Friday, May 14, 2010

Homage To An Anti-Industrialist

(This post is inspired by the "extras" on the "North By Northwest" DVD, the film by Alfred Hitchcock. In the various "Making of" and "Appreciation of" features, everyone kisses Hitch's butt royally, time after time. He was a lucky guy, in that he could speak softly and lethargically yet depend on everyone else to praise him manically at 100 mph. Of course he deserved it. If I was there I'd be kissing his butt too, so it's all good.)

Lately it seems I've been expressing a great deal of paranoia about the industrialists, the bosses and brains, those blasted powers behind the industrial sections of our cities and towns.

I think paranoia is a pretty good response to their ways and their wiles, in that they wield a great deal of power, of sway, for their interests. And if their interests conflict with the interests of society as a whole, and if someone dares to stand up to them, to take them to task for it, their position of power allows them to respond with a heavy arsenal.

So what we would have in that daring person is a person who has at least partly set aside his fear and self-interest, except the self-interest of doing the right thing, of speaking for the others who aren't speaking for themselves. You've got the millions, then you have the one. The one raises his fist, maybe. The one dares to take a stand against the powers that be.

Since I am that man, and since no one else seems to be doing an homage to me, the local man who is an anti-industrialist, I'd like to offer one myself.

It seems that in my stand against the industrialists, the industrial powers, that I've done all things well. These things include my descriptions of the industrialists, the industrial sections of our cities and towns, and the sprawling blight that is the result. Like the great movie director, let's say, I've illustrated these things with the very big -- as we think of industrial sections as being very big. I've featured the giant smokestack of the monster tire factory. You'll remember those terrible scenes. Then I've gone with the very small -- which also is part of the whole mosaic of the sprawling blight and just as essential as the very big. The scenes have included things like the grass and weeds sucked down into the mud by the speeding trucks.

It's been a brilliant production, I'll say so myself. I'm very moved by the intrinsic, such as the obvious factories, conveyor belts, garages, the weird lighting, the steam vents, etc., that would have to be part of the picture. Then I'm equally moved by the seemingly incidental details, like the deer I wrote about a few weeks ago. If you look back, you'll notice there was an unresolved tension, whether the deer was real or decorative, whether it moved itself out of the scene or some nefarious force moved it, and whether, if it was real if it ever found water to drink.

When you start thinking of those scenes you can see a larger framing, as we're portraying even nature itself as threatened by industrialism and those powerful interests. The mud, the weeds, the grass, the unresolved questions about the deer, all these things contribute toward making the interests more nefarious than if we just saw them (the interests) isolated in their immediate environment. It's quite a stunning set of images. It seems I can do more with just a few mundane images -- weaving them into a grand metaphorical tapestry -- than most people could do with a cast of thousands.

Then behind all this, getting beyond the techniques per se, you have a mind, a purpose, something at stake, such as the well being of the whole world against these forces. The way it's presented, it seems like the rest of the world is oblivious to the danger, willing to accept industrialism as an ongoing reality, but you have the one who recognizes the danger and stands up to it. That makes me seem very heroic, yet with an edge, because it shows me facing scorn and even ridicule for my stand. I really have to be made of something to go on with my purpose. It suggests something like we see in the crucifixion scenes of the Bible, big stuff. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Someday, then, one has to assume that whether I actually prevail against the industrialists, or I die trying, that I will have a vindication, and ultimately the acclaim of the world. Even the industrialists, who have no soul and no hope, I could almost picture as coming around, giving me in the end at least a grudging respect, that I was a worthy opponent. They may not respect me today, but one day ... they will!

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