Tag Archives: gun politics

The Style of David E. Petzal

By Jack Kredell

Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” reveals a profane yet common reversal in which the father is led by the son. In the post-apocalyptic future of “The Road,” the father is a heartsick refugee while the son, who was an infant when the event occurred, is at home. While the father continues to serve as his son’s guardian, he is no longer his authority. It’s simply not his world. As brutal as the present is for the father, it’s the memory of the former world that destroys him.

I mention the predicament of “The Road’s” nameless father because it seemed like an apt metaphor for the duality of David E. Petzal’s output over the last couple of years. Petzal, who is one half of Field and Stream’s “The Gun Nuts” blog, is a case study in how not to get Zumbo’ed despite an obvious distaste for the tactical development of today’s gun and hunting markets. Without a doubt, he is writing about today’s world; what I find odd is how he seems to loathe every aspect of it without having the courage to say so. I find that disingenuous.

For the most part, Petzal writes with a kind of gentle armchair pomposity about all things gun and hunting related. His hunting and firearm experience is vast, and he is humble. But there is something contrived about his style, the hallmarks of which are sentences that strain towards aphorism; solemn references to Shakespeare or classic writers who might be considered outside the purview of his audience; boilerplate tough guy bwana hunting narratives; easy and obligatory swipes at Hilary Clinton…etc, the overall effect of which is that brand of smug and pandering we’ve come to know so well during this election cycle.

David E. Petzal.

Image: http://www.fieldandstream.com/

But what sticks out most about Petzal’s language is the quaintness of it. It’s full of nostalgia. It insists on trying to describe and define the present according to various laws of history. It’s classical without being excessive and perverse—it’s Disney classical.

David E. Petzal is indeed a guardian of a certain kind of world, which may or may not exist. When he tries to relate to this world, which is the world of Black Lives Matter and black rifles, he no longer feels like an authority. He simply comes across as a crank with a quaint prose style.

We Hunters

An armed hunter backlit by a sunset

Image: www.montcodfa.org

By Jack Kredell

The hunting community, to borrow Benedict Anderson’s term, is an imagined community; a community whose popular or mass identity doesn’t reflect the behaviors, values, and opinions of its individual members. Of course it doesn’t. No community can accommodate all of its members, right? As a community we’ve agreed to put aside differences in order to unite against a common enemy. Once that enemy goes away we can go back to being different. But the enemy never goes away, does it?

Hunters, who is your real enemy? Democrats who want to take away your guns? The “antis” who hide under your bed and unload your hi-cap magazines while you sleep? PETA? Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Arms manufacturers love a Democratic president. Why? Because we think Democrats are coming for our guns.

The real threats to hunting and fishing are from the many forms of habitat loss, industrial pesticides, and pollution. But as a hunter you can’t care about those things or else you’re thinkin’ like an “anti”.

Right now, unfortunately, the hunting community is defined by its relation to the gun and other non-issues. We’re made to believe the Second Amendment is a central issue to the hunter. It isn’t. Gun politics has nothing to do hunting. The only thing that has ever put an end to hunting in the past is loss of habitat. And it will again.

To be a hunter in today’s climate carries with it a whole set of political and cultural expectations and concerns that have little or nothing to do with actual hunting. We hunters need to wake up. Those of us who actually hunt know that hunting is being undermined from within not from without. It is being undermined by the mindset that our enemy wants to take away our ‘right’ to hunt.

You’re worried about PETA and Obama? You’re actually worried about what PETA and the Humane Society think of what you do?

The real question is this: will there be anything or anywhere to hunt in the end? The irony is that we hunters have more in common with the very hippies we like to make fun of.

We both just want green acres.