Reading Deadwood: A Western to Swear By (Reading by David Lavery

By David Lavery

With the debut of Deadwood on HBO, a imaginative and prescient of the "Old West" emerged that was once not like whatever performed sooner than on television. David Milch, additionally the writer of NYPD Blue, imbued the sequence along with his signature use of harsh language, complicated storylines, and stunning acts of violence. The characters he created redefined the hackneyed stereotypes of the Western style, from the confused yet defiant "Chinaman," Mr. Wu, to the murderous, ferociously humorous Al Swearengen, to the whiskey-drinking Calamity Jane who's basically too satisfied to aid her good friend run the hot brothel on the town. Reading Deadwood deals an unique and eye-opening look at every little thing from using profanity, the characters, and how the express bends the style, to topics like prostitution, race, and the making of yank civil society. entire with episode and personality publications, no fan of Deadwood--and not anyone attracted to Westerns--should be with no this book.

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Extra info for Reading Deadwood: A Western to Swear By (Reading Contemporary Television)

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After all, if a contemporary audience is to identify with and have sympathy for a man capable of appalling acts of brutality and rampant misogyny, then we must be given sufficient motivation. With an eye to post-feminism, and in order to wreak his revenge on women, what better justification can he be given than a mother that abandoned him to a terrible fate? After all, if Horney is to be believed, the dread of woman is so powerful that “the grotesque nature of the anxiety, as we meet with it in the symbolism of dreams and literary productions, points unmistakably to the period of early infantile fantasy” (141).

Farnum to dupe Brom Garrett to buy a supposedly spent claim ironically turns against them when they belatedly learn, after killing him, that the claim is actually one of the richest in Deadwood and worth far more than Garrett bought it for. It is one of the few times in the series in which Swearengen lacks crucial information and it costs him dearly. ” This is but the first example of many showing Swearengen’s astute use of disinformation, strategic knowledge sharing, and communication networks that makes him the most powerful man in Deadwood.

135). Maybe this is a question that could be leveled at the writers of Deadwood. Especially in light of Swearengen’s real back-story, revealing no particular motivation for his brutality towards women, just the result of a “cold” and “pitiless” attitude towards the push Westwards with “the demands of this struggle [affecting] the attitude of the American male toward his wife and family” (Barker-Benfield, 5). If Deadwood’s representation of Swearengen owes more to post-Freudian and post-feminist thinking than a nineteenth-century sensibility, what do we make of our twenty-first-century Swearengen’s misogyny?

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