Responding the recent discussion on Westerns and "authenticity" by David Desser and myself, Patrick writes: I'm not so sure. It does seem that Don is suggesting some relationship between "direct memory" and authenticity--that is, films ,such as _Stagecoach_, contain more depth, ie commentary/allegory, than the surface-like _Silverado_, and this depth is the result of "direct experience" and "memory." If true, then how does Eastwood fit into this surface category; his films are, afterall--and if I read Don's argument right--made in the absence of "direct memory" and "experience." Of course, it would help if Don could identify what he means by "direct experience" and "memory." Is he suggesting that the closer one is to the historical experience, the more effective the filmmaker may be? If so, then allow me to posit a relatively unfair comparison: Which appears more authentic in the presence of our "indirect" historical experience: Tom Mix or Clint Eastwood? In response: This is one of the dangers of e-mail: one tends to shoot from the hip without the careful reconsideration that writing for publication or conferences affords. (Of course, that's one of the values of e-mail, too!) Anyway, I did not mean to suggest a link between historical experience and "effectiveness," but I don't think "authenticity" and "effectiveness" or are synonymous terms. Obviously, the Italian Leone is far more "effective" than many filmmakers with direct experience--but then would anyone claim that Leone's films are "accurate" depictions of the Old West (whatever that was)? (And of course Eastwood dedicated UNFORGIVEN to Don [Siegel] and Sergio [Leone].) I think what I was trying to suggest was that the West is always re-presented by the filmmakers and mediated by the various kinds of experience they bring to the project, including participation in whatever was left of the "actual" experience--albeit long after the closing of the frontier. What is left now- adays for many is a particular image (or set of images) of the West, especially as mediated by films, tv, etc., just as Ned Buntline mediated images for people early in this century. So--SILVERADO is basically a play and varition in formal terms of the genre, not the history. Similar effects are observable in YOUNG RIDERS and BAD GIRLS--just to name two contemporary examples. Another aspect is public memory--which is what I think I meant by the term: that is, the referential storehouse of relationships which viewers bring with them to any film viewing. Thus one generation brought its memonries of some actual experience and many more mediated experiences (via dime novels, etc.). The current generation (i.e., postwar babyboomers) brings its memory of television--which is why MAVERICK was made at all (not to mention the FLINTSTONES). I've gone on much too long and I don't know if I've clarified anything to anyone's satisfaction--but I do still feel it's worth study and discussion.