EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+

Before Yellowstone, I never thought about the murderous qualities of buffalo. After Yellowstone, it was all I could think about.

In the fall of 2007, my then-girlfriend Katelyn and I were on an epic cross-country road trip. Passing through Wyoming, we made a detour to visit America’s oldest national park for a few days. As we drove up to the main gate, we were stopped at a booth by a park ranger in a wide-brimmed hat. “Is this your first visit to Yellowstone?” she asked.

“It sure is!” I answered. She nodded and handed over a small packet of papers that Katelyn flipped through as we drove into the park. It contained all of the expected materials: a detailed map, a large spread on various wildlife, a leaflet on camping regulations.

Then Katelyn pulled out a bright yellow flier that made us glance at each other, horrified. It was an illustration of a hapless park visitor, arms and legs outstretched, mouth in a round “O,” being launched into the air by a hulking buffalo. The beast’s sharp horns were inches from the man’s rump. “WARNING! MANY VISITORS HAVE BEEN GORED BY BUFFALO,” the page screamed in bold, capital type, “These animals may appear tame but are wild, unpredictable, and dangerous. DO NOT APPROACH BUFFALO.” More… “When Bison Attack”

Matt Grant is a Brooklyn-based writer. He is a staff writer at LitHub and a contributor to Book Riot. His work has appeared in Longreads, The Huffington Post, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. You can find him online at www.mattgrantwriter.com or on Twitter: @mattgrantwriter.

EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+

 

Ken Burns has a new film coming out. In September, the documentarian presents The National Parks: America’s Best Idea on PBS. If Burns’ fans are excited, they can hardly be surprised. The guy’s obsessed with America. More specifically, he’s obsessed with the things that make America America. His previous films have explored its figures (Mark Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Jefferson), objects (the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge), events (the Civil War, Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the West), and cultural products (jazz, baseball). Consider this list and a film on the country’s feelings about the land where all this happens begins to feel less like the logical next in line, and more like one that’s long overdue. No offense to jazz, but come on.

According to its Web site, The… More…