box with a screen and keyboard sitting on our desk, will the romance and appeal of the communities of years gone by, of the need to interact with people to buy your groceries or watch entertainment, grow?

Back in the day, it was space travel and adventure that brought about the demise of the Western. Could it be that the sudden, meteoric changes in technology will bring the Western back?

I’d love to know your thoughts, peeps.

Cassandra
xx

*By Western, I mean the Old West – Spaghetti Westerns, Deadwood and an era gone by.

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