- This term originates with Richard Slotkin and refers to the way a genre, such as Westerns, through repeated formulaic depictions, contributes to a cultural mythology. Westerns, which have developed their own codes, stock characters, standardized plots, and cinematic and narrative conventions, and which bear only an indirect relation to authentic history, nevertheless have created the accepted meta-narrative of the old West. This metanarrative has influenced U.S. foreign policy during the Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidencies and has become foundational to the American public image. Yet virtually all of this mythology is based not on history but on interpretation of history through, primarily, cinema Westerns.
Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. Paul Varner. 2012.
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