#165- Johnson’s Indian Country Part 2
Scott and Karl finish their discussion of Dorothy M. Johnson’s Indian Country, a collection of some of the greatest short stories about the American West. Scott says, “I don’t want to talk about the book too much because it’s that good. I love the characters, I love the setting, I love Dorothy Johnson, I love the themes, I love the style.”
While this work is out of print, the duo agrees it is worth your while to hunt down a used copy and have a read. Each of the eleven tales shines with implicity, Karl calls them “iceberg stories” because there is so much in them that isn’t written.
Tune in to hear the rest of Scott and Karl’s conversation about Dorothy Johnson’s skillful presentation of early frontier life. Brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.
Scott Hambrick 0:09
Welcome to the online great books podcast brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com where we talk about the good life, the great books, a great conversation, and great ideas
Brett Veinotte 0:30
Hello, dear listener, welcome back to the online great books podcast today, Scott and Karl continue their discussion on Dorothy Johnson’s Indian Country or do they? They do a little bit, but then they decide that the book is just too good to talk about. So what fills the next hour of your time? Well, we start with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance that gets us into John Ford movies. From there we move to the decline of American entertainment as a whole. And eventually we’ll get to time travel, but not exactly time travel more like wormholes. I think wormholes would be correct, because what Scott and Karl wind up discussing requires a displacement of both space and time. But if you came here for Indian country, I promise you won’t be disappointed. This is the conclusion to their discussion. Thanks for listening, be sure to go to online great books.com and get on our mailing list for updates. And we’ll return next week with something brand new. Take care.
Scott Hambrick 1:33
So this book is just made out of these, you know, 1520 page stories. They’re so good. And there’s so much in them that isn’t written. Like you said, car car other iceberg stories was just interesting to me, because in this book is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I don’t want to skip anything that you want to cover. But that starts on page 89 and ends on page 107. So what does that mean? It’s a 18 pages. So John Ford makes this movie about it. The movie is two hours and three minutes out of an 18 page story. And the stories are just as sparse as they could be. Like the first one some kids are taken away by the Indians, and then they come back. There you go. I mean, that’s the story. It’s crazy, that the prairie kid when Elmer Merrick was 11 years old, he marched outlaw off Danes birthplace at the point of again, that’s the story. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is just a sparse. And they made a two hour movie out of it. And I thought, why do they have to buy the rights to one of these stories from Dorothy Johnson? Like what’s at play here? Like, why can’t they just write down a sentence like Bert berikan died in 1910? Not more than a dozen person showed up for his funeral and then build the story. Why can’t they? Why do they have to pay Dorothy Johnson for it?
Karl Schudt 3:14
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Scott Hambrick 3:16
But the movie isn’t like the story. You’re right. It’s not as easy as it sounds. If it was John Dos Passos could write a book or Salinger could write a book. I understand that, but they pay her and then they make this thing. That’s nothing like what she did. Like why, what’s the game? Why are they paying her? It’s not for the title. I don’t know. But the lady who stabbed a freedom covalence. Like they don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like Dorothy Johnson had a bunch of cred and had her own following. If they cared about that. They would make a monster hunters movie. Because the guy the guy snaps his fingers and people buy his stuff. They know he’s good. Dorothy Johnson was never like that. I don’t know, man. Like, you know, what’s the what’s the game?
Karl Schudt 4:09
I’d probably have to see what John Ford had to say about it. Maybe he just loved the story. Now that I’ve read the story, I need to watch the movie again. YEAH.
Scott Hambrick 4:18
Jimmy Stewart bumps me as a hero. I just, you know. I don’t like it.
Karl Schudt 4:25
You don’t like any Jamie Stewart? No.
Scott Hambrick 4:27
In westerns, I typically don’t like him. But Denver piles in that movie. You know, Uncle Jesse right? Strother Martin, the captain from Cool Hand Luke. He’s in there. Lee Van Cleef was lovely Van Cleef, best bad guy ever. John Carradine. Good God, John Wayne’s in that movie Lee Marvin isn’t that movie? What a cast and then of course it’s Mr. Ford.
Karl Schudt 4:55
Yeah, so about John Florida. So I have this kid this theater kid daughter. Who thinks she’s highfalutin? I don’t know. Maybe she is. But she’s artsy. And usually doesn’t like the kind of movies that I like. But I was building some furniture for her are watching The Quiet Man which is John Ford, non western, Western, and Eastern. But the guy that goes back to Ireland you look at that movie and there are so many beautiful scenes where it’s just composed perfectly the lighting is is wonderful. Pictorial pictorially he gets what Dorothy is doing with words in the movies, the landscape that he picks for all his westerns and the way the landscapes a character in the in the movie, John Ford’s a big deal if you haven’t watched many John Ford movies you should dear listener, go watch them. They’re good fun. And also good to look at my dad’s favorites, The Searchers, which is kind of the flame on the frontier. Based on the true story, my favorites a quiet man but
Scott Hambrick 6:12
the searchers so good. Natalie Wood is piping hot. If I was enough, dude, I’d wear a hat like Ethan’s in the searchers, the coolest outfit in the world. Again, I’m sure Vandana the hat, the pants with the cuff on just
Karl Schudt 6:31
the whole reward. Now people just say, people would say that’s a lot of hat for for you.
Scott Hambrick 6:38
Oh, maybe he’s just wonderful. You know, Cecil B. DeMille. Hated communists. He Cecil B. DeMille was the head of the Directors Guild. And he was trying to get all of these directors to sign a loyalty oath. Have you heard this? And there was a guy named Joseph Mankiewicz, who was the head of the President of the Directors Guild. But I think before DeMille it was being alleged that he had communist sympathies. This is all during the whole McCarthy era. It wasn’t a Red Scare. It was a prophecy. He was right about everything. You know, after the Soviet Union fell, and we got access to their private papers from the intelligence services, we found out that he was right about virtually every accusation he made. But you’ll never hear that you’ll never see that you know, retracted from a you know, Harcourt Brace, Jovana vich history textbook for your stupid public school. Anyway, DeMille they had a meeting about this, the whole Directors Guild had a meeting about this. And details faction. So this is from info galactic. I’ve heard this story and I love Ford is wrong. Ford is wrong about this. But he makes a speech against DeMille demanding that Mankiewicz and other directors sign a loyalty oath and deny communism for says, My name is John Ford. He’s got a fucking eyepatch. And everybody knows who he is like, there’s nobody in the room that would not know who John Ford is. It’d be like going to a Directors Guild meeting now and a guy standing up kind of fruity with a beard. He’s like, my name is Steven Spielberg. They would all know who he is. He says my name is John Ford. I make westerns. I don’t think there’s anyone in this room who knows more about what the American public wants than Cecil B DeMille. And he certainly knows how to give it to them. But I don’t like UCB. I don’t like what you stand for it. I don’t like what you’ve been saying here tonight. Ford was wrong. There. But I like the way he speaks. Well, he was wrong. And and He’s straightforward. I like the way he liked the way he was wrong. My name is John Ford. I make Westerns I don’t think there’s anyone in this room who knows more about what the American public wants and Cecil B DeMille. And he certainly knows how to give it to them looking at the mill, but I don’t like UCB. I don’t like what you stand for. And I don’t like what you’ve been saying here tonight. His favorite instrument was John Wayne. Who was John Wayne acting. That line could have come right out of the John Wayne movie. My name is JD McClintock. I’m the biggest landowner in this territory. Fill in the blank.
Karl Schudt 9:33
Somebody ought to teach you manners, but it ain’t gonna be me. Like hell yeah. John Wooden plays the same character all the time. And but it’s a compelling character. And if you want to understand certain types of people probably ought to try to figure out why they like John Wayne movies. Yeah.
Scott Hambrick 9:52
Big Jake Socan
Karl Schudt 9:57
are the sons of the pioneers in the One of the cavalry surely I’m sure she wherever Yellow Ribbon
Scott Hambrick 10:04
Let’s send to the pioneers
Karl Schudt 10:06
with the with the very cute as a button but grown up Shirley Temple is in that movie
Scott Hambrick 10:14
can we listen to a little Big Jake?
Karl Schudt 10:16
Yeah these are good go have a John Wayne or John Ford Film Festival. It’d be worth 34 seconds
Scott Hambrick 10:22
from Big Jake. You go ahead. You go right ahead. The thing I enjoy more than hanging the sheep burger Tang somebody sticks his nose into my business. Lon you try to cut that rope. Now you got me scared you’re doing Dog 60s Dog on dog just doing the hell do you think you are? Jacob McDaniels?
Karl Schudt 11:00
Oh, I I thought you were dead. Mr. McConnell’s
Scott Hambrick 11:06
not hardly not hardly gonna cut him down.
Karl Schudt 11:10
I gotta learn to say my name like that. I gotta I gotta practice that I only have two and a
Scott Hambrick 11:16
half. I don’t think you can say Carl shoot like that.
Karl Schudt 11:19
Um, coral shoot. I don’t know how to do that.
Scott Hambrick 11:25
Jacob the candles.
Karl Schudt 11:27
Let your name proceed you into the room? Yeah, that’s good stuff.
Scott Hambrick 11:34
I’m John Ford. I make Westerns perfect. Charity and I have to watch McClintock about twice a year. And I don’t watch movies with Maureen O’Hara. He’s banks here with that coal shovel. There’s nothing in the world she wanted more than that. God, that’s a good movie.
Karl Schudt 12:00
They were good friends.
Scott Hambrick 12:02
They’re great together. We’re gonna Hera and John they’re great together.
Karl Schudt 12:08
She’s a fine looking woman.
Scott Hambrick 12:09
What else about this movie? Movie this book?
Karl Schudt 12:14
Man Shot Liberty Valance. It’s a weird story. It’s a love story, but the one who should get the girl doesn’t get the girl. But he loves her none the same. He stopped loving her today could have been bird berikan Yeah, so page 106 Bert berikan SAGD in unwashed unshaven he sat down stiffly at the age of 50. He was an old man and unwanted relic of the frontier that was gone a legacy to more civilized times that had no place for him. He filled his pipe deliberately. After a while he remarked the other side’s gonna say you ain’t fit into the governor because your wife ain’t fancy now, they’re gonna say Holly didn’t even learn to read till she was growing up. rants was on his feet white with theory that I’m going to win this election if it kills me. I don’t reckon it’ll kill you. And Bert job Liberty Valance couldn’t. So he’s in love with Halle Burt has always loved Halle. Halle Mary’s ransom Foster. Bert keeps looking in on ransom. And making sure that he’s being all he could be. Not because he likes Ransome Foster, he doesn’t. But because he loves Halle that’s a weird love story. It’s a good one though. Yeah. Ella dialogues fun.
Scott Hambrick 13:39
I don’t want to talk about it too much, because it’s so good.
Karl Schudt 13:41
Ain’t you dead yet? Yet, but soon. Rasam. Foster has an interesting character to you, and it’s not likable at all.
Scott Hambrick 13:51
That’s the Jimmy Stewart one who becomes the politician.
Karl Schudt 13:54
Yeah, that’s a good one. You can buy it just to read that story. Although I liked flame on the frontier better.
Scott Hambrick 13:59
How’d you feel about war shirt?
Karl Schudt 14:02
That’s killer. I don’t even want to summarize it. But Francis Mason had a brother who left after I forget why an argument with his parents. His brother left went native. And Francis hires a guide to go out and find his brother. But his brother is now a Cheyenne chief and would not admit to being his brother. And you keep reading the story expecting that at some point, there’s going to be a reveal. At some point there’ll be a reconciliation and acknowledgement that yes, I am. He’s got a distinctive birthmark on his head a port on a hand
Scott Hambrick 14:47
on his wine stain on his face. Yeah, the mark of Cain.
Karl Schudt 14:51
So he knows it’s his brother. And you know, it’s a unique mark. You think this guy is going to relent to the Cheyenne chief is going to relent and say yes, my brother spoiler. He never does. He’s made a complete break. He doesn’t want to go back. He wants to stay with his adopted people. They he gets handed the book of poetry that he wrote when he was a child medicine. Mark handed the book of Charles Mason’s poems to his brother Francis saying politely in Cheyenne, maybe there is medicine in this for white men, but I do not know it is not for my people. It’s his book. He doesn’t want to come back. I can’t understand the white men and I don’t want to see them anymore. They kill the Buffalo and my people go hungry. They shoot my young men, and our women whale in the lodges. Our children have no fathers to make meat. I don’t want to see any more white men, I will kill all I can until I die. Mason should go back to his own place and mourn for his brother. I think the ponies killed that man when he was young. I was born to Cheyenne my father was bull man, my mother was she sings I have gone to war many times I used to go to war with only a lance to show I was not afraid to die. But now I go to war with guns because I’m afraid my people will die. So this guy went out he did. What is it the the Kennedy coup, the ritual at the pole. Another story in this book that has that where you get pierced through with needles or something and have to stand at the pole. And it’s
Scott Hambrick 16:22
like cut two slits in your actually for two pairs of slits in the chest or back and pass a wooden peg through those two slits and then affix a leather top on each end of that and then suspend the young man off the ground hanging by his skin, essentially. And he’s to hang there until everybody’s bored or until it tears through to show his mental a rite of passage or initiation.
Karl Schudt 17:03
So, I mean, if you think well, these are Western stories, it’s going to be you know, cowboys and Indians and Madison Mark who’s that’s his name now. I mean, he’s right, they kill the buffalo. So you have to think about this conflict of cultures. Somebody’s gonna win, somebody’s gonna lose. The Plains used to be covered with buffalo. You can see some old pictures of it just covered there. What kept the prairie healthy. If you read Allan Savory, his book. It’s what the great middle of the continent needed to keep the grasslands healthy. They needed that the ruminant animals and there were millions of them. And the people lived off of them. They didn’t have fixed homes, you couldn’t go destroy their towns, they didn’t have one. And they just follow the food supply. Well, you couldn’t get rid of for example, the Comanche you couldn’t get rid of them, but you could get rid of their food. And so the killing of the buffalo wasn’t primarily just to get rid of them for farmland, it was to get rid of the food supply of the people that we couldn’t get rid of any other way. starve them out. It’s a rough story. But it’s true. Yeah, that war shirt is a great story. It doesn’t go where I thought it was gonna go.
Scott Hambrick 18:25
So good. One of my best friends is a sack and Fox, India. There aren’t very many of them. He said, Hey, next time he goes butcher chickens, I’m going to come out I would like to come out and help in DePaul, and I said, Listen, man, we don’t run them off of a cliff, and then go down there and pick up their broken bodies like you actually have to kill them. He’s like, All right, I’ll see you the 23rd. Yeah, they would do that to the buffalo.
Karl Schudt 18:58
Yeah. How about scars of honor? With Charlie lock jaw. Again, you get the whole story in the first sentence. Charlie lock jaw died last summer on the reservation. He was very old. 100 years. He had claimed this. It’s just an old guy dying. The story. Gosh, it’s a I wrote at the end of it. I Wendell Berry. It made me think of Wendell. He’s lived too long. He’s lived 20 years too long. All the old ways are gone. At his funeral, Joe walking wolf sacrifices a horse, which is a startling thing you don’t do in 1946 or whenever he’s supposed to have died. And then the rest of the story is told and you find out why they do it. That there were these four young men that were being drafted to go fight a war in Europe. And they wanted to they wanted to do their ancestral stuff, but they couldn’t find anybody who knew how to do it. He’s the last one who knows how to do it. Yeah, it’s just it’s really good. They have to, they have to learn the ways to talk to him. You don’t just say Hey, Charlie, will you smoke with us? My grandfather I have to do everything the right way to get the traditions of their people and pass them on. They are not my traditions, but that kind of resonates with me. I have traditions I’m not sure though we passed on.
Scott Hambrick 20:30
What are those the eating of the hot dog? What are you talking about?
Karl Schudt 20:37
Arms talking about our our religious rituals here at the shoot family.
Scott Hambrick 20:42
That’s what I meant. Yeah,
Karl Schudt 20:43
it’s hard times on on churches.
Scott Hambrick 20:46
$12 gallon fuel. It’s gonna be gonna be rough. You can have circuit writers. Yeah. Coming around, passing out sacraments. Yep. So this friend of mine that sack Fox. There’s only 3700 of those left. I like to make Plains Indian jokes to him. Because this is some inside Indian Nation humor stuff because they’re not Plains Indians. They’re from north. They’re more related to like Algonquins and Kickapoo shoes and all that Black Hawk, you know, Black Hawk. He was a sack Fox chief, Jim Thorpe. But aren’t really many of them left. I don’t even know if they can. Yeah, Black Hawk was up in Illinois. Well, they, they started in like, I don’t I don’t know, all my sac Fox stuff. But I think they ended they were started up in the Northeast, and they end up in Illinois and in Oklahoma. But they got they got ran out. But they were never really Plains Indians until they had to be you know, they’ve lost all their folk lays that out, as far as I know, maybe they’ve got something but very little of its list.
Karl Schudt 21:56
Let me draw a parallel, the killing of the buffalo. The potato famine. engineered the noble
Scott Hambrick 22:05
Karl Schudt 22:07
to get rid of people you don’t like not a native virus thing. You know, you don’t have to ride. I mean, you got to dig in the dirt and farm it but they were made to farm it made the monoculture farmers and then when the Blight came, you know, that was awfully convenient.
Scott Hambrick 22:23
They they were forced to export most other foodstuffs to England. So they that was all they were allowed to eat. You know, it’s kind of like a baby formula shortage or something like that. You know?
Karl Schudt 22:38
That? That’s unthinkable. This is America, that wouldn’t happen. Baby food shortage. What are you talking about? Yeah, so if you engineer famine, then you can just kill off or drive off people without the trouble of actually killing them. Which is dirty and messy. It’s warfare by other means.
Scott Hambrick 22:58
One G one G worker.
Karl Schudt 23:02
Yeah. Yeah. So these are, you know, sorts of thoughts iceberg stories can do. I loved scars of honor. Yeah, I did, too. I don’t know that there’s much plot, except the old guy dies, but just their rediscoveries of their customs. This line on page 159. said, Joe has done the ritual. And Charlie did something new. Then he bandaged the wounds as well as he could with clean gauze and tape from the white man store. These were new things, not part of the ceremony. But he saw that some new things were good. As long as there were young men strong enough to keep to the old ones. Dammit. I mean, there’s so much new now and I’m inclined to reject all of it. You know, I don’t, but I’m, I’m inclined that way. But if you would just remember the goods, the old goods? Then you can make the new stuff good, too. Rather than being disruptive and foreign, and the cellphone would not be the evil that I think in large part it is. If we clung to the old ways better. Yeah. Does that make any sense?
Scott Hambrick 24:12
So what would that look like? You mounted on the wall and you forego the need for pulling all that wire on all those telephone poles?
Karl Schudt 24:22
Yeah, or, you know, you keep it in your pocket. And maybe it has an alarm to remind you to say the Angelus, you know, like your ancestors would have and, and you’re not just using it for Tiktok. And the great devices they’re very useful if you but use comes from the telos, it comes from the end. And if your ends are all messed up, then the use is going to be all messed up. Well, your ancestors if you come from anything like an intact culture, your ancestors worked out a decent way to get to the telos of a human being. Maybe not the best way because you know, I don’t think all cultures are the same. Some We’re closer than others but but they probably had a way. And so you fit your new stuff into that way. Rather than let the new stuff completely obliterate the way. Long time ago we read Gabrielle Marcel and he, you get this new technology, you don’t have the virtues to deal with it. It’s too fast. I mean, how long did it take the plow to go across Europe? What took a while you had to figure it out. The speed of dispersal of of new tech. It’s not new science. It’s new tech. It’s way ahead of the culture. So I am not an old what tribe was he?
Scott Hambrick 25:45
I don’t remember. relationship. I
Karl Schudt 25:47
forget where they Cheyenne to. I am not an old Cheyenne man. But I sympathize with him. Which, you know, the stories do. Yeah, I’ll read another paragraph. Another great paragraph here. 147. Only two or three the old men remembered so far back one of them was Charlie lock jaw, he was suddenly important. If he had not lived to two generations too late. He would have been important simply because he was old. His people would have taken it for granted that he was wise because his medicine and protected him for so long against death. They would have listened respectfully when he spoke. There was a time when it was a good thing to be an Indian and old. But Charlie was cheated almost of his honors because he had lived at the wrong time. The boys show up they want to get go through this ritual. Charlie looked up ready to be angry expecting some disrespectful, hurried greeting like Hey, grandpa, look here. They did not say anything for a while embarrassed, they shuffled their boots in the dust Joe walking off, took off his broad brimmed hat, because I will dress like cowboys. And the other three took their hats off to and laid them on the ground. Joe cleared his throat and said in Cheyenne. Greetings my grandfather, it was the way a young man talk to a wise old one in the Buffalo years that were gone. To school. It’s respect. It’s important. I love that story.
Scott Hambrick 27:05
This is happening, the story is told at the beginning of World War Two in the for the United States. So 41, not 38 or 39. These young men either are going to go in list or be drafted. And you know, both things happen to different ones here in the story. And they want to wait to deal with it. You know, they need a ritual, they need to wait to prepare for such a thing. If you live in Levittown, and you just get a letter.
Karl Schudt 27:35
Oh, sure. You know, if you’re, you’re gonna get drafted and be sent on a landing craft up to Normandy. I just I was listening to something last night, and they were talking about, I read this before, that there was a training exercise for the D Day invasion that the Germans got wind of and blew up and killed 700 people to die in a training exercise. So there you are, your individuality is gone. Your self expression is gone. You’re another grunt with a rifle. I can’t imagine doing that without having a tradition of worldview to fit myself into. It would be so desolate. You know, the way you think about your cubicle farm. And then you’re going to go march up the beach to the the German machine gun positions that your artillery didn’t take out? Hell of that rally lay down and die than do that. But if you believe something, if you’re part of something, if you’re one of the fighting Sullivan’s or if you’re one of these kids from this story, you know, then you Well, this is what we do you fit in it makes noble deeds easier to do. It makes them noble, in fact, because somebody did it, you know, that’s way back when our first book is The Iliad, that we do it online, great books, when you join us, dear listener, you listen to us along long enough, you should really probably sign up by now. The first book we do is the Iliad. And it’s kind of the story of Achilles, but he’s not present in all of it. It’s really the story of diabetes and Odysseus and even Thera cities, and you know, all of these young men who spent 10 years the prime of their life on the beach in a war, and there’s parts that people think are boring, the catalog of chips, but I don’t read that often. But I do read it, which lists the people that are there. You know, where they’re from, how many chips they brought with them, and every time a character dies in this story. Most of the time, Homer tells you their background is a little two line story about who they were. He comes from windswept Pylos from Sandy Pylos you know, he came With his chariot, and at home, he welcomed in travelers, he had an in, you know, now he’s dead, like the poppies in spring. But I think that’s crucial. I think, well, Dorothy Johnson knows, she seems to know how important honor is. And if you’re not a part of a tribe, or a family or a faith or something, then it doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re a person without a place without, you’re just another grunts you know, it’s like that. Yep, I don’t know. I’m gonna keep going on the mechanized warfare, you’re just feeding people into a sausage grinder. So these young men want to reconnect. Because your story, that’s all say,
Scott Hambrick 30:46
the book is a good story. The thing is, I think this is about Dorothy Johnson. You know, what a creature. I don’t think that she’s writing about people that she doesn’t like. I think this is about characters that she admires. I don’t know that for sure. I can’t talk to her. I never know authorial intent. It’s always a problem, you know. But this tells me something about her character, I think, and, and I sure do like it. Go to war over women like her. And maybe with him. She might kill you as a skillet. If she needed to
Karl Schudt 31:28
do what I had it coming. Would it be a good death? I loved laugh in the face of danger. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go, Randy. Oh, gosh, I almost don’t want to spoil it. Because I’m hoping you guys will go read it.
Scott Hambrick 31:51
Yeah, I don’t want to I don’t want to spoil it.
Karl Schudt 31:53
She has the chance when she’s young to go off with this outlaw who wants to reform. If only you’ll come with me to New Mexico. And she doesn’t do it. And regrets it for the rest of your life. Man called horse. I don’t know what else you want to say about it. This is not like going to the buffet. So I like to eat at the buffet, because it’s gluttonous. And I can just load my plate. This is the chef bringing you out. This is when you go to the fancy restaurant. If you’re still able to afford such things. You don’t look at the menu, you say, have the chef bring me whatever is good.
Scott Hambrick 32:34
And it’s a square plate with just like a morsel on it.
Karl Schudt 32:39
Yeah. That’s what the stories are like people
Scott Hambrick 32:42
are people are starving for the stories. But we’re kind of we’re broken. And we can’t just tell the clean story about the noble figure. When I say clean, I don’t mean not gritty or whatever. But it’s told cleanly. Yellowstone is wildly popular right now. And I think it’s because people want this story, but nobody will give it to us. And that’s the closest we can get. You know, there are people of action in that in that show. Rip, and Beth are both people of action and people of principles. You may not agree with them. But they’re loyal and dutiful. And, you know, have their own priorities and they stand up for those things. And people want these stories. The critic class won’t let somebody tell a clean story about a noble hero, they’ll say that they like dimension or depth or character development or complexity or whatever. They would never let somebody tell the story of you know, Ethan and the searchers without shitting on it at length in the New Yorker. And that’s a shame. Because, you know, we need Robin Hood. And we need King Arthur and we need John Wayne. And we need Buffalo Bill. And we need stone wall. And we need Old Hickory. They won’t give us one anymore. So that’s fine. You know, we have to go find them where they are, or make them ourselves and tell our own stories because people who try to profit from that aren’t going to do it for you. You know, XYZ Studios is just not going to give you this story. You know, HBO is not going to give you their story.
Karl Schudt 34:25
They break the rules all the time. I mean, you go five minutes in a movie, and you can tell that this is a message movie designed to make me think something. I don’t watch that stuff anymore. I’ve almost thoroughly disentangled it. You know, we watch an occasional movie. It’s mostly silly stuff. You know? The reason for the Space Marines the reason for the Hallmark movies is not because I don’t like good movies. It’s because there aren’t any Right? Or there aren’t many. They’re all trying to mold me and propagandize me in obvious ways. I don’t care To do that, so I’m going to watch some light stuff, or I’m going to listen to Space Marines fight aliens. And that’s good enough. But there’s room for better stuff. And so this week’s book is some better stuff.
Scott Hambrick 35:15
I have been finding some of this stuff in genealogy. So there
Karl Schudt 35:20
Yeah, what did you find?
Scott Hambrick 35:22
Charity and I both on our great grandparents. Well now for not for her, me, my great grandparents and her great great grandparents, her people have kids a little faster than my people are great, great grandparents and my great grandparents were contemporaries. Were all pioneer people that came to Indian Territory and slept on the ground until they made a structure to sleep in. And you were not that far removed from those stories. And those people? Yeah, been kind of collected that up and you know, and drawn the squiggly line on the map where they came from Georgia and Alabama, through Alabama and into in Tennessee, and then Arkansas and Indian Territory in here I see it. You know, had a war and in the midst of all that, the stories are there. Some of them, I’ve been told, and some of them I have to infer. You can see that Hamburgs that were in in the Civil War and got discharged and some of them drowned crossing rivers and fled the Deep South and moved moved west when their country was destroyed.
Karl Schudt 36:37
Right. Yeah, what is all that matter? They’re all dead. Right. The dead past. Meanwhile, I hear the low rise skirt is coming back. I saw that trending on
Scott Hambrick 36:51
Twitter, the low rise skirt. What is that?
Karl Schudt 36:55
Yeah, I don’t know. I didn’t click on it. Okay, no, that’s the important stuff. The stuff that’s happening now. That’s the only thing that’s important. What’s on the trend line?
Scott Hambrick 37:04
trending? Yeah, it’s still trending on Twitter. Not gas prices, not inflation, not baby food shortages, not nitrogen prices, not pending nuclear war, not the fact that Mexico will not come to trade conferences in the United States. Not that Saudi Arabia will not turn a President Biden’s phone calls. Not that North Korea is going to test a nuclear weapons supposedly in the next week. None of that low rise skirts. Well, yeah, I
Karl Schudt 37:33
mean, the girls pretty I suppose. That’s makes it important.
Scott Hambrick 37:36
I didn’t know they had to make a comeback. I didn’t know that was ever.
Karl Schudt 37:41
Not a big deal. If you didn’t know what ever going away?
Scott Hambrick 37:44
No. I don’t want to talk about the book too much. Because I think it’s that good. Yeah, I could just read and go line by line. I really could. It’s just so tasty. I love the characters. I love the setting. I love Dorothy Johnson. I love the themes. I love the style. I just I just love it, but you need to go read it. It’s not that long. They’re short stories, you can read one of them while you’re on the toilet a day is 197 pages. And it’s just a killer, you need to go read it. I know we read a lot of stuff that’s just, it’s just too big of a chunk, maybe or it doesn’t pique your interest. Well, this is low risk, like it’s a short story, go read it. And you’ll see. You know, it’s like it’s like the shell Hamlet. You know, just that just that tight, purposeful writing that just, it just hits the nail on the head every time. Just the way it’s supposed to be just the right amount and of whack, you know?
Karl Schudt 38:35
Well, and, and you know, how do you learn? How do you learn to do stuff like this? Well, the Atlantic Monthly is buying stories this month, with a word limit of you know, 5000 words. Okay, you got to write your story in 5000 words, the constraints of writing for magazines change the style of the writing. Just like you know, religious fasting regulations give you a cuisine. Opposite of Charles Dickens who got paid by the word. Yes, it’s super good. And therefore, yeah, whose novels are too long?
Scott Hambrick 39:12
Yeah, I’ll read some more. I’ll read some more. Dorothy Johnson. You know, there’s a guy that wrote science fiction stories in the 40s 50s 60s Frederick Brown. Frederick with a C. I think it was an immigrant from now he’s a nobody. He’s a nobody. He wrote a couple of like detective novels when I was like, I think the fabulous clip joint. And he wrote for detective fiction magazines and science fiction magazines. And he just writes like this just tight as a fiddle string, man. It’s just perfect. Just perfect stories. Some of the stories in his books are like, three pages. And he just he just kills it. And yeah, we might have to read the fibrous clip joint. It’s it’s, it’s like this. Oh, lot like this a little actually a little flower.
Karl Schudt 40:02
I would have heard of him.
Scott Hambrick 40:04
Well, Carl, I’ve got I’ve been hired and all kinds of little jewels for me. I can’t show you everything right now. Like, what will I do on our 25th anniversary?
Karl Schudt 40:16
I don’t know. On the back, it says you now you can join the Western preview club. Here’s your chance to read Western novels and short stories by some of the best. Best known writers in the field has this little slip as remember you will receive each month the latest Valentine Western title mailed directly to your door for a full year subscription in the next 12 books. Simply fill out the coupon below and mail together with $4. check or money order to Ballantine Books 101 Fifth Avenue New York, New York, I want to do it. Do you think they would honor it?
Scott Hambrick 40:50
Now they’ve moved 45 times? Yeah,
Karl Schudt 40:52
but if they got a letter with $4? Would I get the books?
Scott Hambrick 40:56
No, some? There’s a story right there. Some mailroom clerk would just pocket it and go buy half of a coffee with it. How high trust do you have to be to? You know, send $4 to the whatever and expect to actually get it? You know? I don’t think it works that way anymore. Carl, cross sheet.
Karl Schudt 41:16
But what if you did? What if you did get the book? That’d be good if there’s some Bartleby sitting in an office there waiting for people to send in things to the Western preview club, and the last one came in in 1964. And he’s just been sitting there preferring not to, because none of these have come in.
Scott Hambrick 41:36
What if that address is actually a wormhole? And your envelope goes back to 1953?
Karl Schudt 41:46
Hmm. That would it change the future? Or change the past?
Scott Hambrick 41:50
I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just I’m just giving you the beats the movie treatment, and then you’ll have to have somebody come and punch the story up. Yeah, I’m not, you know, get to have somebody come and punch it up.
Karl Schudt 42:06
Yeah, this one was a pleasure. So thanks.
Scott Hambrick 42:08
Yeah. Marsha. Marsha. doesn’t ever scan ever do this wrong. Sort of. I was gonna look here, I kind of I’ve got a story here, a book of short stories called nightmares in geason stacks, by Frederick Brown. And it has these three page stories in it. I looked high and low for years and years. No kidding, to find a copy of that book. And then I scanned it. And I don’t think I have the hardcopy anymore because it was in worse shape than these Dorothy Johnson books. And if if my PDF is corrupted, and I don’t have a good backup of it somewhere. We’re in trouble ads. We can’t be having this. Oh, no. Foundation book one. Is that what’s up? Is that what’s coming? Yep. I’m not reading John Dos Passos. I’ll tell you that. Not doing it. Think about that.
Karl Schudt 43:10
My daughter, my artsy daughter asked me is James Joyce any good? You know, what do you think about Ulysses? And I told her, I thought it’s really good. But I’m not sure what the point is. And so I read for her the first couple well, they’re not really paragraphs, but the first couple of paragraphs of Ulysses and on the surface, it’s like that John Dos Passos thing, except it’s not. It’s much Meteor you get directly into character. And it still has no punctuation and might ultimately make no sense, but it’s just so the guy did the thing that nobody else could do. And then after he did that, other people tried to imitate it poorly. And then critics say, Well, this is stream of consciousness. Sort of writing this is this must be good. When it’s not. The only person in the world could have written that stuff was James Joyce. Not Virginia Woolf. Sorry. Not William Faulkner. But having written it, you know, I don’t know why. Why did you do it? James?
Scott Hambrick 44:21
We’re gonna have to read some Hemingway. We haven’t done that yet. We need to read some Tennessee Williams. We don’t need to read any Faulkner. God it’s also wearisome. I’ve tried. I’ve read quite a bit. I’ve read quite a bit of Faulkner. I thought I needed to.
Karl Schudt 44:40
Well, he’s important.
Scott Hambrick 44:44
Right, he’s a Southern writer, like Hambrick has to read Faulkner.
Karl Schudt 44:47
Yeah. I guess I have to read Saul Bellow. Now, Faulkner, shall we cut this show uncharacteristically short Yeah,
Scott Hambrick 45:00
let’s do that.
Karl Schudt 45:01
In honor of the uncharacteristically short stories of Dorothy M. Johnson.
Scott Hambrick 45:07
And I let’s do that. Yeah, it was wonderful. Thank you, Marcia, for sending that our way and focusing our attention on it. She also wants us to read some of these Horatio Alger Alger stories. I’ve read some of those when I was a younger person, that’d be good to hit them again. You know, the rags to riches, you know, type stories from the 1800s be great.
Karl Schudt 45:30
We could do a little bit of self promotion before we sign off. Okay. So you should if you have not already, I don’t know why you’re listening to us. If you have not gotten on the mailing list. Please do. It helps us out. Lets us know that we’re not just shouting into the void. You can go to the store at online great books.com. You can buy stuff we have cool T shirts, or they’re still copies
Scott Hambrick 45:52
of the timeline. Yep. Oh, yeah. Yeah, there’s some some of those left. World History
Karl Schudt 45:57
timeline. Good stuff over there. Come join us. It’s it’ll be the best. I don’t even know how much it costs, but it’ll be whatever it costs. It’s too it’s not enough. It’ll be the best money you spent
Scott Hambrick 46:07
for for nine bucks. You hear the audio book of me reading Oswald Spengler to you Come on. What more would you want?
Karl Schudt 46:17
We have other businesses. We both do strength coaching. If you would like to work on your physical well being and you think you want me in your hall you can find me at barbell hyphen. logic.com/que. Shoot. And you can do the same for for Scott. If you want him Yeah. That’d be fun black pilling you about your deadlifts. Yeah,
Scott Hambrick 46:41
I’ll try to help you. What else? If you want more, you can get a t.me/scott stream and there’s all kinds of weird chat there. Me and Carl are in it all the time transcendent all the time. You can listen to us on the music and ideas show we just did went to West Montgomery not too long ago wasn’t too shabby. And we got one about showtunes coming up. It’s gonna be really hard for me. So yeah, go listen to that. That’ll be good. I hope it’s gonna be hard for Carl.
Karl Schudt 47:15
Well, he’ll rise to the occasion. It’s gonna be hard. Yep. Occasionally writing at Carl shoot.com occasionally spent a couple of weeks I’ll get something out there soon. As an idea percolate.
Scott Hambrick 47:26
Oh, yeah. What is it? Can you get a sneak peek?
Karl Schudt 47:28
Oh, free range humans?
Scott Hambrick 47:31
Oh, are you coming around? unschooling? That’s it. Are you coming around to that unschooling way?
Karl Schudt 47:39
I think it’s gonna be a different take on it than that. Yeah. And there are other podcasts that other podcasts that I’m not on his I think I’m one episode behind on the the growing resilience podcasts that you’re doing with Todd Todd Dwyer, but that’s promising. That’s pretty good one.
Scott Hambrick 47:58
Yeah. If you’re interested in homesteading and kind of self reliance stuff, and permaculture and you know, all that we’re starting to talk about that we recorded our sixth episode today. And it typically comes out on Monday though, we were not able to do it this Monday because of family things. But yeah, Mondays you should get shows. And that’s been a great deal of fun, you know, doing a show like this or like that one or music and ideas, any of these kinds of podcasts that we do force me to think mo betta. And that’s very good thing.
Karl Schudt 48:31
Oh, and I want to plug I want to plug our producer. Oh, yeah. Because at the school sucks podcast, which is no longer active, except now it is. Brett has been releasing the top 50. So if you don’t want to listen to all 750 episodes of the school sucks podcast. You can just listen to the top 50 and learn about the Hidden History of compulsory education. Lots of good stuff there.
Scott Hambrick 49:02
Would you like to hear a tip? Would you like me to read a two page story? The first story from nightmares and geason stacks by Frederick Brown.
Karl Schudt 49:12
Could I say no? Sure.
Scott Hambrick 49:16
Title could go ahead nasty. Walter Beauregard had been an accomplished and enthusiastic lecturer for almost 50 years. Now at the age of 65. He was in danger of losing his qualifications for membership in the land in danger of losing nay, let us be honest, he had lost for three years now he had been to doctor after doctor quack after quack and tried Nostrum after Nostrum utterly, to no avail. Finally, he remembered his books on magic and necromancy. There were books he had enjoyed collecting, and had read and reading as part of his extensive library, but he had never taken them seriously until now. What did you have to lose? And a musty evil smelling but rare volume he found what he wanted. As it instructed, he drew the pentagram copied the cabbalistic markings lighted the candles and read it allowed the incantation there was a flash of light and a puff of smoke and the demon I won’t describe the demon except to assure you that you wouldn’t have liked him. What is your name Bureau Beauregard asked he tried to make his voice steady but it trembled a little. The demon made a sound somewhere between a shriek and a whistle with overtones of a bowl fiddle being played with a crosscut saw then he said you won’t be able to pronounce that in your nasty in your domain which it would translate as nasty just call me nasty I suppose you want the usual thing what’s the usual thing but regard want to know a wish of course all right, you can have it but not three. What business about three wishes the sheer superstition one is all you get and you won’t like it was all I want and I can’t imagine not liking it. You’ll find out all right, I know what your wishes and here’s the answer to it nasty reached into thin air and his hand vanished and came back holding a pair of silvery looking swimming trunks he held them out to Beauregard wear them in good healthy said. What are they? What do they look like swimming trunks but they’re special. The material is out of the future. A few millenniums from now, it’s indestructible. They’ll never wear out or tear or snags nice stuff, but the spell on them is plenty old. Try them on and find out the demon vanished. Walter Beauregard quickly stripped and put on the beautiful silvery swimming trunks immediately he felt wonderful durability course through him. He felt as though he were a young man again started his lecherous career. Quickly he put on a robe and slippers Have I mentioned that he was a rich man, and his home was a penthouse atop the swankiest hotel in Atlantic City. He was and it was, he went downstairs in his private elevator and outside to the hotels luxurious swimming pool, it was as usual surrounded by gorgeous bikini clad beauties showing off their wares under the pretense of acquiring a tan. While they waited for propositions from wealthy men, like Beauregard, he took time choosing but not too much time. Two hours later, still clad in the wonderful magic trunks he said on the edge of his bed and stared at inside for the beautiful blonde who lay stretched out on the bed. Beside him bikini listened sound asleep, nasty. He had been writing so well named the miraculous trunks, the indestructible and terrible trunks worked perfectly. But if you took them off, or even let them down, period, period, period period. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s just, that’s not the best one, but there’s just like two two page things.
Karl Schudt 52:23
I liked under the pretense of getting a tan. Yes. Good mine.
Scott Hambrick 52:29
Thank you so much for listening. We will be speaking to you in another couple of weeks and we’ll be talking about as a moth and his battalions. Yes, foundation, book, one foundation. Talk to you then.