From: Tony Williams English SIUC I think the level of this debate is verging on banality and not getting the serious attention it deserves. The Western can be both an artistic and cultural format worthy of close study and appreciation as any other genre. Many critics (Bazin, Slotkin, etc) have written insightful studies on the genre. Of course, due to the western's tarnished association with the Viet Nam debacle there has been a tendency to dismiss it as a conservative, war- mongering, Manifest Destiny structure. But the genre is not entirely the province of John Wayne wannabees. Despite its decline, the western has seen many complex interpretations not all of them status-quo. Some historical and cultural work on this area is needed in future debate, particularly now.