June 28, 2017
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The Son, on AMC
I won’t pretend to know all the history or histories of all the peoples of Texas. Like most of the world, it is beyond my capacity and, I’d guess, of any one person anywhere for any place people have lived.
But this show, “The Son,” set in both near mid 1850 and the early 1900s, is as close to what I experienced growing up in Houston in the early 50s and 60s as I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe ever so far.
Born in Texas, raised speaking only Spanish, learning English starting in Kindergarten, and seeing two sets of mixed yet distinct people – Hispanics and Indian descent / Anglo Saxons and Europeans – think they were really that much different from each other, I saw something different.
It wasn’t so.
They weren’t that different from each as far as I was concerned.
People who cared, in general and about me, lived in both worlds side by side.
Individuals filled with hate occupied both sides as well.
Young, before high school, I experienced being surrounded several times by a circle of boys kicking and taunting and willing to be brave against one person.
Those young boys thought they were of a kind and different from me.
Yet the looks in their eyes and their desire to hurt, were the same in all cultures.
As were the ones who stepped in to help me.
Human nature – we can choose to see what we wish to see, in ourselves and others.
Something we’re obviously still struggling with today.
But maybe because I experienced the same good, along with the same but more rare ugliness, from all cultural sides, I never grew up believing the real problem was the tone of my skin, or the sound of the words from my mouth.
And what I also found growing up, was that an image or story could pierce through the supposed differences among people.
An ugly picture or boring story came across equally poorly to most anybody from any culture (smiles). And an image that told stories, like a story that painted pictures, most often found the same welcome acceptance.
If you want to feel the power of the human struggle, the story of Texas is as good a template as any, and AMC is, I believe, doing an incredible job of portraying that.
Yes, there are bad men and there’s good men – in all the time frames and cultures (white, Spanish, and Indian).
And though, universally, across all cultures, the women most consistently had the weakest hand, “The Son” doesn’t skimp there either. Strength and nuance, desire and frustration, come across loudly. Whether in a sigh, or glance away, or cry of desperation.
I’m not sure where Season 2 is going, though of course I know where the two time-threads have evolved to today. But I can feel a story worth telling being told. Maybe the one we’re living in now. All set in the rawness of Texas, a state smack in the middle of our southern border.
Our history books here in Texas may not tell us much about those times and how they mirror life in Texas today, but “The Son” sure does.
Thank you, AMC….
I also write short stories and novels, some set in Texas, others in Vermont and Paris.
My Amazon author page is at – Author.to/Adans_Amazon_Author_Page