Reviews of Daniel Khim's defense of the cowboy as a real American hero...


Before Daniel's lecture, I wasn't much of a cowboy fan. In fact, I never got the appeal of cowboys or why they were such American heroes. However, both the lecture and the film have changed my outlook completely. Not only do I completely understand why cowboys are so gosh darn cool, but there is just nothing more satisfying than watching Clint shoot and kill everyone in sight for a completely justifiable cause. After all, "he had it coming!!!!!"

- Lisa Liu, cow-girl convert

Somehow, cowboys, pirates, and ninjas have entered the popular imagination and the story has unfolded something like this -- "Ninjas and pirates agree: cowboys suck." How this happened, no one knows for sure. But Daniel Khim stands firm in his defense of the cowboy as a archetypal hero and LaaFers reward his bravery with open minds and a willingness to be swayed. DKhim's choice of a cowboy with a suspect past, a crude kindness, fierce loyalty, and an even hand forced us to reexamine not only our attitudes towards cowboys, but our attitudes towards heroes in general.

- Ji Son, drinker of cowboy coffee

We love keyboard cat!

- Miles Chen of the "I can has cheezburger" fan club

If any American were to represent his nation in its 200 years of freedom, bravery, adventure, and success, the cowboy should be the most deserving of that role. It is natural, then, that there is a long tradition of the cowboy in American cinema, as Daniel Khim showed us in his lecture about how the cowboy fits into the hero spectrum. The western, however, fell into disfavor by the 1960s under the weight of a growing cynicism and the total establishment of urbanization and industrialization. No more heroes, the people cried. At that point, the genre underwent a makeover, most notably through the emergence of the spaghetti western subgenre created in Italy. Westerns produced cheaply through the looking glass of foreign nations rose in popularity to become the dominant form of the western, and changed the face of the Old West from clean-cut to down and dirty (quite literally in most cases). Their cowboys were gruff, vicious men who drank hard, gambled freely, abused women, and had no qualms gunning down others in cold blood. That profound transformation found its way back to America, most notably in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven." Neither hero nor villain, the film's protagonist embodies the blurring of lines in a postmodern world where nothing is as it seems nor is anything constant and true. LaaF 17 solidified the contemporary notion that the cowboy is one of the most interestingly complex icons in world history.

-Jezreel Leung, unsung hero of reviews