Posts Tagged ‘Pop Culture’

Ole Miss & Charlie Bowdre from Young Guns

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

One of my favorite movies in my youth was “Young Guns” featuring Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid. This week I learned about a connection between one of the Regulators portrayed in that movie and the University of Mississippi.

Last year while on business in DeSoto County, I took the opportunity to swing by the county archives to do a little digging on an extended branch of my family tree for an interested distant cousin. The ladies at the archives were extremely helpful and when leaving, they asked me if I’d like to become a member of the Genealogical Society of DeSoto County. I did and I now receive their quarterly newsletter “DeSoto Descendants.” This week’s edition included an article: “The Life and Times of Mississippi’s Charles Meriwether Bowdre” by Ralph C. Kennedy.

If you saw Young Guns, you might remember Charlie as “the pugilist” member of John Tunstall’s Lincoln County Regulators. He married a young Mexican girl but died near the end of the movie during the Battle of Lincoln when the Regulators fought their way out of a house under siege by L.G. Murphy’s men and federal troops. Billy (Estevez), Josiah “Doc” Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) escaped and appeared in the sequel, Young Guns 2.

"Did you know pigs is as smart as dogs? It's true. I knew this guy in El Capitan who taught his pig to bark at strangers." -Charlie in Young Guns

"Did you know pigs is as smart as dogs? It's true. I knew this guy in El Capitan who taught his pig to bark at strangers." -Charlie in Young Guns

It turns out, Charlie Bowdre was born in Georgia and moved to DeSoto County, Mississippi when he was three years old. The Bowdre family became one of the most prominent families in the area. Per the article:

On February 5, 1866, Charlie Bowdre and his first cousin, Stephen Pettus Bowdre (1848-1930), applied and were admitted to the freshman class at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). They were two of nine Bowdres to attend the University between the classes of 1859 and 1879. University of Mississippi records for the 1867 Sophomore Class indicated the Bowdre cousins took basic courses in Greek, Latin, Math, Logic, Rhetoric, Composition, and Declamation (theatrical style speech). The boys did reasonably well in all their classes; although, Stephen was a slightly better student. Both Charlie and Stephen were listed in the Class of 1870 as “not graduating.” “Not graduating” was a rather common status for young men studying at the University during this time period. Many young men only attended the university for a year or two. A later University of Mississippi survey listed both young men as “cotton factors” (brokers) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Charlie went west and opened a cheese factory in Arizona with his new business partner, Doc Scurlock. One of their employees was Henry “Kid” Antrium, an alias of who would later be known as Billy the Kid. The cheese factory failed and eventually the three made their way to Lincoln County, New Mexico and the events of the movie.

Unlike the movie, Doc also married a young Mexican girl, the half-sister of Charlie’s bride. And Charlie lived on into the events of Young Guns 2. In YG2, Doc is captured out east where he had become a teacher and was brought back to Lincoln for trial. He eventually died in an ambush by gunmen under leadership of Sheriff Pat Garrett. In reality, Doc moved to Texas where he lived until he was 80 and died a prominent member of the community. It was Charlie who died in the ambush, not Doc.

According to Wikipedia (sourced to Robert M. Utley’s “Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life”) “In the last seconds of his life he stumbled and fell towards Pat Garrett repeating the phrase, ‘I wish…I wish…’”

Charlie is buried in the Old Fort Sumner Cemetery along with Tom O’Folliard (also a character in YG2) and Billy the Kid. While the exact locations of the bodies is disputed, the three share a headstone and as told in the epilogue of Young Guns, above their names is chiseled “Pals.” But, according to an article by Mental Floss, it turns out this wasn’t an old Regulator inscribing a tribute. The headstone was likely devised by the local Chamber of Commerce in 1932 to take advantage of tourism following a 1930 movie about Billy the Kid.

Mississippi’s “Bacon Numbers”

Friday, September 14th, 2012

So now Google has taken the mind work out of finding someone’s “Bacon Number” or the degrees of separation between an actor or person from Kevin Bacon. Simply go to Google and in the search bar type a name and “Bacon Number” (without quotes) and Google gives you the results. Of course, it doesn’t have everyone in the world so unless you’re famous, you likely won’t get a result for your own name.

But maybe you have a relationship with a famous Mississippian and you can uncover your own Bacon Number that way. Here are a few and their numbers:

Morgan Freeman - 2
Lance Bass - 2
Sela Ward - 2
Jimmy Buffett - 2
BB King - 2
Brett Favre - 2
Peyton Manning - 3
Eli Manning - 3
Jim Henson - 2
Elvis Presley - 2
Gerald McRaney - 2
Mary Ann Mobley - 3

If you were an extra in a recent movie made in Mississippi you can figure out your own “Bacon Number” by adding a number to one of the major actors in those films. For example:

“O Brother Where Art Thou” - George Clooney - KBN2
“The Help” - Emma Stone - KBN1
“My Dog Skip” - Kevin Bacon - KBN0
“A Time To Kill” - Matthew McConaughey - KBN2
“The Lady Killers” - Tom Hanks - KBN1
“True Blood” - Anna Paquin - KBN2

Yes, that’s right. An extra in “My Dog Skip” has a Kevin Bacon Number of 1.

Also, for those at Ole Miss this weekend, if you run in to Oxford resident Joey Lauren Adams, you’ll know she has a Kevin Bacon Number of 2.

As for politicians, former Attorney General Mike Moore had a cameo in “The Insider” starring Russel Crowe who has a KBN2 giving Moore a KBN3. Former Governor Haley Barbour and former Senator Trent Lott appeared on the “Mississippi Rising” television benefit concert along with Freeman and Bass (each with a KBN2) giving Barbour and Lott a KBN3 as well. Former Congressman Chip Pickering and former Chief Justice Jim Smith each had some screen time in “Borat” featuring Sacha Baron Cohen whose KBN2 means each of them have a KBN3.

Finally, if you’re in the new production by James Franco (KBN2) of “As I Lay Dying” then you have a KBN3.

So as if you the internet didn’t provide enough ways to waste time discover interesting facts, now you can use Google to find your own connection to a KBN.

Rage Against the Ryan Machine

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I enjoy Rage Against the Machine. Rage and I both love freedom. I see freedom in removing government barriers that prevent individual success and personal enjoyment of life. Rage sees freedom in calling for people to seize the means of production. I see America as the land of the free, which according to Rage lyrics make me their enemy. I enjoy the music and the passion, but we go down different ideological paths. I’m not alone. Rage has sold millions of records (what’s a record?) but not everyone buying “Rage Against the Machine” or “Evil Empire” or “The Battle of Los Angeles” or “Renegades” is actually a revolutionary liberation Marxist. A lot of their fans were middle class kids who bought the music in a shopping mall off the shelf next to R.E.M. and Roxette.

You can enjoy art without adhering to the philosophy of the artist. I can appreciate a painting by Claude Monet without denying the ability to know an object itself. I’ll buy a ticket to see Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, marvel at his stunts, yet I don’t plan to convert to Scientology.

For Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, apparently, if you don’t agree with an artist you don’t understand the artist. Apparently one of those non-Marxist kids like me who now has Rage on his I-Pod is Republican Vice Presidential pick Paul Ryan. Morello writes about his rage against Paul Ryan in Rolling Stone:

Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn’t understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn’t understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.

But Rage’s music affects people in different ways. Some tune out what the band stands for and concentrate on the moshing and throwing elbows in the pit. For others, Rage has changed their minds and their lives. Many activists around the world, including organizers of the global occupy movement, were radicalized by Rage Against the Machine and work tirelessly for a more humane and just planet. Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.

While reading Morello’s rant and lamenting it lacks the poetic passion of Rage lyrics, I was reminded of one of my favorite pieces from The Onion – “Where Are You Now, When We Need You Most, Rage Against The Machine?” from 2004. Morello’s harrangue is a case of life imitating art imitating art.

You lifted the nation’s youth up out of the mire and taught us to question, to act. Rage Against The Machine, come back. Bring us more slamming riffs and sonic wallop. Bring us more shredding and axing. Do that thing where you make your guitar sound like bagpipes.

Seriously, we need a healthy dose of your cuttin’, or Bush will win. It’s Vietnow, man, and just like you said before, America’s getting its news-trients from the likes of Benito Hannity and Adolf Limbaugh. We need a musical antidote to the poison. This nation needs another bomb track to ignite it! We are lost, Rage Against The Machine. Where have you gone? The voice of the voiceless is silent.

Surely Zack has ample material for new songs. This empire couldn’t be any more evil. What about Abu Ghraib? If ever anyone was sleeping in the fire, it was those prisoners. Zack, if you’re listening, if you’re reading this—we need you.

And where are you, Tom, Tim, and Brad? You bravely stood up for the dispossessed of the Third World, but in the current political climate, we are dispossessed in our own country. The erosion of our rights and liberties makes captives of us all. Do you no longer care? Did the machine defeat you?

I love the Onion. Maybe to Morello’s point, I don’t understand the Onion, but I do fully enjoy it. If you don’t like cuss words, don’t read the Onion, but if you don’t mind the occasional crude term, you might enjoy this letter “by” Paul Ryan to Democrats from the Onion last week: “Admit It, I Scare The Ever-Loving S*** Out of You, Don’t I?

It’s okay to admit it. You’re frightened to death of me. It might actually be healthy for you to face your fears now rather than later, when Mitt and I are leading by a few points in the polls and it looks like this thing might end badly for you. Face it: I’m not some catastrophe waiting to happen, like a Sarah Palin or a Dan Quayle. On the contrary, you have the exact opposite fear. I’m a solid, competent, some might say exceptional, politician.

Did you get nervous when you read that last sentence? Is it because you know in your heart of hearts that it’s 100 percent true? Is it because, even if you strongly disagree with my beliefs on Medicare, Social Security, women’s rights, and marriage equality, you know my talent as a speaker and my well-thought-out approach to these issues—no matter how radical and convoluted you find them—might just be enough to win over independent voters?

Do you get chills just thinking about how strong my appeal actually is?

I have another question for you: How scared are you that I can convince people I’m right? Because I’m good at it. No, I’m really good at it. You see, I know how to turn up the charm and charisma without putting people off. Then I back up what I’m saying with arguments that, when they come out of my mouth, sound completely accurate and well-reasoned. And I do it with such passion that people automatically recognize me as a man with deep convictions he will stand up for, no matter what.

In 2000, Rage Against the Machine supported Ralph Nader’s Green Party campaign for president against the “Republicrats” (George W. Bush and Al Gore). During the primary that year, Michael Moore took a traveling mosh pit through Iowa offering the endorsement of “The Awful Truth” to any candidate that jumped into the pit slamming to the sounds of Rage. Alan Keyes, the guy who six years later would be creamed in a U.S. Senate campaign by a state legislator named Barack Obama, did it. Moore went on to direct a video for Rage resulting in the lock down of the New York Stock Exchange. Those was all frivolous shenanigans, not exactly working “tirelessly for a more humane and just planet.” Perhaps Michael Moore was directing and moshing when he should have been listening.

In this presidential election, Republicans might paraphrase lyrics from Rage, “Paul Ryan is relentless. We need a movement with a quickness. You are the witness of change and to counteract, we gotta take the power back.”

Much of the country is ready for change from the Obama Administration.  That has folks like Morello raging against the Ryan machine.

Hat-tip to Red Alert Politics for “Tom Morello’s misguided rage” and hat-tip to @KarlRove for Tweeting that last bit from the Onion.

RR: Various topics - Confederate Memorial Day, Comedy Central, MSGOP Switch & History, ObamaCare Reviewed

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

No, those four subjects don’t have that much in common, except that they were all topics of recent columns. Briefly, here they are, all in the Madison County Journal.

Should Mississippi celebrate Confederate Memorial Day? Issues trump historical debates

Why did an American network edit a program about Muhammad? Comedy Central bends to extremists

What growth has the MSGOP experienced since 1963? GOP celebrates switch and history

What impact will ObamaCare have on patients, doctors, employers, and state budgets? ObamaCare examined

RR: The MTV President

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I had some fun this week with my column ( that looked at the collision of celebrity politics and pop culture.  Here are some excerpts.

Every year the MTV Video Music Awards program has some controversy whether true or created that attracts more attention than the actual program. (There is a certain irony to MTV still giving video awards when so little of its programming consists of videos.) Sunday night, rapper Kanye West crashed the stage while 19-year-old pop-country star Taylor Swift was giving thanks for her first Moonman award.

West, with mic in hand, interrupted Swift and began lauding Beyonce whose video had lost to Swift in that category. (Later, Beyonce showed real class when she won another category and invited Swift out to give thanks.) West was escorted from the facility only after Swift’s mother - I guess the Nancy Pelosi to the Joe Wilson of this story - dressed him down. West later apologized in his fashion, first in a blog post and again from the set of the Jay Leno Show.

Within a day, the two stories collided on Internet video remixes of Obama’s health care speech with West’s interruption substituted for Wilson’s remarks. Wilson’s outburst and West’s behavior, combined with the foul mouth tirade of tennis star Serena Williams, had everyone - politics, pop culture, sports - talking about civility.

Then, Monday evening, Obama was sitting for an interview with CNBC. Terry Moran, an ABC reporter, overheard the conversation and hit Twitter, “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’s presidential.” [Video of Obama calling West a "jackass"] Turns out, the conversation was “off-the-record” and ABC apologized to CNBC and the White House. (This wasn’t West’s first presidential moment. At a 2005 Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, West made headlines when he announced, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”)

Wilson misbehaved. He might be correct that the health care bill was contrary to what Obama was saying, but he expressed it in the wrong way.

West misbehaved. I might agree with him that Beyonce’s video was superior to Swift’s video, but he expressed it in the wrong way.

Obama? Well, calling West a “jackass” off-the-record might have been the best way to do it. And I agree with the sentiment as well as the delivery.

You can read the full column online at the Madison County Journal: Perry  / The MTV President

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