[ExI] photography, was: RE: Avoiding bad black swan events

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 05:29:39 UTC 2012

On Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 2:37 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> So how did this particular shootout get so famous as to have all that
> legend grow up around it, a major motion picture, all the books, a town that
> lives of tourism from it, all that?  There was a guy who lived in Tombstone
> who was an early photographer, this still being the hot new tech in 1881.
> He took pictures of everything.  That being an early example of photography,
> it became waaaay more famous than the information content of rather ordinary
> event deserves.

It wasn't photography that made the OK Corral and its gunfighters
famous.  There are lots of photographs of lots of events that have
faded from history.  Just ask my oldest friend who is a curator at
George Eastman House.  They have millions of incredible photos, most
of which are of forgotten moments in time.

The OK Corral is famous because Wyatt Earp lived in Los Angeles, CA
for decades until 1929, telling the stories of his Wild West life to
eager young screenwriters.  He was a paid consultant to the movie
business.  He met a young actor named Marion Morrison (who changed his
name to John Wayne) and taught him about the Old West.  Director John
Ford used to listen rapt to his stories when Ford was a young
assistant.  However, many of his stories were inconsistent -- did he
or didn't he kill Johnny Ringo, for instance?  He said both at
different times.

But facts don't matter.  He created the myth of his life and history
took it down as fact.

Many years later, Ford made a movie called "The Man who Shot Liberty
Valance" with John Wayne.  It contains the greatest quote ever about
how men like Earp crafted their myth: "When the legend becomes fact,
print the legend."

Legends are remembered.  Not photographs.


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