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Howdy, Miz Guinevere! 

The Westlit discussion I mentioned the other day has certainly gone some different directions -- funny how chatty academics get just before school starts.

One direction was “Star Trek.” Is that a good model for a multicultural, exploring-rather-than-conquering narrative?

Another was “Indian Country.” Why do current American soldiers use that phrase to refer to Afghanistan and Iraq, when they were far too young to see any cowboy movies? And is the phrase racist?

The back-and-forth on these topics made me decide that, smart as they all may be, the Westlit subscribers are never going to star in one of these new multicultural movies about a committee that overcomes incredible obstacles. Such movies would at least require consensus!

But I was particularly fascinated by comments from historian Michael Welsh, who argued that many characters in American stories were developed from Arthurian legend. He writes, “It seems that the link between virtue, manliness, and good deeds is hard to overlook when creating myths about one's nation (or oneself).”

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