The Cowboy’s Last Cigarette

Both the Western and the gauchesco are crepuscular genres: civilization is coming and the free country man says goodbye. Darren Winfield, the Marlboro Man between 1968 and 1989, has passed away recently. His death represents the end of a symbol, that is, a double farewell.

For Americans, the Marlboro Man stands for a masculine, lonely and independent cowboy lighting his cigarette as the sun sets over the Grand Canyon — another crepuscular event.

There were four Marlboro Man actors since the 50s and every one of them died because of smoking-related diseases, such as emphysema, respiratory failure and lung cancer.

We’re also saying goodbye to the representation of another group of people: the smoker.

Revisionism, which retells everything, is already creating a new kind of cowboy for the cinema. They don’t smoke and their lungs are healthy. They’ll die because of a bullet, never because of nicotine.

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