|Reflections of an Outlaw Indian Lawyer
"By focusing on hair, Alexie implied something about the absurdity of the question."
Friday, November 26, 2004
"Out of Control": Alexie’s Mullet Examined
Indian writer Sherman Alexie recently shed a ray of sunshine on an issue that has for years puzzled everyone from literary critics to the casual observer of American Indian literature: Having achieved semi-fame in literary (if not coffeehouse) circles – and presumably with ready access to a stylist – why in Christ’s name does he insist on wearing a mullet?
Absurd or not, the Daily was not the first publication to notice, if not outright ridicule, Alexie’s unkempt locks. In a January 26, 2000 brief, the alternative Seattle weekly The Stranger went so far as to classify Alexie’s mullet using standards promulgated by the then fledgling website, mulletsgalore.com. Gushing that mulletsgalore.com “even features an educational photo gallery of about 30 detailed ‘Mullet Classifications,’” The Stranger theorized that Alexie “comes closest to #16 or #25” in the website’s classification system. The photograph accompanying mullet No.16, which mulletsgalore.com labels “Out of control,” shows a darker-skinned male with a whispy mustache and an impressive mane of long wavy hair.
As of this writing, mulletsgalore.com identifies and classifies no less than 99 specimens of mullets and offers membership into an exclusive brethren it dubs, “The Mullitia.”
Sunday, June 13, 2004
A Small Town Remembers: Reagan as "Chief Buffalo Boy"
The Pioneer Press reported that Reagan addressed a crowd of 4,000 at a “Farm Forum” in the sleepy Montana town of Cut Bank back in February of 1979. Nestled in northern Glacier County near the Canadian border, Cut Bank ranks “below” or “significantly below” other towns in Montana in key indicators such as median house value, household income and number of students in college. Indeed, the average construction price of a single-family home in Cut Bank fell by twelve and half percent over the last decade. Not to be discouraged by globalization and inevitable march of progress, the Cut Bank Chamber of Commerce continues full steam ahead in the town promotion category, boldly proclaiming on its web site that “[w]e know the Lewis and Clark expedition found the area exciting; we think you will too.”
So it was with great fanfare that Reagan strolled into a local gymnasium and spoke about such diverse issues as taxation and agriculture. Former Chief of Police Joe Gauthiar recalled to the Pioneer Press his positive recollection of Reagan’s words. “He gave a nice talk. He hadn't announced at that time he was considering running for President, which in a small community like Cut Bank was a good thing,” Gauthier said. The former town cop did not elaborate on why it was a good idea for Reagan not to disclose his intent to run for national office when visiting Cut Bank.
Reagan reportedly responded to Old Person’s story by keenly pointing out that “the real villains in the movie were white men disguised as Indians and not the Indians themselves,” and promised to “try and not do anything that would anger the Indians or impede their fight to improve their way of life.”
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Local 6 News Exclusive: Area Indian Skins Bald Eagle
According to a story posted on the Local 6 News website, Florida authorities arrested area Indian Michael Rogers for skinning the head of a bald eagle after allegedly catching Rogers in the act. Rogers reportedly told authorities that the skinning was in preparation for a spiritual burial ritual. The eagle was reportedly already deceased when the alleged skinning occurred -- the victim of poisoning, Rogers reportedly told authorities.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
I'm with Landham
The weekend got off to a rather unsettling start when Landham greeted an unsuspecting me at his hotel room door wearing only a towel and a gold chain around his neck. After my cautious step back, Landham explained that he had just emerged from the shower following a massage on a sore right leg. Landham re-emerged a few minutes later ready for action. Though still somewhat shaken, I escorted Billy Bear to the main casino bar downstairs to meet my friends.
Once at the bar, Landham – who to my surprise stands approximately 6’2” instead of the 6’4” I was expecting – broke the ice by laying down his uncompromising political views to a mostly attentive audience. After hearing Landham’s views on abortion, about the state of Kentucky’s economy and The Establishment in general, we all agreed that a change in scenery in the form of a strip club was in order. To our relief, Landham agreed. We headed to the Olympic Gardens. While there, one feather-haired dancer confided in me that she's "been in this business for 27 years." To Landham’s credit, he left early.
The next day found us strapped to the seats of a rented minivan in route to Hoover Dam. Though intended as a reprieve from two consecutive nights of drinking and smoking, the trip turned out to be an exercise in frustration as snarling traffic slowed the last miles to the dam to a crawl. Though obviously unimpressed, Landham was a sport to the end and didn't reveal until the ride home that he had already witnessed the dam up close during the filming of Best of the Best II.
Despite the potential for bedlam, Landham proved himself over the weekend to be every bit of the morally upright figure he presented during the Kentucky gubernatorial race in 2003 – even while reminiscing about some of his faster times in the 1980s. Landham recounted how after 48 Hrs. wrapped, he led co-star Nick Nolte and actor Gary Busey on a sleepless 16 day romp through the New York City party scene. Considering that Nolte and Busey were reportedly no strangers to the wild circuit, Landham's leadership of this motley crew (Landham says they were so rough looking no taxicab would pick them up) is all the more impressive.
Before retiring to our rooms on our last night in town, we left Landham with a comely blond we spied at the bar. He called me a couple of days later, and when I asked how the evening unfolded, he said would say only that things turned out fine. Some things never change.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Those Masked Men Like Their Smokes: Mohawk Militants Burn, Lay Siege
According to a story in the Boston Globe, on Tuesday masked Mohawk Indians in Kanesatake, Quebec, furious that tribal authorities intended to put an end to an allegedly flourishing cigarette smuggling and marijuana trade, laid siege to a tribal police building and blockaded a highway with felled trees. The night before, the self-described “warriors” burned down the home of Mohawk Grand Chief James Gabriel who, in Gabriel’s own words, “narrowly escaped being burned alive.”
The trouble reportedly began late Monday when Grand Chief Gabriel, in a move reminiscent of Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness in the 1987 film The Untouchables, appointed a new police chief in hopes of restoring law and order to the Kanesatake community. The new police chief, Terry Isaac, proceeded to assemble dozens of Mohawk law enforcement officers from outside the community in apparent preparation for raids against suspected cigarette smuggling operations and marijuana farms.
For his part, Gabriel, in hiding and speaking from an undisclosed location, claimed that he only wanted to restore law and order to the Tribe. Though Gabriel was able to lead himself and his family to safety, Gabriel’s dog was not so lucky.
As the siege outside the police station continues, Canadian federal authorities have thus far been reluctant to intervene. And for good reason. In a 1990 dispute over plans to build a golf course on a Mohawk cemetery, masked Mohawk militants faced down Canadian army troops in a lengthy standoff precipitated when a Quebec police officer was allegedly shot dead by the militants.
Speaking by phone with a Globe reporter from inside the besieged police building, Isaac tried to look on the bright side. “The protesters are still outside,” he said. “We're still inside.”
It should be noted that the 1990 standoff with Canadian army troops lasted 78 days.
Rate Me on BlogHop.com!