Case the Cowboy

After class yesterday I realized that we didn't really talk much about Case as a cowboy and the fact that Gibson chose that term for the people who make a living hacking into cyberspace. I think someone mentioned how cyberspace could be seen as the wild west as it is a new frontier, and someone also mentioned how the physical descriptions of Case aren't what a reader would normally associate with cowboys. This got me to thinking that Case's work as a hacker into cyberspace doesn't really seem to fit with the term cowboy. On the one hand I think of cowboys as guys who went west in the 19th century and worked with horses and cows, rode in rodeos, and basically did a lot of physical work. Quite the opposite of Case whose employment depends on his ability to use his mind. I also tend to think about cowboys as they appear in westerns, particularly those of the 1950s, like Zorro, Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. These men go about and are a, as the theme to Zorro says, "friend of the weak, and the poor and the meek." Once again, I don't really see Case in this light either.

I decided that he seems more like a bandit or bushranger, albeit one who has skills for hire. He's a bit of a loner, although he has his girl occasionally and he will work in teams when necessary. The part where the pull of the robbery of Sense/Net to get the Dixie Flatline struck me as a heist and in terms of the wild west, a bank robbery. The Flatline is locked in a vault for starters and then when Molly gets stopped by a guard who asks if she is an employee she responds by "driving the first two knuckles of her right hand into the man's solar plexus." It's not shooting him, but it takes him out violently, like bandits sometimes did to people who got in their way. Still though, Case doesn't have the physicality associated with bandits and bushrangers.

I'm curious about what other people think. Whether Case is closer to a cowboy or a bandit in term of the wild west analogy. And how Molly would fit into that analogy as well.

I would agree that Case doesn't seem like much of a cowboy, but I don't know if bandit is the right term either. I always think of cowboys as tough guys living on the edge, not always following the law, doing their own thing, not relying on anybody, often helping out other people. A bandit is similar but has more self-interest in mind and cares less about whether or not others get hurt. As far as how Molly fits in, it seems to me that Molly and Case together make up the one person, be it cowboy, bandit, or something else, since one acts as the mind and one acts as the body. This would also make sense with the idea that Molly is rather masculine and active, while Case is the opposite. Together they create a whole fighting machine/person/cowboysamuri(?).