Simulated authenticity: storytelling and mythic space on the hyper-frontier in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Westworld.

Journal article


Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. 2020. Simulated authenticity: storytelling and mythic space on the hyper-frontier in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Westworld. Tourist Studies. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797620937912
AuthorsLovell, J. and Hitchmough, S.
Abstract

This article explores how the mythic, nineteenth-century American frontier is authenticated by postmodern forms of storytelling. The study examines accounts of William Cody’s extensive 1902–1903 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West tours in the United Kingdom and the futuristic television series, HBO’s Westworld (2016–), which is set in an android-hosted theme park. Comparing the semiotics of the two examples indicates how over a century apart, the authentication of the myth involves repeating motifs of setting, action and character central to tourist fantasies. The research illustrates how some elements of the myth seem to remain fixed but are negotiable. It is suggested that both examples are versions of a ‘hyper-frontier’, a nostalgic yet progressive, intertextual retelling of the American West and its archetypal characters, characterised by advanced technology. The implications for tourism are that simulating the authenticity of the frontier myth creates doubts in its veracity paradoxically due to its lifelikeness.

KeywordsAmerican studies; Tourism; Authenticity; Hyperreality; Myth; Storytelling; Buffalo Bill; Frontier; Westworld; Wild West; Wilderness tourism
Year2020
JournalTourist Studies
PublisherSAGE
ISSN1468-7976
1741-3206
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797620937912
Official URLhttps://doi.org/10.1177/1468797620937912
Related URLhttps://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1468797620937912
Publication dates
Online16 Jul 2020
Print20 Jul 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Oct 2018
Deposited30 Jul 2020
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
References

Barthes, R. (1972 [1957]) Mythologies (trans. A Lavers). New York: Hill and Wang.
Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music, Text (trans. S Heath). New York: Hill and Wang.
Baudrillard, J. (1981) Selected Writings: Simulacra and Simulation. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Beeton, S. (2015) Travel, Tourism and the Moving Image. Bristol: Channel View.
Bishop, B. (2017) ‘I Went to San Diego Comic-con and Ended Up in Westworld’, The Verge, 21 July. Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/21/16007196/westworld-the-experience... (accessed 5 January 2019).
Braidotti, R. (2013) The Posthuman. Polity: Cambridge.
Brégent-Heald, D. (2007) ‘Primitive Encounters: Film and Tourism in the North American West’, Western Historical Quarterly 38(1): 47–67.
Bruner, E. (1994) ‘Abraham Lincoln as Authentic Reproduction: A Critique of Postmodernism’, American Anthropologist 96: 397–415.
Buchmann, A., K. Moore and D. Fisher (2010) ‘Experiencing Film Tourism: Authenticity & Fellowship’, Annals of Tourism Research 37(1): 229–48.
Canavan, B. (2019) ‘Tourism-in Existential Comfort, Confrontation and Catastrophe in Guy De Maupassant’s Short Stories’, Annals of Tourism Research 78: 102750.
Canterbury Journal (1903) Article 20 August 1903, from William Cody’s Scrapbook. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody Collection, MS6 MRL, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, MS6.3792.084.
Chhabra, D., R. Healy and E. Sills (2003) ‘Staged Authenticity and Heritage Tourism’, Annals of Tourism Research 30(3): 702–19.
Chronis, A. (2012) ‘Tourists as Story-Builders: Narrative Construction at a Heritage Museum’, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing 29(5): 444–59.
Chronis, A., E. Arnould and R. Hampton (2012) ‘Gettysburg Re-Imagined: The Role of Narrative Imagination in Consumption Experience’, Consumption Markets and Culture 15(3): 261–86.
Cody, W. F. (1903) Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Tours THE OFFICIAL TOURING PROGRAMME 1903-1904. Courtesy of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Archives.
Cody, W. F. (2012a) Buffalo Bill’s Life Story: An Autobiography. Chelmsford, MA: Courier Corporation.
Cody, W. F. (2012b [1846–1917]) The Wild West in England. London: University of Nebraska Press.
Cohen, E. (1988) ‘Authenticity and Commoditization in Tourism’, Annals of Tourism Research 15(3): 371–86.
Cohen, E. (2007) ‘“Authenticity” in Tourism Studies: Aprés La Lutte’, Tourism Recreation Research 32(2): 75–82.
Davidson, N. (2018) ‘See Westworld for Real’, Outside Online, 19 June. Available at: https:// www.outsideonline.com/2318106/how-visit-westworld (accessed 5 May, 2019).
Deloria, J. (2004) Indians in Unexpected Places. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
DeLyser, D. (1999) ‘Authenticity on the Ground: Engaging the past in a California Ghost Town’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 89(4): 602–32.
DeLyser, D. (2003) ‘Ramona Memories: Fiction, Tourist Practices, and Placing the Past in Southern California’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93: 886–908.
Echtner, C. M. (1999) ‘The Semiotic Paradigm: Implications for Tourism Research’, Tourism Management 20(1): 47–57.
Echtner, C. M. and P. Prasad (2003) ‘The Context of Third World Tourism Marketing’, Annals of Tourism Research 30(3): 660–82.
Fagence, M. (2019) ‘Using Geographical and Semiotic Means to Establish Fixed Points of a Never-Ending Story: Searching for Parameters of Authenticity in a Case Study of Australian History’, Journal of Heritage Tourism 14(5–6): 478–90.
Fjellman, S. (1992) Vinyl Leaves: Walt Disney World and America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Folkestone Express (1903) Article 15 August 1903 from William Cody’s Scrapbook. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody Collection, MS6 MRL, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, MS6.3792.091.
Frost, W. and J. Laing (2015) Imagining the American West through Film and Tourism. Abingdon: Routledge.
Frost, W. and J. Laing (2019) ‘Playing at Westworld: Gunfighters and Saloon Girls at the Tombstone Helldorado Festival’. In J. Lovell and S. Hitchmough (eds) Authenticity in North America: Place, Tourism, Heritage, Culture and the Popular Imagination. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 123–33.
Gao, B. W., H. Zhang and P. L. E. Decosta (2012) ‘Phantasmal Destination: A Post-Modernist Perspective’, Annals of Tourism Research 39(1): 197–220.
Green, M. and T. Brock (2000) ‘The Role of Transportation in the Persuasiveness of Public Narratives’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79(5): 701–21.
Handley, W. R. and N. Lewis (2004) True West: Authenticity and the American West. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Hannam, K. and D. Knox (2005) ‘Discourse Analysis in Tourism Research a Critical Perspective’, Tourism Recreation Research 30(2): 23–30.
Hannam, K. and E. Ryan (2019) ‘Time, Authenticity and Photographic Storytelling in the Museum of Innocence’, Journal of Heritage Tourism 14(5–6): 436–47.
Hennig, C. (2002) ‘Tourism: Enacting Modern Myths’, pp. 169–87 in G. Dann (ed.) The Tourist as a Metaphor of the Social World. Wallingford, CT: CABI Publishing.
Kent Messenger (1903) Article 15 August 1903, from William Cody’s Scrapbook. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody Collection, MS6, MRL, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, MS6.3792.082.
Knudsen, D. C., J. M. Rickly and E. S. Vidon (2016) ‘The Fantasy of Authenticity: Touring with Lacan’, Annals of Tourism Research 58: 33–45.
Koven, M. (2008) Film, Folklore and Urban Legends. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press Inc.
Latham, K. F. (2016) ‘The Curious Case of Floating Fixity (and Its Relationship to Authenticity)’, Proceedings from the Document Academy 3(2): 2.
Leotta, A. (2020) ‘“This Isn’t a Movie . . . it’s a Tourism Ad for Australia”: The Dundee Campaign and the Semiotics of Audiovisual Tourism Promotion’, Tourist Studies 20: 203–21.
Lovell, J. (2018) ‘Hyperreal Light Simulacra: Performing Heritage Buildings’, pp. 181–97 in J. Rickly and E. Vidon (eds) Authenticity & Tourism: Materialities, Perceptions, Experiences. Croydon: Emerald Publishing Limited.
Lovell, J. and C. Bull (2017) Authentic and Inauthentic Places in Tourism: From Heritage Sites to Theme Parks. Abingdon: Routledge.
MacCannell, D. (1973) ‘Staged Authenticity: Arrangements of Social Space in Tourist Settings’, American Sociological Review 79: 589–603.
Maher, D. (2016) Mythic Frontiers: Remembering, Forgetting and Profiting from Cultural Heritage Tourism. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.
Moscardo, G. M. and P. L. Pearce (1986) ‘Historic Theme Parks: An Australian Experience in Authenticity’, Annals of Tourism Research 13(3): 467–79.
Oakes, T. (2006) ‘Get Real! On Being Yourself and Being a Tourist’, pp. 229–50 in C. Minca and T. Oakes (eds) Travels in Paradox: Remapping Tourism. Lanham, MD: Rowman &
Littlefield.
Peirce, C. S. (1934) Collected Papers (Vol. 5). Cambridge: Harvard University.
Rickly-Boyd, J. M. (2012) ‘“Through the Magic of Authentic Reproduction”: Tourists’ Perceptions of Authenticity in a Pioneer Village’, Journal of Heritage Tourism 7: 127–44.
Rickly-Boyd, J. M. (2013) ‘“It’s Supposed to Be 1863, but It’s Really Not”: Inside the Representation and Communication of Heritage at a Pioneer Village’, International Journal of Heritage Studies 21: 889–904.
Riley, G. (1984) Women and Indians on the Frontier, 1825-1915. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
Rose, G. (2001) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. London: SAGE.
Salazar, N. B. (2012) ‘Tourism Imaginaries: A Conceptual Approach’, Annals of Tourism Research 39(2): 863–82.
Saygin, A. P., T. Chaminade, H. Ishiguro, et al. (2011) ‘The Thing That Should Not Be: Predictive Coding and the Uncanny Valley in Perceiving Human and Humanoid Robot Actions’, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 7(4): 413–22.
Slotkin, R. (1992) Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
Spurgeon, S. (2005) Exploding the Frontier: Myths of the Postmodern Frontier. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.
Statsocial (2018) Who Exactly Is Watching HBO’s New Hit Westworld? Available at: https:// blog.statsocial.com/who-exactly-is-watching-hbos-new-hit-westworld-72d1b4a3c608 (accessed 17 February 2018).
Thompson, S. (1955) ‘Myth: A Symposium’, The Journal of American Folklore 68(270): 482–88. Thompson, S. (1977) The Folktale (Vol. 204). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Turner, F. J. (1893) ‘The Significance of the Frontier in American History’. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/gilded/empire/text1/turner.p... (accessed 6 August 2018).
Vidon, E. S. (2019) ‘Why Wilderness? Alienation, Authenticity, and Nature’, Tourist Studies 19(1): 3–22.
Vidon, E. S., J. M. Rickly and D. C. Knudsen (2018) ‘Wilderness State of Mind: Expanding Authenticity’, Annals of Tourism Research 73: 62–70.
Visit Utah (n.d.) ‘HBO’s Westworld. See It Now, in Utah’. Available at: https://www.visitutah. com/articles/hbos-westworld-go-there-now/ (accessed 5 May 2019).
Waitt, G. and L. Head (2002) ‘Postcards and Frontier Mythologies: Sustaining Views of the Kimberley as Timeless’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 20(3): 319–44.
Wang, N. (1999) ‘Rethinking Authenticity in Tourism Experience’, Annals of Tourism Research 26(2): 349–70.
Warren, L. S. (2005) Buffalo Bill’s America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Zacharin, J. (2016) ‘Inside the “Westworld” Set’s Luxury Dystopian Cowboy Disneyland’, Inverse Magazine, 14 June. Available at: https://www.inverse.com/article/21830-design-ofWestworld-s-old-weste... (accessed 25 June 2017).

Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/88x3v/simulated-authenticity-storytelling-and-mythic-space-on-the-hyper-frontier-in-buffalo-bill-s-wild-west-and-westworld

  • 7
    total views
  • 4
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Expanding worlds: place and collaboration in (and after) the ‘text-as-spatial-event’
Thurgill, J. C. and Lovell, J. 2019. Expanding worlds: place and collaboration in (and after) the ‘text-as-spatial-event’ . Literary Geographies. 5 (1), pp. 16-20.
Opening the memory boxes: magically hyperreal authenticity, tourism and the Haida People
Lovell, J. 2019. Opening the memory boxes: magically hyperreal authenticity, tourism and the Haida People. in: Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. (ed.) Authenticity in North America Place, Tourism, Heritage, Culture and the Popular Imagination London Routledge. pp. 96-111
Authenticity in North America: place, tourism, heritage, culture and the popular imagination
Lovell, J. Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. (ed.) 2019. Authenticity in North America: place, tourism, heritage, culture and the popular imagination. London Routledge.
Fairytale authenticity: historic city tourism, Harry Potter, medievalism and the magical gaze
Lovell, J. 2019. Fairytale authenticity: historic city tourism, Harry Potter, medievalism and the magical gaze. Journal of Heritage Tourism. 14 (5-6), pp. 448-561. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743873X.2019.1588282
Authenticity Collective Conference - introduction
Lovell, J. 2018. Authenticity Collective Conference - introduction.
Looping the loop of authenticity in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Westworld
Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. 2018. Looping the loop of authenticity in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Westworld.
Hyper-staged authenticity on the technological frontier in Westworld’s post-human theme park
Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. 2018. Hyper-staged authenticity on the technological frontier in Westworld’s post-human theme park. in: Yeoman, I. and McMahon-Beattie, U. (ed.) Science Fiction, Disruption and Tourism Channel View.
Magical places
Lovell, J. 2018. Magical places.
Opening the memory boxes: magical realism and the Haida people
Lovell, J. 2017. Opening the memory boxes: magical realism and the Haida people. University of Minnesota Press.
Fairy tale tourism: the architectural projection mapping of magically real and irreal festival lightscapes
Lovell, J. and Griffin, H. 2018. Fairy tale tourism: the architectural projection mapping of magically real and irreal festival lightscapes. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events. 11 (3), pp. 469-483. https://doi.org/10.1080/19407963.2018.1556674
Visiting Fellow, British Library Eccles Centre of American studies
Lovell, J. 2018. Visiting Fellow, British Library Eccles Centre of American studies. British Library.
An American yell: Buffalo Bill and the Wild West in East Kent
Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. 2015. An American yell: Buffalo Bill and the Wild West in East Kent.
Future dreaming – East Kent’s City of Culture bid
Lovell, J. 2016. Future dreaming – East Kent’s City of Culture bid.
Looping the loop of authenticity in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and Westworld.
Lovell, J. and Hitchmough, S. 2018. Looping the loop of authenticity in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and Westworld.
Magical realism and the Haida people
Lovell, J. 2017. Magical realism and the Haida people.
Magical realism and the Haida people
Lovell, J. 2017. Magical realism and the Haida people.
Hyperreal light simulacra: performing buildings in motion
Lovell, J. 2018. Hyperreal light simulacra: performing buildings in motion. in: Rickly-Boyd, J. and Vidon, E. (ed.) Authenticity and Tourism: Materialities, Perceptions, Experiences: 24 Emerald.
The role of the desert in Breaking Bad
Fox, K. and Lovell, J. 2015. The role of the desert in Breaking Bad.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of the potential local economic impact of tourism and leisure cycling and the development of an evidence-based market segmentation
Weed, M., Bull, C., Brown, M., Dowse, S., Lovell, J., Mansfield, L. and Wellard, I. 2014. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the potential local economic impact of tourism and leisure cycling and the development of an evidence-based market segmentation. Tourism Review International. 18 (1-2), pp. 37-55. https://doi.org/10.3727/154427214X13990420684482
Authentic and inauthentic places in tourism: from heritage sites to theme parks
Lovell, J. and Bull, C. Lovell, J. and Bull, C. (ed.) 2017. Authentic and inauthentic places in tourism: from heritage sites to theme parks. London Routledge.
The relationship between cycle tourism and sustainable transport in the UK
Weed, M., Bull, C., Brown, M., Dowse, S., Lovell, J., Mansfield, L. and Wellard, I. 2014. The relationship between cycle tourism and sustainable transport in the UK. Tourism Review International. https://doi.org/10.3727/154427214X13990420684644
The postmodern heritage city: From real to fake: Visual methodology
Lovell, J. 2009. The postmodern heritage city: From real to fake: Visual methodology.
The postmodern heritage city: From real to fake
Lovell, J. 2009. The postmodern heritage city: From real to fake.
The timelessness of the postmodern heritage city
Lovell, J. 2009. The timelessness of the postmodern heritage city.
Historic cities: From real to fake
Lovell, J. 2010. Historic cities: From real to fake. in: Lovell, J. and Stuart-Hoyle, M. (ed.) Leisure experiences: Space, place and performance Brighton, UK Leisure Studies Association. pp. 81-108
Julius Brenchley: Nineteenth and twenty-first century British perspectives on Native Americans
Cooper, M. and Hitchmough, S. 2009. Julius Brenchley: Nineteenth and twenty-first century British perspectives on Native Americans.
Competing Americas: the rise of the tea party
Hitchmough, S. 2010. Competing Americas: the rise of the tea party. Counterpunch.
"This is not your country anymore.” Columbus Day parades and contested notions of American identity
Hitchmough, S. 2010. "This is not your country anymore.” Columbus Day parades and contested notions of American identity.
Delaware
Hitchmough, S. 2008. Delaware. in: Byrne, J., Coleman, P. and King, J. (ed.) Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History Santa Barbara, USA ABC-CLIO/Greenwood.
Liberating the heritage city: towards cultural engagement
Stuart-Hoyle, M. and Lovell, J. 2006. Liberating the heritage city: towards cultural engagement. in: Smith, M. and Robinson, M. (ed.) Cultural Tourism in a Changing World: Politics, Participation and (Re)presentation Clevedon Channel View Publications.
The impact of hosting major sporting events on local residents: an analysis of the views and perceptions of Canterbury residents in relation to the Tour de France 2007
Bull, C. and Lovell, J. 2007. The impact of hosting major sporting events on local residents: an analysis of the views and perceptions of Canterbury residents in relation to the Tour de France 2007. Journal of Sport & Tourism. 12 (3-4), pp. 229-248. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775080701736973
A systematic review of evidence for the potential of live sites to generate community and public health outcomes
Weed, M., Dowse, S., Chatziefstathiou, D., Lovell, J., Mansfield, L. and Wellard, I. 2010. A systematic review of evidence for the potential of live sites to generate community and public health outcomes. Dover National Health Service.
Post-modern heritage, chivalry, park and ride: Le Tour comes to Canterbury.
Lovell, J. 2008. Post-modern heritage, chivalry, park and ride: Le Tour comes to Canterbury. in: Ali-Knight, J., Robertson, M., Fyall, A. and Ladkin, A. (ed.) International Perspectives of Festivals and Events: Paradigms of Analysis London Elsevier. pp. 265-277