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Alamo Opinions


The link above is to the Alamo opinion I found online, I definitely encouraging reading. It’s both sad and funny in its explanation of the Davy Crockett phenomenon. When I first found this article I expected the author to debunk myths of the Alamo and Davy Crockett because his argument leans that way at first. I was sorely disappointed.
Gabler describes the fame of and attraction to Davy Crockett as a result of the Disney film, something we’ve seen before in our readings. But he then goes on to say that “even Parker (the actor playing Crockett in the Disney film) understood that Davy Crockett wasn’t just manufactured by mass culture. It struck a much deeper chord in the American psyche” without any real explanation as to how. Where Gabler began describing the Disney motivation for the film and supplementing with statistics and interesting factoids, when Crockett’s reputation is on the line he abandons this academic language and fervently claims that Crockett was an “example […] of American self-confidence” despite using only sweeping statements about Crockett’s stereotyped personality. “He was courageous, resolute, plain-spoken, common sense, transparent — the perfect American to contrast with our wily Soviet enemies”- uh what? The article quickly winds down after this, having made it’s point that, sure, Disney hyped up Davy Crockett but only because he was a deserving hero.
Not only does Gabler have a selective memory about details of Crockett’s life, he also seems to have deluded himself into seeing Fess Parker as Davy Crockett. The author somehow transfers his admiration of the actor to the hero, admitting “he [Parker] so successfully personified these American heroes that it is now impossible to think about them without also thinking about him.” Gabler even describes how his admiration of Davy Crockett was dependent on the movie portrayal; “[Parker’s] Crockett was kind, temperate, sensitive, tolerant — less an Indian fighter in the Wayne mold than an Indian mediator.” Clearly Gabler must see that the media has controlled and manipulated the image of Crockett but for some reason this does not lead him to question his faith in Crockett. This piece seems a real example of the power of icons, media, and fetishized images like that of the heroic Crockett.

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