Be Sure You’re Right, Then Go Ahead

1 January 2018

The Davy Crockett Gun Craze by Sarah Nilsen is an article about the effects of gunplay in the cartoon series of Davy Crockett in the 1950s. The cartoon depicted Davy Crockett as a hero with a gun, especially to the younger viewers, would think this is ok. Sarah Nilsen is a professor at the University of Vermont where she teaches the history of television and film and how it affects pop culture and its influence on the audience. (UVM.edu) In the article, she states that she believes that the media has control over its audience by illustrating something in a positive way. She uses the Davy Crockett Gun Craze as an example of how cartoons can change the view of guns to the public. There are examples and quotes in the article that flow well and give an adequate amount of information on the Davy Crockett Gun Craze. I believe Nilsen gives many great examples to help prove her point.

One of the first examples, and perhaps one of the stronger points, was when she pointed out in 1942 in the Disney film Bambi, which was “anti-gun and anti-hunting” was hypocritical of Disney because then Disney produced the Davy Crockett cartoon about ten years later which advertised gun use as the “center of his image and message” (Nilsen 3). This example helped prove her point that Disney is hypocritical of itself and the messages they are sending to the younger viewers.
Nilsen used another example that was a story of “a young child who was the son of a policeman asked his father for real bullets because his sister ‘doesn’t die for real when I shoot her like they do when Hopalong Cassidy kills ‘em” (Nilsen 4). Nilsen is displaying to the reader that young children are influenced by what they see on television. It’s causing children to see guns as a normal thing, like a toy, you wouldn’t be as safe as you should be with a weapon.

One of the third examples from the article was the National Rifle Association. The National Rifle Association of America is located in Fairfax, Virginia. This is where the National Firearms Museum is located, which recreates past American history. By showing the gun history of America, and how it the gun helped organize the United States, it becomes an icon for America and helped make gunfight more acceptable. It was very popular at the time to have items such as games, apparel, coonskin hats, rifles, gun holsters in the parent’s bedrooms. In the article, it says “the 1950’s represented a time period in which the extensive popularity of the Western broadcasting was active in making the gun into a crucial part of American childhood.”

In the end, I thought Sarah Nilsen’s article “Be Sure You’re Right, Then Go Ahead”: The Davy Crockett Gun Craze is an interesting article. I believe she makes many great points through her examples to support those points. She has great knowledge of the topic that shown through her writing and valid sources. It flows well to keep the reader on track and focused until the end. Who would have thought that Davy Crockett on how he became such a legend and how popular an icon can last?

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